Tom Green is on a roll.
When he visited Winnipeg nearly three years ago, the well-known Canadian prankster/actor/TV personality was in the process of reinventing himself, touring the world in a committed effort to establish himself as a standup comedian of note. Last year, he visited Winnipeg, including an appearance at the Free Press News Café.
Comedy is still a priority -- as evidenced by his appearance at this year's Winnipeg Comedy Festival as host of the Saturday Late Gala show, Special Delivery -- but these days, there's a lot more to Green's career than a stage, a microphone and a spotlight.
"It's been a pretty exciting year," Green says in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles, referring to the fact he is now hosting a weekly talk show on U.S. cable's AXS TV (the Mark Cuban-owned channel formerly known as HDNet), and recently signed a deal that will make him a comedian-in-residence at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
"It's been a real turning point in my career. I've got a home base in L.A. and I've built my own little television studio where I can do my show and run my production company, which I've always wanted to do, and then I can take off and do standup four nights a week for a couple of weeks each month in Las Vegas.
"I'm continuing to write; I'm currently working on a new hour-long (comedy) special that I'm super stoked about."
Green, 42, has been famous -- or is that infamous? -- since the mid-'90s, when his Ottawa community-access TV show gained a national reputation for its outrageous pranks, particularly those played on his forever-overwhelmed parents.
The Tom Green Show was picked up by the Comedy Network in Canada, which led to an offer to take his unique brand of humour south of the border to MTV. By 2000, Green had achieved legitimate stardom in Hollywood, both on TV and in films (Road Trip, Freddy Got Fingered, Stealing Harvard).
After a brief marriage to Drew Barrymore and a battle with testicular cancer, Green's career cooled down a bit, but he maintained a presence in pop culture by creating a website and an online talk show and, later, taking the aforementioned aggressive turn into standup-comedy touring.
He says the Special Delivery gala -- which focuses on comedians with unique performance styles -- feels like a pretty good fit.
"I've always been into the quirky, off-the-wall comedians," he says. "I've always been a bit of a nut-job myself, and in my shows, I've always strived to put a different spin on traditional formats... I think it'll be a great night; I'm just going to go out there and be as weird as everybody else."
Interestingly, Green admits that his AXS TV show, Tom Green Live, has very little to do with weird behaviour or outrageous pranks. Instead, it's a throwback to old-style talk TV, inspired by the extended conversations Tom Snyder used to have with guests during his tenure as host of NBC's The Tomorrow Show (1973-82) and CBS's The Late Late Show (1995-99).
"What I loved about Tom Snyder, being a huge fan of comedy, was being able to see my favourite comedians in a really intimate, casual setting, being themselves and getting to talk without a lot of interruptions," he recalls. "I love those intimate conversations... that allow you to get inside the minds of the guests.
"Onstage, when I do standup, that's when I get an opportunity to be a bit wacky and speak my mind and deliver my point of view. But in this TV show, I get to do something else that I love, which is be a good listener, book really interesting guests (ranging from comedians Artie Lange and Andrew Dice Clay to actor Tim Matheson to veteran newsman Dan Rather), and give them a platform to speak about things in a longer format. There just aren't a lot of shows like that anymore."
In April 2013, Tom Green dropped by the Free Press News Café for a live and interactive interview. Watch the replay and highlights below.