THIS SATURDAY the brilliant and inimitable Tom Green, one of the greatest comic minds in entertainment, takes centre stage at the Róisín Dubh to provide non-stop laughter and share his wonderfully cracked view of the world.
Green is a Canadian actor, rapper, writer, comedian, producer, director, talk show host, and media personality. He skyrocketed to fame in the 1990s via the wild and wacky The Tom Green Show on MTV. He also found success in Hollywood for starring roles in films like Road Trip, Charlie's Angels, Freddy Got Fingered, Stealing Harvard, and Shred. His Tom Green Radio Show is currently one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes.
Green spoke to me from New York where he was performing ahead of launching his European Road Trip Tour which brings him to Galway. He began by giving an inkling of what audiences can expect from the show.
“I talk about a wide variety of random and ridiculous things," he says. "There is a lot of observational material on my own life and life in general. I talk about being on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump, about relationships, technology, and all sorts of different subjects. I do a lot of improv and crowd work; it’s a very high energy show and it’s a lot of fun.”
I ask Green about his impressions of Trump from encountering him on Celebrity Apprentice. “Well he fired me,” Green replies. “He was mad at me because I went out drinking with Denis Rodman, the basketball player. I don’t know why Trump thought that wasn’t a good idea. I was the Canadian kid in New York City and if Denis Rodman asks you to go out drinking it would be illogical to say no to that. Trump was not a whole lot different to what you would expect from watching Celebrity Apprentice or seeing him running the United States of America but I had a good time on the show, it was pretty hilarious.”
Though he has long been based in the US, Green still acknowledges the formative influence of his Canadian homeland; “Being Canadian is a big part of who I am. I lived there 'til I was 28 and moved to New York City and then Los Angeles where I live now. Canada had a huge impact on forming my sense of humour. I grew up in a Commonwealth country and we had the Queen on our money and Monty Python and Benny Hill on our television and it shaped me.”
Green then reveals he has Irish roots and a poignant family link to Galway; “I’m actually of Irish descent; my grandfather was conceived in Ireland and came over the pond to Canada in my great-grandmother’s belly. He then went back to Ireland on the last trip that he ever took. He’d always wanted to go back to Ireland and he died on the last day of that trip in Galway. My mother was with him and it was obviously sad but also somehow poetic for my grandfather. He came back again to Canada with my mom in an urn after being cremated in Ireland.”
I tell Green how I saw a recent interview with him entitled ‘Tom Green’s All Grown Up’; he seems to both resist and accept this idea in his reply; “Doing stand up is how I started out, long before I did the TV show," he says. "I think it’s a natural inclination for someone writing an article to say that the comedy has ‘matured’ because I’m doing a more traditional form of comedy now but my humour is still really ridiculous. I don’t want people to think that this is some sort of 'grown up' version of me. I am talking about subjects that are important to people and in life, and there is a lot of social commentary.
"My heroes in stand-up are people like George Carlin and Richard Pryor; people that were trying to make a point with their comedy. I do feel that in many ways this is the funniest thing I’ve ever done. I have a lot of great fans around the world and I have a lot of pride in my own shows and my movies, like Freddy Got Fingered which has a crazy cult following because it was such an outrageous and silly film, but I do feel like I am attempting to make a point with this show as well as have everybody have a great time, so if you can describe that as mature or grown up then I guess so.
"I am a 45-year-old man now not in my twenties – I was 28 when my show was on MTV - so I do have adult themes in my show that are coming from the perspective of a 45-year-old man who has been through different experiences in life. I’m a cancer survivor, I’ve looked death in the face and won so that does give you more perspective on the world than I had when I was 15 years old and first started doing stand-up.”
Green’s parents were the long-suffering victims of many of the outrageous pranks he pulled on his MTV; did he ever get in serious trouble with them over those stunts, I ask? “I got in trouble with them every time I did it,” he admits. “But my parents were also supportive parents; they knew that I was studying broadcasting and that I was working night and day to make this show. So on one hand they were upset with the pranks but on the other they knew what I was trying to do and they were never really devastated beyond repair.
"I did a lot of the pranks in the middle of the night, I’d wake them up at two o’clock in the morning with some outrageous thing and that would contribute to their reaction that we would get on camera. I think the thing that really made those jokes unique was that we were shooting this stuff in the mid-1990s which was before YouTube and everyone having a video camera, and before parents or the viewing public were used to seeing televised pranks, so the impact was pretty extreme both on my parents and on the viewer. Jumping on that technology early was what made the show stand out and be such a hit on MTV.”
Another side of Green was recently revealed with the release of horror flick Bethany in which he has a leading role. He tells me how he got involved with it; “I’ve always liked to try different things. I was walking down the street in Los Angeles and I ran into this young guy James Bressack who was writing and directing the movie and he was a big fan of Freddy Got Fingered. He told me he was doing a horror movie and there was a serious role in it that I might be interested in, and I definitely was.
"I’ve done a few character roles recently, I have another movie coming out next year called Iron Sky 2 which is a bigger budget film. I play more of a villain in that. I enjoyed playing more mature characters and serious roles; there was a lot of intensity in Bethany. I always wanted to be a comedian and TV host but I have done a fair amount of acting over the years and I plan to keep on doing it.”
His final thoughts on his live show? “The show has been getting incredible reviews and it will be one of the funniest stand up comedy shows you’ve seen this year so please come along and have some laughs with me.”