Whether it’s his late ‘90s MTV television series or roles in the early ’00s comedies “Road Trip” and “Freddy Got Fingered,” comedian Tom Green left a mark on popular culture that hasn’t been forgotten.
This Friday through Sunday, fans can catch one of the forefathers of gross-out humor perform on a rare standup tour at the Tampa Improv, located at 1600 E. 8th Ave. in Ybor City.
Green assures fans of his previous work, as well as those who came out to his show at the Improv nearly a year ago, that things should run quite smoothly.
“I had a great time at the Improv, and now that I am coming back, we’re going to do it again,” said Green in a phone interview. “It’s going to be an amazing crowd. It was so fun last time with such a high-energy and fun crowd, I know it’ll be a great time. We’re going to party – it’s going to be awesome.”
Yet, for many, the thought of Tom Green doing stand-up is perhaps mystifying – even a YouTube search for Green’s stand-up yields few results.
“That’s what’s so exciting about doing this for me right now,” Green said. “I did stand-up when I was a teenager, but then I stopped doing it, and that’s when I ended up going and doing my show for so many years.”
“The Tom Green Show,” which started in 1994 as a local public access show in Ontario, Canada, before becoming a huge success for MTV in 1999, covered a wide range of topics that Green satirized with his shocking brand of humor. It appears as if his stand-up doesn’t stray far from this successful formula.
“People don’t know what the show is going to be, and I like that element of surprise,” said Green. “I talk about all the things that are ridiculous to me, like how I am turning 40 in a few weeks, how the world is all messed up with our addiction to technology and other various topics.”
For a man who arguably invented the sort of brief comedy clips that now populate sites like YouTube, had cameras follow him during his treatment for testicular cancer and now even hosts his own chat show out of his house through live streaming, an aversion to technology might initially seem strange.
“I think that it’s kind of exciting to have grown up in a world without the Internet,” Green said. “I didn’t have an email address, I didn’t have a cell phone, and you just had a completely different way of going about your life.”
Green’s opinions of technology extend further than simply day-to-day life, specifically concerning the start of his very own career. Green went to school for broadcasting, only because he was looking to utilize an outlet for his particular sense of humor, he said.
“If you wanted to make a television show, there was a completely different barrier between a regular person who wanted to make funny videos and show them to people and actually having anywhere to show them – it just wasn’t there,” Green said. “You had to go become a comedian or a professional broadcaster of some sort, and we had to work hard to figure it out technically.”
Green said that perhaps the Internet’s instantaneous nature takes away from an aspect of the creative process.
“The process really did help you think about writing and what you’re actually filming,” he said. “But I am so happy it’s here now, and it’s hilarious what’s been happening the past couple of years. Even the bits I did while I was on public access have made it to YouTube and all around the world.”
Despite his own immersion in the online world, Green said his stand-up tour has given him peace of mind.
“I’ve taken a step back from my online show, and I am really focusing on stand-up,” he said. “I just think that sometimes with the Internet, it’s just the entire world is at your fingertips, and you can just throw yourself on your computer in your living room every day, so it’s just nice to take a beat and do traditional comedy so you can think about what you’re doing before somebody flips on a switch.”
While Green continues on his stand-up tour, he also has a “top secret”mockumentary called “Prankstar” on the way, which he said may be “the craziest movie I’ve ever made.”
Along with “Prankstar,” Green touched upon his polarizing directorial debut, “Freddy Got Fingered,”
which he still has fondness for despite an excruciatingly harsh critical reception upon its initial release.
“I definitely want to do another cut of it,” he said. “It’s just not what I am doing right now. Though it’s amazing that no matter where I go – whether it’s Afghanistan, London or even Orlando – people will shout out of their cars, ‘Daddy, would you like some sausage?’ at me.”
Green said the film has developed a cult following after audiences had time to process it.
“Sometimes when you let the dust settle, it’s easier to absorb a movie like that,” he said. “It was definitely made to shock and freak people out. I think people were scared of it, but as it’s settled in, people have discovered it and enjoyed how crazy and ridiculous it really is.”
The dust may have settled from Green’s heyday in the late ‘90s and early ’00s, but Green has moved into a new chapter of his career – one that includes his stand-up tour, new film and other projects.