Actor-comedian Tom Green brings more than pranks to stand-up stage

Actor and former MTV talk show host Tom Green is now a standup comedian with an online talk show.
Actor and former MTV talk show host Tom Green is now a standup comedian with an online talk show. Tom Green

Interviewing Tom Green on April Fool’s Day might not seem like the best idea.

But although he is probably best known for the elaborate and outrageous practical jokes he played on MTV’s “The Tom Green Show,” the 43-year-old comedian is both a little older and perhaps a little less offensive than he was when he was in his 20s.

About seven years ago Green – who appears at The Comedy Zone Wednesday – returned to stand-up, where he got his start at age 15.

“It becomes very addictive when you get used to having that much to do,” he says. “Performing on stage is addictive. The adrenaline rush is exhilarating. When I stop touring for a couple weeks, I get antsy.”

He still produces a live, call-in talk show for www.tomgreen.com, but he’s diversified his resume over the past 15 years as a long-form interviewer, actor, contestant on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” and correspondent on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

“It’s not really for any distinct group of fans,” he says of his interactive, somewhat spontaneous stand-up show, which involves the crowd as well as more traditional stories and observations.

“Don’t feel like it’s not your thing,” says Green, who will be filming for an upcoming stand-up special at the show. “It’s not just 25-year-old boys nerding out. The subjects I’m covering are very universal. After every show, I have ladies in their 60s coming up to me telling me how much fun they had.”

Green’s experience on the other side of the late-night talk show desk actually prepared him to be an astute interviewer, engaging celebrities for much longer than your average TV talker.

“I grew up practically getting into this business because of David Letterman. I wanted to do comedy-based interviews,” says Green, who has appeared in films like “Charlie’s Angels,” “Freddy Got Fingered” and “Road Trip.” “It definitely prepares you, when you go on a talk show and see what makes you uncomfortable or you feel like the host isn’t listening or isn’t engaged.

“If I ever interview somebody, I make sure I listen to them. As a comedian, I’ve gone on so many shows, I’ve wanted to take things to a crazy place. Sometimes the hosts don’t like that. I don’t do that so much anymore, but I like to have freedom to talk.”

Green’s rise led to a whole pool of risk-taking imitators (“Jackass,” most notably). Today he gives his stamp of approval to “The Eric Andre Show.”

“I talk to Eric all the time,” he says. “He reminds me of some of the things we’d get into when I was his age. They really push the boundaries of man-on-the-street comedy.”

As for his own past pranks:

“When we were writing those things, we were purposely coming up with things that we’d later regret,” he explains. “If I think of anything I regret, then that’s success.”


Tom Green

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday.

WHERE: The Comedy Zone, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd.


DETAILS: 980-321-4702; www.cltcomedyzone.com.