Weekly Q&A: Tom Green returns to Vegas—with an eye on long-term commitment

Tom Green plays Vinyl this weekend.

Tom Green doesn’t seem to have much in common with Shecky Green, but he is carving an identity as a popular Las Vegas comedian. Now he’s back, to front The Tom Green Show—An Outrageous Evening of Comedy, Satire & Storytelling. He’s been a frequent Vegas headliner over the past couple of years, appearing at the Riviera’s Starlite Theater and later at Vinyl as a co-headliner with Steve-O. Mike Tricarichi, a veteran comedy promoter and producer, is again backing Green in his shows at Vinyl.

Green is also an effective multimedia performer, even as he bemoans some of the technological advancements that he says have dulled the differences between cultures. He has been a TV star (The Tom Green Show on MTV), a film star (writing and directing the vile and defiled Freddie Got Fingered), a prolific writer for Huffington Post and, most recently, host of his own interview show on AXS TV, the hourlong Tom Green Live program.

You have taken your act on the road quite a bit over the past couple of years. Where have you been? Everywhere, really. Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada.

Any revelations from your travels? Oh yeah. I’ve learned how universal our sense of humor has become, which is kind of a sad thing, really.

How so? Well, it’s not totally sad, I should say. It’s not sad when I’m telling jokes onstage. But as I’m doing that, in the back of my mind I am minorly disappointed that our sense of humor is not that much different on the other side of the world. ... There is something romantic about the world being a diverse place, but you’re realizing every place has a Starbucks and Denny’s. But it’s not so sad when you’re telling jokes and you realize your material can work on the other side of the world.

This is largely because the world is so connected through social media, as you have said? I’ve ranted about it everywhere. Because of [social media], our ways of living can change so dramatically. We are constantly in conversation with each other, and that is not always a good thing. But I have had a great time touring and meeting people from all over the world. I have developed a diverse and interesting fan base. I have fans from Edinburgh now.

You have always said you particularly like working in Vegas. Why is that? Because everyone in the audience in Las Vegas is from all over the world, really, and it’s a different demographic every night. I can listen to what is working on a particular night and make microadjustments to whatever mood they are in. If the crowd is loud, it becomes infections, and if half the audience is loud and in a party mode, that’s an audience that can absorb comedy.

You’ve said this is a whole new show from what you have been presenting previously in Las Vegas. What’s different? I’ll have a lot of video elements, some stuff from the Tom Green Show on MTV. I’ll walk through some of the more outrageous things I’ve done, and go back through my career. We’ll have a bit of music. I’ll do “(Lonely Swedish) The Bum Bum Song.” I’ll rap and play guitar and do a lot of stand-up. My general plan is to record my AXS TV show every Thursday night and come do the shows at the Hard Rock on the weekend, set a schedule that way and come in with some new ideas.

I recently caught Carrot Top on your AXS TV show, and it was interesting to see him interviewed in a long-form format. You don’t seem to have any restrictions on the types of guests on the show. I loved having Carrot Top on. He is a friend, and I’m up for any type of guest. I have had Dan Rather on. [Andrew] Dice Clay, a friend of mine, was on. Howie Mandel, Cheech & Chong. These were all very good guests.

Is your goal to continue to play Las Vegas? That is the goal, to keep doing what I’m doing. I love coming to Vegas, I say it all the time. If I can keep doing the show in Vegas, I’d love to do it for a really long time.

The Tom Green Show March 7-10, 14-17 & April 4-7, 25-28, 7:30 p.m., $55-$97. Vinyl, 693-5000.

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