By Nathalie Weinstein
Up until recently, the last time Tom Green performed stand up was when he was 15 years old. Now, the former host of MTV’s Tom Green Show and “Road Trip” actor is touring the world performing stand up, including a recent appearance at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.
The 40-year-old actor, rapper and media personality spent the last few years hosting an internet talk show from his living room and performing for the troops in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He will be at Helium Comedy Club this week and took a few minutes to talk to PDX Pipeline about his upcoming visit. He’s not into Facebook, but you can follow Tom on Twitter at @tomgreenlive.
PDX Pipeline: You performed stand up at an early age before your TV and movie career took off. How has it been getting back into it?
Tom Green: I have been having a great time. I did stand up as a teen but never toured. When I was doing a web tv show at my house, people were emailing me from all over the planet and this has been a good way to visit them. I've been through England, Canada, and most recently, Edinburg's comedy festival. My show was always very outrageous and silly but stand up was always at the root of my show. I've been getting my time in on stage and have really come up with great jokes. You're going to party in Portland.
PDX: What sort of material do you incorporate into your stand-up?
TG: I am talking about things that are ridiculous and outrageous. It' not a music show. Sometimes when I perform in Canada, they think I will rap because I did that growing up. But there are really no gimmicks; just a microphone and jokes.
PDX: What things do you think are ridiculous and outrageous in today's society that you've incorporated into your act?
TG: It's ridiculous the addiction to cell phones and Facebook and iPads, this need to be constantly updated on information and in each other's business. I find that funny. A lot of what I talk about in stand up are these things that are normal now and we don't question them. It's not preachy; it's silly and high energy with ridiculous punch lines. When (the audience) walks out, they should question whether we need to be on our computer as much as we are. I cancelled my Facebook and it feels great.
PDX: You recently visited the troops in Afghanistan. What did that experience mean to you?
TG: It was awesome. I have done a few tours like this. I went to Iraq and Kosovo. It was a great experience. Soldiers are very receptive and happy to have people come over and perform. It's nice when they are happy to see you. It was interesting to see some very remote parts of the world where most people never get to go.
PDX: Who is someone who makes you laugh?
TG: Harland Williams makes me laugh. He's hilarious. I like all of the great stand up comics: George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Monty Python always made me laugh. The things I saw growing up I still find funny. There's a time in life when you discover comedy and are so amazed. It really sticks with you. I have a harder time laughing at new shows because I am at a different place in my life. I saw Monty Python at 12 and couldn't believe what I was looking at. Comedy may have been edgier in the past. We've become a little too PC with comedy in the last few years. That's changing but I like to look at (comedy) from 60s and 70s the most.
PDX: Have you been to Portland before? What do you like to see and do while you're here?
TG: This is my first time playing at Helium. I've never played in Portland. Once I was driving cross country and we stopped in Portland for a day and went to the thrift stores. My movie “Freddy Got Fingered” took place in Portland but was actually filmed in Vancouver BC. In a lot of ways this is my first trip.
Tom Green @ Helium Comedy Club
SE Ninth and Hawthorne
Thursday, October 20 @ 8 p.m.
Friday, October 21 @ 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 @ 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Tickets are $20 general admission, $25 reserved seating
For tickets and more information, please visit www.heliumcomedy.com/portland or call 888-64-FUNNY.