Tom Green Talks New 'Trailer Park Boys' Movie, Reality TV, Stand-Up Career (Q&A)
Comedian Tom Green is teaming up with fellow Canadian funnymen the Trailer Park Boys for the stoner trio’s third movie, Swearnet.
The next chapter in the hilarious mockumentary series, which began as a TV show and featured Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page in one of her earliest roles, finds Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Bubbles (Mike Smith) on another entrepreneurial kick, this time launching their own internet television network where anything goes.
The Ontario native tweeted last month that he “had a blast” filming with the boys. That was reason enough for The Hollywood Reporter to reach out to Green, who’s been touring North America (and the world, heading to such far off lands as Afghanistan) as a stand-up comedian, his first time performing in front of a live audience since practicing the art form as a teen at various amateur nights.
“I’m 41 years old now and basically creating a new character that I’m doing,” says Green, who hosted Tom Green Live from his living room from 2006 to 2011. Ironically, however, he plays himself in the TPB movie. Read on for more hints on what’s sure to be another hilarious chapter in the tale of Canada’s most lovable losers.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did you hook up with the guys and this role in the new Trailer Park Boys movie?
Tom Green: I first met the Trailer Park Boys when they did my web television show and since then, I’ve hung out with them a few times. We had some fun up at the Montreal Comedy Festival a couple years ago. When we get together, we have a good time. But I’ve always been a big fan of theirs. Being from Canada, everyone loves Trailer Park Boys, so they contacted me pretty over the summer and said, “Do you want to come up and be in our movie?” Of course I jumped on that and went and it was hilarious. We were basically just having a huge laugh up there everyday.
THR: What can you tell us about the movie?
Green: The Trailer Park Boys start an Internet television network where you can swear on the air and do anything you want. There are no rules, regulations or restrictions, which is kind of what my web show was all about, so these guys are getting into a whole bunch of crazy situations with this network. I play Tom Green, which is a real stretch, you know? I really had to work on my character.
THR: Assuming Ricky is still wearing the same tacky patterned shirt that is his trademark?
Green: Yeah. It’s amazing. We were shooting in this tiny little town on the banks of Lake Superior in northern Ontario, and we’d go to the local bar or restaurant after filming and see how the town’s so excited that the Trailer Park Boys were there. It’s pretty cool. [Pictured from L to R: Wells, Smith, Tremblay]
THR: Of the three, who is your favorite character?
Green: Oh, I can’t say. Those guys are all awesome and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Besides, it really is about the interaction between them. You have Bubbles as your zanier character and then you have your straight character where one doesn’t work without the other, so what’s really nice to see is that they’ve kept that together. Because that’s what makes it all work: the synergy of the characters. What I also think is really cool about the Trailer Park Boys is the way I started my show with my friends and these guys are all friends and they’ve kept this great franchise going for years now. And they continue to be friends -- they go out, they drink…
THR: You just had a stand-up special premiere on Showtime, why this new direction with your comedy?
Green: I stopped doing stand-up when I got a record deal with this group I was in [Organized Rhyme]. Then I started the Tom Green Show on a public access station and that’s kind of what I ended up focusing on for the next ten years or so. Then in the last few years, I was doing my web show and it was an exciting time with the internet -- I’m doing this talk show in my living room and literally we’re getting millions and millions of downloads from all over the planet with people saying, “When are you going to come do a show out in our city?” It just sort of struck me: this would be a good time to focus on stand-up again and take the show on the road.
THR: Where has you stand-up taken you?
Green: Canada and everywhere in the U.S. The Edinburgh Comedy Festival [in Scotland] last August and I was over in Afghanistan performing for the military. It’s an exciting time because no one’s ever really seen me do stand-up comedy on TV before, and it’s a lot different than what my movies were.
THR: With the popularity of podcasts and viral videos, your web show was sort of ahead of its time. Was it not paying for itself? What ultimately made you give it up?
Green: I was actually doing pretty well with it. It was making money on my website, so that’s not really why I stopped. Honestly, I did the web show for five years and I loved it, but it was in my living room. I had this whole studio that took over half of my house. So it became very intrusive. When I started doing stand-up, not only did that take off right away but it was amazing to me how all of a sudden I was never home.
THR: You got your big break in 1999 through the MTV version of The Tom Green Show. Do you recognize the network today?
Green: I don’t watch a whole lot of television, to be honest, but I do miss music videos. I understand the internet and things have changed that, but I miss having a place to go and see what is happening in the world of music and I’d like to see them get back to that more. But I talk a lot in my act about these reality shows and how we reward bad behavior. Like, it used to be when you were 16 and pregnant you’d get in trouble. Now, you get your own show.
THR: You also had a stint on reality TV as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice. What was that experience like?
Green: Basically, they put you in a room with a bunch of people who are used to getting everything their own way and you watch everybody scream at each other. There’s not always a lot of redeeming value to that and that’s what I’m trying to highlight in my stand-up is these kinds of ideas -- that we’re sort of in this forced reality where everybody knows that if someone gets in a big fight or gets drunk or throws a punch at somebody that’s going to mean better ratings. This overwhelming assault on people’s brains, it does potentially change the way people perceive the world. I think there’s a time in the near future where things might start shifting in the other direction and going back towards doing more comedy-oriented programming and shows that are perhaps slightly more scripted and less throw a camera on a bunch of outrageous people and watch them makes fool of themselves.