Tom Green tries grown-up brand of standup comedy

Tom Green (WENN.COM file photo)

Tom Green (WENN.COM file photo)

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:42 PM ET

When Jay Leno ended and Jimmy Fallon took the Tonight Show to New York, only one talk show remained in “beautiful downtown Burbank” – Tom Green’s.

“We’re just literally around the corner from the old Tonight Show. I pass that studio on the way to work,” says Green, who recently received a green light for a third season of Tom Green Live on the U.S. cable channel AXS, owned by billionaire Mark Cuban.

“We’ve only met by email,” Green says of Cuban of Shark Tank fame. “He hasn’t actually been to the show. But it’s encouraging that he’s renewed us for a third time.”

For those who remember his shock-comic incarnation on MTV, this is the new Tom Green I’m talking to by phone - the one who listens.

“When I started the Tom Green show back then, it was more about me, really – the Candid Camera-type pranks and guerilla comedy,” says Green, who’s hosting the Canadian Music Week Industry awards and performing standup at Toronto’s Yuk Yuk’s this weekend.

But with his current show, “I really am enjoying sitting back and listening to my guests. I had Dan Rather on the show recently – just an amazing experience.” Other guests have included Cheech & Chong, Howie Mandel and Andrew “Dice” Clay.

“I grew up loving Tom Snyder and David Letterman and Johnny Carson and have since gone back and absorbed a lot of old talk shows like Jack Paar and Steve Allen. It’s a format I love.”

He professes to have grown up a lot. The only time he talks about himself in the third person is in beer form (a brewery in Vankleek Hill, Ont., near his Ottawa home, created Tom Green Beer – the winner, he proudly notes, of the People’s Choice Award by the Ontario Craft Beer Association). “It’s a natural outgrowth of the fact that I like to have a few beers with the fans after the show.”

Green has also “gone Vegas” with his standup. “It’s a new residency on weekends I’m doing at the Hard Rock (Casino). My show is at 7:30 and at 9:30.” Andrew “Dice” Clay also performs at the same venue.

In his off-hours he’s caught shows by friends Criss Angel and Carrot Top. “Vegas is exciting, and it’s nice to be somewhere on a regular basis rather than just criss-crossing the country. It allows me to have a semblance of a life.”

His standup these days, he says, “is closer to that outrageous character people remember. But I’m talking about some real subjects and issues in my standup. I’m attempting to make a point about technology and how it’s changing our society and our lives, and our addiction to social media, and how it affects marriages and relationships. There’s scenarios I paint with that.”

He describes it as “truth to power,” but adds it isn’t that different than what he did in the ‘90s.

“When you get older, you look at who has power differently. When you’re 21 years old and you do something ridiculous at the National Art Gallery and get kicked out by the security guard, in your mind, you’re speaking truth to power.”

Tom Green performs at Yuk Yuk's Toronto May 9 and 10. For more info head over to yukyuks.com.

Twitter: @jimslotek

jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca


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