Tag Archives: Tom Green

Tom Green Likes Being Separate From the Pack

tom greenTom Green’s enjoying the latest permutation of his eclectic career — commuting back and forth each week between Las Vegas, where he recently started a four-month engagement at the Hard Rock Hotel, and Los Angeles, where he does his weekly live talk show on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV.

“I’ve toured around the world doing stand-up the last few years. So it’s kind of cool, it’s kind of nice to be able to have a little consistency as to where I am,” notes the funny man, whose global itinerary ranged from Australia to Afghanistan, where he entertained troops. Now, “I can do my interview show here in Los Angeles on Thursday nights and then we fly down to Vegas on the weekends and do my shows there. And it’s turning out great.

“I love playing in Vegas because you’ve got people from all over the world and you’re already accepted,” he adds. “It’s kind of a great mixture of people that come out to the shows and that makes it fun.”

His “Tom Green Live” was recently renewed for its third season. The show, which has a hip alternative vibe, devotes an entire hour to one subject, live and impromptu — a sort of homage to one of Green’s favorites, the late Tom Snyder.

“This show that I’m doing on AXS TV is what I’ve always wanted to do. With the long format interview I can get into really interesting conversations with my guests,” says Green. “You know what it’s like to get the opportunity to speak to really interesting people and pick their brain about things. To have time to let a guest actually speak and tell a story and get into detail is really exciting.”

Green’s talk with esteemed CBS anchor emeritus Dan Rather included shots of Wild Turkey and ranged from journalism and broadcasting topics to a demonstration of how Texans chew tobacco. “That was awesome,” says the Pembroke, Ontario, Canada-born personality, who rose to fame with his trailblazing and frequently tacky MTV “The Tom Green Show” that ran from 1999 to 2003.

Other recent guests include Dr. Drew Pinsky talking celebrity-obsessed culture — and a bunch of Green’s favorite comedian pals like Richard Belzer, Andrew Dice Clay, Seth Green, Norm MacDonald, Howie Mandel and Comedy Central’s The Workaholics.

“It’s really neat to have this interactive experience where viewers can call in on Skype and talk to the guests,” he notes.

Talking about Green’s wish list of guests for future shows — how about Mark Cuban himself?

“I’d love to interview Mark Cuban! He’s certainly a great guy to have running this network,” notes Green of the billionaire internet mogul, Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” personality. He adds that Cuban has “really been supportive of what I’m doing. It was cool that he was able to see what it is that I’m trying to do and to step up and support me in a bigger way with this outlet.”

Green has made a habit of taking a path apart from the mainstream. He was all over the internet, doing his talk show from his living room, before many in entertainment were paying much attention to the immense possibilities of the medium. Then, when there was a mass rush to the web, Green did live stage shows for audiences around the world. Now others are going short on interviews — and he’s going long.

“I like to do things that are different,” he acknowledges. “I’ve always found success in sort of separating myself from the pack mentality things. My early show was very different. It was before reality TV and it was sort of opening a way to make a show nobody else was doing. I think it found success because it was different from what anybody else was doing. I think people are responding to this show for the same reason. We’re taking it back old school.”

Could he have done this show back in his manic twenties — or is the in-depth interview best served by 42-year-old Tom Green of today?

“Well, when I was in my twenties, interviewing was sort of secondary to the show which was more about pranks and out in the street stuff,” he responds. “Certainly being older and having a different perspective on the world, and probably being closer in age to my guests so I can relate to them more, is helpful. And just having been through more of life personally and understanding human beings a little bit more — how people think and how they want to be treated. And how to make a comfortable environment for them on my show and get the most out of people.

“Certainly being older in those regards has been helpful, and also in interviewing people. But, really, the internet show prepared me for this in so many ways,” he adds. “Having done so many shows and having had so many people coming to the house were I was doing the show. There were really no executives or television people overseeing it, so I was able to really experiment and learn a lot of things. I’ve had a lot of growth and learning in the last 10 years.”

Stars Who Overcome Illness Give Inspiration and More

Olivia summer nightsIt’s fabulous to see Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts out on the international 14 On Fire Rolling Stones tour at age 72, more than three years after recovering from throat cancer.

It’s fantastic that Fran Drescher is on Broadway in the revival of Cinderella, nearly 14 years after successfully battling uterine cancer – and becoming a tireless advocate for cancer patients.

We honestly love the fact that 21 years after beating breast cancer, Olivia Newton-John is busy as ever. beginning her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas next month. She was on hand for the opening of Australia’s Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in 2008, has put out music releases as cancer fundraisers. Her “Hope is Always Here” song for her 2009 “Kaleidoscope” television special was performed by figure skating great and fellow breast cancer survivor Dorothy Hamill.

Knowing that such admired and diverse famous personalities as Edie Falco, Colin Powell, Eddie Van Halen. Gerald McRaney and Kylie Minogue have faced down cancer gives countless patients all the more resolve.

The fact is, when it comes to battling debilitating or life-threatening ailments, celebrities find themselves in the unique position of being able to quite literally help millions by their own examples.

It is an act of courage and enormous generosity toward their fans and the general public when they choose to share, inspire, fund-raise, lobby on behalf of cures. Melissa Etheridge, at the White House last week for the Women of Soul celebration, is the embodiment of that courage. No one who saw it is likely to forget her flipping off her breast cancer with her 2005 Grammy show performance of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” her head shaved bald rather than showing a chemotherapy hair loss.

Going public with an illness can be a career-ender, which is why it’s unusual for performers to be as open as Etheridge. Or Tom Green.

That the king of tacky taste was chosen by fate to get hit with testicular cancer – which predominantly strikes men between the ages of 15 and 35 — turned out to have unforeseen pluses. Who else would have turned the occasion into an MTV “Cancer Special”? The show caused a surge in testing for testicular cancer, which Green told Playboy wasn’t “the main plan.” Still, he added, “I hope the show made kids realize that testicular cancer isn’t embarrassing. It’s #$@!% hilarious. Feel your balls!”

Drescher told us she never made the decision to tell the world of her disease. “I was outed by the tabloids while I was still in the hospital. I turned that into a positive, because it forced me to come to terms what had happened,” she said. “Some people make believe they never had cancer. They keep it a big secret. With me, everyone had heard about it before I had a chance to digest it.”

Fran found that in her case, “There is a silver lining of cancer. Being a survivor has given a purpose to my life and an importance to my fame that works in astounding way I could never have imagined.”

Fran has received many messages from cancer patients and their loved ones thanking her for the inspiration in her best-selling “Cancer Schmancer” book. She’s become the unlikely pal of legislators, lobbying for legislation on behalf of cancer prevention education and cancer care, particularly for women’s cancers, which she believes have received far less attention and research funding than other forms.

Many stars have come through the trials of illness or disability with insight and appreciation, and their words have staying power.

“My teacher told me at the age of 10 that when I grew up, I was going to be given a gift. Diabetes turned out to be it. It gave me the strength and toughness I needed for my life,” said Halle Berry at a Diabetes fund raiser.

Michael J. Fox’s 2003 No. 1 New York Times best-seller, “Lucky Man,” takes readers on a journey through his self-indulgent days as a young star through his denial of his illness to his final acceptance and then advocacy for Parkinson’s sufferers. He’s often bitingly funny and never allows himself to get maudlin – and makes it clear he really does believe in the title. His “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” (2009) and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned” (2010) give readers incalculable inspiration along with the laughs. His Michael J. Fox Research Foundation proudly states it has granted more then $450 million in research since 2000. Fox’s ongoing acting career, his roles on shows including “Rescue Me” and “The Good Wife” in addition to his own NBC sitcom are a further testimonial to his grit and gifts.

Meredith Vieira and her husband, CBS News journalist Richard Cohen, have made an art of surmounting the insurmountable. He literally wrote the book on it: “Blindsided: Living a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir.” Cohen has had multiple sclerosis since age 25 and has gone through two bouts of colon cancer. He is also legally blind. But his is a full life anyway, rich with accomplishment and family love.

Breast cancer survivor Suzanne Somers sums up how life feels with a drastically changed perspective: “The birds are singing more sweetly and the foxes don’t scare me. Everything has slowed down. Cancer does that for you,” she told People magazine. “That’s the first of the blessings. Worrying about work and all those things that were so urgent seemed so stupid. I just want to live.”

Internet Loving Tom Green Decries Perils of Being Sucked into ‘Digital Vortex’

Tom Green Fuse photo

 Tom Green is in the throes of preparations for the show he’ll be filming at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre Friday (9/30) — which will be condensed into his first hour-long standup comedy cable special.  Green, who rose to fame with his  outrageous antics on MTV’s “The Tom Green Show,” spent more recent years leading the charge into internet comedy with his “Tom Green’s House Tonight” talk show, live from his living room.  But now he’s into another chapter.  He’s been out on a global standup comedy tour, and he’s all about coming back to reality.

“Everyone is doing the internet now, so I kind of felt it was a fun time to go back to the most traditional medium there is:  getting on stage and doing a live peformance,” he says.  “Having been out touring the last two years, I have lots of material, lots of jokes, a whole bunch of stuff I’m going to be doing for the special.

“What’s fun about this is that it’s a completely different format.  My show was out-on-the-street pranks and practical jokes on people, not standup comedy,” he points out.  “This is going to be the first time, hopefully, people get to know me being myself, talking for an hour.”

Green says he doesn’t want his show to be “preachy, but it is political, and I do talk about all sorts of different issues, in the media and in my personal life, my experience with cancer and all sorts of things.  I find that serious subjects are the best places to find comedy because they’re meaningful to people.”  Among the topics he explores is “our addiction to technology and people getting agoraphobic they’re so into their Facebook and cell phones.  They’re giving away their privacy and all this personal information.  Most people have had a nightmare experience with Facebook at some point.  Marriages are breaking up over Facebook.  We’re being sucked into this digital vortex as a society without really thinking about the consequences.”  But there are lots of punchlines to this, he assures. 

If the raves Green got at the recent Edinbugh Fringe Festival are any indication, the special ought to be well worth while.  It will likely debut early in the new year.  Until then, he has his ongoing calendar of gigs, including the Irvine, CA Improv Oct. 14-16.  Being out on the road “actually energizes me,” he says.  “If I get a good amount of sleep every night, it’s actually good for my health.”

Tom Green Takes His Show World-Wide, Including War Zones

Tom Green

Tom Green has been doing his stand-up comedy thing all over the world this past year.  But no doubt his most recent foreign travel — touring military installations in Afghanistan this month — will continue to stand out in his mind ahead of other gigs.  “It was a  bizarre, surreal, exciting  experience,” he declares.

“You are very aware you’re in a war zone.  If you go to my website (tomgreen.com) you can see video, as we’re flying in a Chinook helicopter — see these guys hanging out the windows with machine guys, watching for missiles.   That was the most nerve-wracking thing to me — the helicopter.  It hugs the ground and it’s like a roller-coaster as they make combat-evasive maneuvers.”

“I went over with the Canadian military,” explains Tom, whose father was in the Canadian army through his growing-up years.  His biggest show was in Kandahar, performing before a crowd of Canadian, American, British and Australian troops.

Having toured Australia and the U.K. in recent months, he’s found scant need to tailor his material to fit different nationalities.  “We are living in a very connected world of very common experiences now,” he notes.

That’s a topic viewers are bound to see him touch upon this summer;  he has a new hour-long Showtime comedy special in the works, along with a documentary chronicling his travels.  Such a peripatetic life is the antithesis of the internet show he’s been doing the last four years or so from his own living room.

“Basically, that sort of led to this,” he says.  “I’ve been having so much fun doing the web show, which is very interactive, it seemed like a good time to take the show to everyone else and say hello.  Also, touring the world doing stand-up is something I’ve always wanted to do.  It’s a challenge for me to try to do this.  A couple of years ago I started writing and performing it…. I didn’t intend to be touring full-time for more than a year, but it becomes very addictive.”   Tom is headlining close to his L.A. home come April 8 and 9, at the Flappers Comedy Club.

MEANWHILE:  Followers of Tom’s web show will be interested to know he’s getting ready to move it out of his house and into a new facility.  “It was fun doing it there at first,”  he says.  But now, not so much.  He is also preparing to launch a new comedy website, Lafftube.com, with “live programming on all day” in addition to videos.  Along for the ride will be some current comedy podcasters Tom says he’ll help develop.