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Comedian Tom Green on Being Fired By Donald Trump

8 June 17 interview: Jared Wilson

Since he first became famous as part of the nineties MTV Generation, Tom Green has been bossed around by Donald Trump, got married to Drew Barrymore, stood in for David Letterman, was impersonated by Eminem, survived cancer, made dozens of Hollywood films and humped a dead moose. This month, he’s quite literally on his way to a city near you to share some of that joy…

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to The Glee Club…
I’m excited. I’ve done a few shows before at the comedy festival in Edinburgh, and once at Greenwich Festival. But this is my first full UK tour.

Do you know much about Nottingham? Like the story of Robin Hood?
Robin Hood. Yes, I’ve heard of him. That’s Kevin Costner, right? I know there was a lot of history before that film, but that’s the version I like best. I’ve never been to Nottingham, so that’s pretty cool. Is Sherwood Forest nearby?

Yeah, it is actually really near. You should go…
I’m excited to go. That’ll be the number-one place on my agenda to visit before my show. I’ll try to walk in the footsteps of Robin Hood.

So you started out as a teenage stand-up and now, after nearly thirty years in TV and Hollywood, you’re back. What do you love about it?
There’s something about being in front of a live audience that is the most adrenaline-filled experience. Doing these shows and tours is a way of reconnecting with people who watched my old videos on MTV and YouTube, but also bringing something completely new to the equation.

What comedy inspired you when you first started out?
We were watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus on television regularly. I remember renting the VHS of The Meaning of Life and laughing harder than I ever have at the liver donor scene. I also loved watching Late Night with David Letterman, and comedians like Eddie Murphy in his Delirious era.

Freddie Got Fingered has become a cult classic. In your day-to-day life, how often do you get asked “Daddy would you like some sausages?”
I get asked that at least once a day and I just made my daily quota, so thank you. It’s funny. I wrote and directed that movie and when it came out, the critics were not kind. But now it’s kind of taken on this life of its own all over the world. Whether I’m in Australia, Canada or the US, people have grown to love that movie. I may even reenact some scenes onstage during the tour.

I know you’re a big hip hop fan as well. How did it feel to be namechecked by Eminem in The Real Slim Shady for humping a dead moose?
My god, this is like This Is Your Life or something. You’ve got all the moments in here. Yeah, that was pretty cool. I thought that was hilarious. Eminem actually licensed that song to me to use in the credits of Freddie Got Fingered too, which is a rarity. You know that early on he used to do impersonations of me on MTV? There are videos on YouTube of it. He’d dress up as me and run around in Times Square and reenact my sketches from the Tom Green show.

You were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 and went on to make TV shows about it. What advice would you give to us blokes?
Make sure you look after yourself and check your balls. Early detection is the key. Don’t wait around because your number-one way of surviving testicular cancer is getting it early. I tour all over the world doing stand-up and literally once a week, another cancer survivor will come up to me after one of my shows and we’ll have these emotional moments. It’s a pretty wild community to become a part of and if I can help raise awareness, then all the better.

Can I ask about Donald Trump? You actually know him. What do you think to him as president so far?
Yeah, we met when I was on the TV show The Celebrity Apprentice. It’s certainly given me a unique insight. Donald Trump screamed at and fired me because I went out drinking with Dennis Rodman when I was supposed to be the project manager.

I felt, before the election, that I was obligated to speak out about it and so I made a protest video and song called Do The Donald. Unfortunately, it probably helped get him elected. I’m approaching it differently now. I’m hoping that my old boss will surprise everybody and become a good president. For the state of the country and the world, I want him to do well. As we move forward, I’m hoping that he doesn’t screw up too badly. Time will tell.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
It’d probably be weird if I told you the truth because I was posting some old Tom Green Show clips on Instagram. I won’t say that cause it’ll make me sound weird. I watch a lot of funny stuff on the internet all the time; I watched Dave Chapelle’s new comedy special recently and that was brilliant.

What was the last thing that made you cry?
It might have been when I was watching some reruns of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and it was a thoroughly emotional episode. I’m a sensitive person and sometimes when I’m watching these ridiculously mundane shows, I have emotional moments when the strings and the music come in. Seriously.

I was talking to a friend recently about what I had gone through with my cancer experience and how ridiculously absurd life can be. There was a young guy in the hospital room next to mine and he was 24 years old. He didn’t survive his battle with testicular cancer. I think it’s possible that maybe, just maybe, I teared up a little when thinking about that and just about how lucky I am to be here.

Tom Green’s European Comedy Road Trip visits The Glee Club on Tuesday 13 June.

Tom Green website

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