At the end of his telephone interview, Tom Green makes this declaration about his upcoming standup performance at the Funny Farm: "Make sure you let everyone know that it's going to be the funniest show coming through town for the next six months to a year. So, they better get out to this one because I'm not going to be back for awhile."
Listening to him discuss his work and watching clips from Green's recent Showtime special and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" appearance make his claim more than a hollow boast. There's a solid structure to his observations along with audience interaction and the hyperactive approach that's marked his TV and film career.
"I'm probably louder and more physical than most comedians touring today," he said. "I'm running around the stage. I'm screaming in the microphone. I'm trying to maintain this unpredictability and outrageousness that people come to expect of me but still talk about things that are making people think."
The 41-year-old offers insight into making peace with middle age, dealing with advancing technologies, reflecting on the less complicated days in the '80s and '90s and his thoughts on social media, reality television, current events and even his bout with testicular cancer.
"It's amazing how fast time passes and how quickly we can become nostalgic for things we thought were modern and new not that long ago. I have a pretty clear memory of the delineation between the internet society that we're in now and the pre-internet society,"?Green said. "That's a huge change. Sure, we had technology coming all the time when I was a kid but the internet was such a massive shift in the way that we communicate with each other that's such a huge impact on all of our lives."
Growing up in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, he was originally influenced by television sketch artists such as "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and "SCTV" as well as the hijinks initiated by David Letterman's groundbreaking late night programs.
WHO: Tom Green
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Funny Farm Comedy Club at Mojo's Pub & Grille, 6292 Mahoning Ave., Austintown
HOW MUCH: $27.50
"I realized that you could go out and behave like a goofball and turn it into a job,"?he said. "The dream from then on was to try to find a way to work in show business and do comedy."
He worked as a standup comedian, radio host and rapper before debuting the cable access program "The Tom Green Show." In 1999 he brought its scandalous mix of anything-goes talk show format with filmed clips, such as pranks done to his unsuspecting parents and drinking milk straight from a cow's utter, to MTV.
After two controversial years, Green moved on to film ("Road Trip" and "Freddie Got Fingered"), wrote an autobiography, returned to MTV for a tamer version of the talk show and appeared on "The Celebrity Apprentice."
Turning to the internet for his next venture offered a higher degree of creative freedom but the daily grind of hosting the live online show, "Tom Green's House Tonight," in his living room led to his return to stand up three years ago.
"It was exhausting just being at home all the time," he explained. "It's amazing how you can get stir crazy never leaving the house.''
The interactions with fans during "Tonight" also inspired him to go back onstage. "Just getting all these calls from people all over the world who are writing me to come to their city, I just decided this would be a good time to start doing standup. I don't have any kids yet. I have some freedom to move around and take off on the road at a moment's notice, and I did. And it's been awesome. Basically, I was just looking for an excuse to get out of the house."
He has done just that with tours across North America as well as concerts at the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Scotland and a USO tour for American and Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
For someone who is now viewed as a shock comedy pioneer, Green would rather discuss what it means rather than take credit. "People often bring up "Jackass" and "Borat" and these kinds of things, but they don't ever talk as much about the broader implications of how television has, basically, become a mass-produced version of what we were doing on public access TV in Canada 15 years ago."
Analyzing culture and society while maintaining his patented excitable mannerisms displays Green's mature outlook in a world that has caught up to his brand of comedy.
"It's the closest thing to me being myself out of anything that I've ever done. Obviously, when you get up on stage, and you have to be entertaining for an hour - you're not acting the way you act when you're at the mall or walking down the street - so there is a bit of a performance to it but I'm talking about things that are important to me, things that have happened to me in my life. From that standpoint, it's probably the most honest thing that I've ever done."