Tom Green on How His Comedy Will Make You Think, And How Facebook and Internet Porn Wreck Relationships

Categories: Comedy

Marleah Leslie & Associates
Tom Green.
​Tom Green has a tendency to get pretty cerebral. And yes, we're referring to the same dude who penned "Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song)" and suckled milk directly from a cow's waiting teat. Green's comic efforts have always been quite genius -- and oftentimes exceptionally madcap -- whether the over-the-top guerilla comedy of his groundbreaking self-titled MTV show, any of his numerous online projects like Web-O-Vision, or his various stand-up gigs in recent years.

Get past the inherent silliness and shock value of anything Green has done comedy-wise and there's always some sort of deeper meaning or message at work (even with the crazier stuff). That was the case back in his MTV days and is especially true with his stand-up. He's pretty much a live wire or hyperactive tornado onstage (check out his three-night stint at the Tempe Improv this weekend to see for yourself), but catch him when he's not performing and Green's far more subdued and analytical.

See also: Kevin McDonald on Writing For SNL, His Favorite Characters, and Another Possible Kids in the Hall Tour

Such was the case when Jackalope Ranch spoke with the comedian recently via telephone. We covered a lot of ground during the talk, including how he's not so much into stunts any more, how he'll likely never show up on MTV again, and even why rumors of him dating tattoo queen Kat Von D. are false.

And then there's all the deeper subject matter we dove into, like how Green -- like his hero George Carlin -- hopes to entertain and enlighten with his comedy. Plus, he detests Facebook because of how it's changed people's lives (and not for the better) and ruined a few marriages. And he's really not a fan of online pornography. Not because he's a prude or nothing, but rather because of its over-availability has created both unrealistic expectations and wrecked relationships.

He may cover a lot of the same ground this weekend at the Tempe Impov, albeit delivered in outlandish, hilarious, and often interactive fashion to his audiences. When we spoke to him, however, it were a bit more serious but still plenty interesting.

So you recently re-launched your YouTube channel, correct?
Yeah, I've been putting stuff on YouTube for awhile but I'm starting to organize it and put a lot of my old content on there and just having some fun with it.

Like your old MTV stuff?
Well, the thing that most people don't necessarily realize is most of the MTV stuff I shot in Canada myself. I did the show for six years in Canada before MTV picked it up. It was a public access show, so I own all the copyright on that stuff. That's why the show was so crazy. We'd been doing it a long time. We had a real sort of distinct idea of what we wanted to do and they threw us on the air.

What else will you feature on the channel?
I'm relaunching my Web-O-Vision show. I did this show in my living room for many years, which is a talk show that got really outrageous and strange with great guests and was just very raw. I stopped doing it because I just wanted to have my house back and have a place to relax, but I'm going to be rebuilding my studio in a little warehouse in Burbank. And we're going to be feeding all sorts of amazing interviews and comedy with really funny guests into the YouTube channel, my website, and also a whole bunch of other places. It's going to cool.

We hear you're also working on something with Andrew Dice Clay and Tara Reid called The Big Big Show?
Yeah, that's going to be really fun. Its sort of like The Gong Show for the YouTube generation. Were like judges. It's like this crazy talent show.

And you're a certifiable expert in crazy antics, right?
Yeah. This is going to be, in some ways, a traditional-looking show but then we're going to have really outrageous acts and goofy things on there that are just a little offbeat. More like The Gong Show than American Idol.

Any chance you'd ever do a show on MTV again?
I definitely have several shows in development right now, but I don't think MTV is the logical place for me to do a show. My comedy is, you know, not for 14-year-olds anymore. MTV is a network for kids, right?

Or adults who refuse to grow up.
It's a kids network, it's for teenagers. So I probably would probably be more likely to do something in a more adult setting. Like MTV just doesn't have people on air who are in their 40s.

Except for maybe the concerned parents on 16 and Pregnant.
Yeah, exactly. I'm too old for that. It's just that was something that I did when I was in my twenties and I think my comedy's evolving to a point that it probably...because people often say, "Why don't you bring your show back to MTV, they often forget that MTV is for 16 year olds. We've all grown up a little bit here.

People who watched your old show when they were 16 are still fans, right?
Yeah, but they're not watching MTV anymore. I would love to do more stuff with MTV but I can't foresee myself doing a show on MTV. I think the more accurate question is, "When's your show coming back to television?" And I'll have an answer for you in a few months. I've got a bunch of really cool projects sort of in the works. Next year's going to be a lot of TV stuff happening, but I've been doing a lot of touring for the last few years and really sort of immersing myself in that, but I'm gonna get back on the tube a little bit.

Location Info


Tempe Improv Comedy Theatre

930 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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Excellent article, Benjamin, I loved it!

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