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June 2, 2013

Movie Review: Tom Green Live (2013)

I've always been a Tom Green fan. Ever since the start of his MTV show, I thought he was genuine in his silliness. He was a guy having fun, often at the expense of his friends or family. On top of it all, he wasn't doing what he did as some kind of bit for the money. He did his show for free for seven years on public television in Canada before MTV ever came calling. There's a special kind of truth to everything Tom Green does, and it comes out in his stand-up.

I hadn't seen any of Green's act until I watched this, but I heard good things here and there. There were rumors of music and silly bits, but everything seemed positive in a "you know, he's actually pretty good" sort of way. I hate to say it, but I had a similar reaction as I started to watch.

Green's act didn't involve music, and it wasn't as silly as you'd think. In fact, he even made fun of himself for the bit that leads him to the top of the stool you see on the DVD cover. Green has been a performer for most of his life, so it's no surprise that he was extremely comfortable on stage. What was surprising to me was his level of anger at little things. It was Lewis Black-esque. The people in the front few rows were rightfully nervous. I liked it. Green showed how new he was to stand-up by traipsing through old standard tropes, but he handled those very well. He got personal toward the end of the show, discussing his cancer battle.

Though the special can be found streaming, I recommend that any real Tom Green fan go out and get the DVD. It includes a documentary on the history of The Tom Green Show. It was absolutely fascinating. He starts with his public access show and takes you all the way through his move into stand-up. The one odd thing to me was that his friend and usual target Glenn Humplik was blurred in all of the footage, which makes me think there was some sort of falling out, but he never got into that.

Green's act was really good. He knows his voice, and what he wants to do, but he's still somewhat undeveloped. If he stay with it, he will one day be considered one of the greats in stand-up comedy. Even if you didn't like his show, you should check out his special. I recommend it for any comedy fan.

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