A few weeks ago I asked my cousin Jeff to join me for the Tom Green stand-up show in North Carolina. Jeff replied, “Tom Green. Isn’t that the guy who ate a mouse, humped a moose, married Drew Barrymore and got ball cancer? He does stand-up?” After watching his Showtime special, Tom Green Live, I can report that he does – and quite well.
It wasn’t immediately evident, though. When Green first took the stage the pace seemed frantic. His speech was lightning fast and he seemed to race the show rather than pace the stage. After a few minutes I realized that this wasn’t excitement or anxiety but his particular style, and once I settled into it things started rocking.
There was a part of me expecting an hour of gross-out humor. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just what I expected. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a set filled with well-written, wonderfully delivered jokes on topics ranging from politics to porn to technology. On the latter Green imaginatively foresees the human race eventually devolving into “blobs with thumbs.”
The overall theme of the set was getting older and more specifically how times have changed. Nostalgia can get trite if not handled properly, but Green worked it beautifully. While he often makes references to the ‘good old days,’ he does so with a knowing wink and nod. Green is saying that people our age are using technology to fulfill our sick desires and fantasies. Yet he makes sure to indicate that his motives were pretty sick even as a kid.
In the end, I would never had guessed this was Green’s first stand-up special if he hadn’t mentioned it. His act was polished (in his style), professional, and funny as hell. The material was fresh enough that even if he repeats it verbatim when I see him live next month I won’t be disappointed. I don’t think Jeff will either.
About the Author: Darren Staley is the host of Atari-winning podcast Dylan Brody's Neighbor's Couch, based out of North Carolina or Los Angeles. He is known in comedy circles as "Who?" or "Oh, That Guy." Darren's two biggest fears are spiders and Paul Provenza.