Last Sunday night I went over to the Improv in Irvine to catch a Norm MacDonald show (he is most known for his time on Saturday Night Live and the film Dirty Work). He was fantastic. He’s looking great and is still sharp and on top of his game. He stood up there and continued to shoot the shit with the audience far beyond his normal set time. He’s just a guy who is conversationally funny so even just sipping water and talking about nothing in particular was a treat.
However, the more interesting perk of the night was the appearance of Tom Green. You either love this guy or you hate him. He reached fame through a number of different factors. He had a well known show, cleverly titled The Tom Green Show, on MTV. He had a TRL (how convenient) hit with the video for his hit song My Bum Is On Your Lips (or more formally known as The Bum Bum Song). Go ahead, Youtube “the bum bum song” and have a look. Though you will most likely laugh harder at all the location clips from his show. He was an extremely physical comedian who would seek ways to irritate his family, shock/gross people out, or just plain old push boundaries. One of my fond memories was when he ran around a kid’s league soccer game, in uniform, with a little boom box playing “America” from West Side Story pissing off the die hard soccer parents. Or the time he just went on the street and asked various people where they were going and he asked the wrong angry old man. Seriously, spend some time looking into Tom Green on Youtube. Even if you think he’s irritating (hi, mom) there is a lot of material to look through, something will make you laugh.
He was in the films Road Trip and let’s not forget the unsung classic Freddy Got Fingered. He also had a small part as the Chad in Charlie’s Angels (where Drew Barrymore met and cast him). He was the cover boy for publications such as Rolling Stone and a staple in the talk show circuit. On a less professional note, he was known for being married for five months to Drew Barrymore and dating Winona Ryder (two objects of my childhood/teenage adoration …hey, Winona wasn’t a pill popping klepto yet).
One of his most famous highlights is when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and chose to share the entire experience in a documentary. In true memorable Tom Green style, he even shared what his actual ball looked like once it was removed. I commend him for sharing a scary experience with honesty and humor. Soon after this, his Hollywood hills home he shared with Drew burned down, September 11th happened (hey, I’m just setting the stage for the dark times), he experienced the very public (and not terribly eye brow raising) divorce from Drew, the only movie he took a leading roll in bombed, and all of a sudden the people who liked him through the 90s were looking around asking:
“What ever happened to Tom Green?”
Here is what I have found out about the current goings on with Tom Green: Tom is still conducting shows in his very own living room (the setup is quite brilliant actually) via his website. He has a lot of fun irreverent friends from the industry that come by and hang out and converse …sometimes they bust out with some freestyle face-offs! You never know what you’re going to get. There is one of the bright points of running your own show with zero network restrictions. His broadcasts are still funny, but I find that there are more lulls between the laughs than when he was producing his MTV show and was out in the field busting his ass. But I’d still tune into his site, there is still gold in those hills.
This brings me back to last Sunday at the comedy club. The room was packed, mostly with people in their 20s and 30s, very fitting. When Tom was announced and took the stage …the place blew up. I was really happy to see him get a respectful jubilant reception. Hell, I was one of the people hooting and hollering.
Okay. With that said, let me get the depressing assessment out of the way first. Time has not been kind to his looks. Actually, he still pretty much looks the same just a little more tired (he has those sleepy stoned eyes, he swore in a dead pan voice that he doesn’t do drugs, but that elicited the biggest laugh of all, perhaps he was just referring to the “hard stuff”). He still has the tall lanky build and facial hair, only now the beard is covering a bloat in the face and his slim build is supporting a belly that is pressing against his t-shirt that only comes from drinking or pregnancy, I’m going to take a guess that it wasn’t the ladder . Oh would you look at that, he spent the duration of his set with a neat scotch in his hand. The drink was gone less than five minutes in. Green wasted no time addressing his tribulations. In fact, his entire act was based off of them, lemons made into lemonade?
His act included a lot of dry lamenting over his stint with who he would only refer to as his “ex wife.” Oh wait, once he called her Reese Witherspoon. Anyway, clearly he still fumes over the entire situation. I’m not sure if it’s being bitter or wistful about the past or just the principle that he feels like a self-proclaimed failure for having to check the “divorced” box over a five month marriage. He next went on to talk about his mono-ball situation and showing the audience his scar. Educational move, as it would turn out the scar is above the pubic line on his pelvis. I just heard a collective sigh of relief from all the people that just got a nasty visual of what they thought I was talking about. He then went on to trash talk Los Angeles since he was addressing an Orange County crowd. Rumor has it, there is a feud of superiority between the two neighbors. Honestly, I was wishing I was in a Los Angeles club smack talking Orange County. It’s a beautiful place to go to the beach and it has good dining and shopping, but then again, so does L.A. When asked “What do you guys do here?” there was complete dead air. This, aside from most of the citizens that inhabit this area, is the central reason I want out! Tom brought this fact right to the front of my mind. I found it funny he was smack talking his town when he can now be seen on various TMZ broadcasts getting out of his car and heading to popular for the moment Hollywood club My House. Ya don’t get much more “LA” than that.
I was dismayed to see the “arm candy” that was clinging onto him at his table when his set was over. This sounds catty, and perhaps only some of the ladies out there will get this …but …EW. Out of all the bloating and gripes over life mistakes, I’d say one of the worst badges of his current state was this woman he had in his company. She was one of those broads who tans so much she looks like a 49 year old leather wallet …an old leather wallet with fake breasts that hit her in the chin while she texts through his set. To her credit, instead of bleaching her hair blonde, she went the other route and dyed it black …luxurious inky black locks. She didn’t seem to mind too much that he spent most of his time talking about his way more prestigious ex-wife. That’s probably because she was busy rubbing her uncomfortable looking chest against her Blackberry instead of paying attention. Eh, you get the idea. WHY TOM? WHY? You can do better than this! Proof is in the pudding man! You might be struggling with some demons, does the Katie Price beaten with an ugly stick look-alike have to be included in the package? Try harder.
Despite his ragged appearance and blank moments which, honestly, made him all the funnier, I’m happy to say I am still a fan of this man. I laughed through his entire routine and wanted more. I hope the best for him, I’ll continue to check him out online and if I hear he is performing live somewhere, I’ll be there. If you were a fan of his back in the day like I was and hankering for a little nostalgia, you should check him out again. If you couldn’t stand the guy the first time around, maybe look again (I’m telling you, if you don’t laugh out loud at the “where are you going?” sketch, you’re a robot). In a world where so many lame comedians thrive, it seems wrong to try to let Tom Green fall by the wayside. He needs a stronger spotlight to use his ideas and expand beyond what he’s got now (tired looking lady friend and all). He deserves more.