If you’re under 30, chances are you don’t know who Tom Green is. Pay attention, millennials.
The former star of the ahead-of-its-time Tom Green Show on MTV in the late 1990s rose to a quirky sort of comedic stardom, gaining fame not only for his humor but also for his oftentimes uncomfortable sketches (drinking milk from a cow’s teat, anyone?), his oddball ideas and his very public documentation of testicular cancer in 2000 and the subsequent removal of one of his testicles.
He’s laid claim to unseating *NSync from the throne of top video on MTV’s Total Request Live with his shockingly popular ditty “Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song)” in 1999, and later cemented his pop-culture-icon status when Eminem dropped not only Green’s name, but also a reference to Green’s “Bum” song, in “The Real Slim Shady.”
In 2002, Green won a Golden Raspberry Award for the film Freddy Got Fingered, which he wrote, directed and starred in. Up for five categories that year, the affectionately named Razzies are bestowed upon the worst films of the year. He embraced the honor, rolling up to the awards all decked out and becoming one of the only winners of the time to actually accept the award in person.
For the better part of the last two decades, though, Green’s been out and about. He’s covered the Olympics, he’s launched a rap career, he’s even apprenticed for Donald Trump (more on that later). Over the last eight or so years, Green has traversed many of the English-speaking countries, performing stand-up in an average of 300 shows a year.
It’s safe to say he hasn’t had much rest.
But, for now, he’s standing still, taking up residency inside Bally’s Las Vegas’ new (dare we say reimagined?) Back Room spot with his new version of The Tom Green Show.
“It’s just incredible,” he says of the space. “I got to meet Wayne Newton and that was awesome. To have a dressing room beside him in this historic casino in Las Vegas is very, very cool.”
It’s not just Newton’s presence that makes Green pinch himself.
“I’m a student of old-school comedy. I love Dean Martin, and the fact that the greenroom I have used to be his old dressing room is something that is really cool,” he explains. “To be in a room where Dean Martin used to hang out is pretty wild.”
Every Sunday through Wednesday, the funnyman takes the stage to remind audiences he once worked for the president of the United States on Celebrity Apprentice (says Green: “He’s my old boss, and I try not to make anyone feel bad about their political leanings—I have fun with the situation and point out some of the absurdity of it all”) as well as having only one testicle. He even takes a little stroll down memory lane, treating the audience to some of clips of his past successes.
It’s a “Who is Tom Green?” crash course for millennials, mixed with his signature brand of humor, something Green describes as observational comedy, stand-up where he talks about personal things (i.e. his fight with cancer) and “ridiculous observations on the world and society.”
His show marks another notch for Vegas as a growing comedic stronghold, thanks to rooms that attract serious talent in spots like The Laugh Factory, Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, Dirty at 12:30 at Southpoint and more.
“It’s a special, intimate experience that continues to evolve,” he says of The Tom Green Show. “The show has changed quite a bit since the opening night, and we’re making adjustments every day, always changing things. It’s a place to see some up-close-and-personal stand-up comedy, which I think is always a great way to see stand-up comedy.”
According to Green, the real gem is his midnight show every Sunday, where he is quick to point out that things get a “little weirder.”
The comedian arrived shortly before his gig began at the end of October and has been doing the Vegas circuit of sorts, finding new haunts he loves (it’s the Peppermill, if you must know) and Fremont East and checking out shows like Elton John’s The Million Dollar Piano, where he was brought on stage and got to shake the artist’s hand.
“The first thing I notice about Las Vegas are the people—it’s a mixture of people from all over the country and the world in one place,” he says. “It’s something that’s very unique and I enjoy.”
Tom Green performs every Sunday at 8 p.m. and midnight, and Mon.–Wed. at 10 p.m. Tickets start at $39. To purchase tickets, go to tomgreenvegas.com.