“Yes, I was married to Drew Barrymore – it was a good four months,” said Tom Green when an audience member shouted out the name of his ex-wife during his stand-up comedy performance.
Green returned to his home town for the Algonquin College Commons Theatre Comedy Series on Jan 30. The theatre was nearly packed with college students and older fans to see a fellow Ottawan for a night of laughter.
“It has changed a lot around here. When I went to Algonquin back in the ‘90s it was just a couple of wooden barns – there was a shed, there was a tin roofed warehouse with some desks in it, but we made it work, you guys have done a good job with it,” said Green.
Green was born in Pembroke in 1971, his family moved to Ottawa soon after. He attended Algonquin and graduated the television broadcasting program in 1994.
Half an hour into the show, Green hit the stage. His act was mostly themed around how life was better before the time of social media and high-speed internet and he urged everyone to turn off their cell phones and live in the moment for the hour. He explained how cellphone addiction is becoming a serious problem.
“I already know you can feel it, the anxiety of not being on your phones,” he said.
The show began to ease into an interesting conversation about the world between the performer and the audience. At one point someone yelled out “Daddy would you like some sausage!”
“Yes, my movie Freddy Got Fingered, critics said it was the worst film ever made; they were just jealous that I made a movie and they didn’t,” he said.
He said that when he was a kid growing up in Ottawa, in a time with no cellphones or internet, he used to get so bored he would go inside ferns to kill time.
“Who here has been inside a fern?” he said. “That’s right, no one! Because you’re always on your phones!”
He recalled one time in a fern that he had heard someone scream that the president was shot and he jumped out the fern and starting yelling out in the streets what he heard.
“See, back then information traveled just as fast, I was in a fern and I heard that the president was shot, I didn’t need a notification on Facebook,” he said.
He discussed all of his accomplishments, from starting a show on MTV, being in Hollywood films, hosting The Late Show, hosting Saturday Night Live, traveling the world, and even visiting Australia.
“Who would have thought that some kid from Ottawa would get to go to Australia and hold a koala?” he said.
At the end of the show Green went back-stage to have a beer, take pictures and sign autographs with everyone who attended the show. He even took time to answer Times reporters’ questions, he was asked about his experiences at Algonquin.
“I learned how to shoot video, write video, record audio and edit video, I took all that and we started making crazy videos and used our ideas,” said Green. “We used all that technical know how to put our ideas on television and created The Tom Green Show.”
He said nobody would have ever let him do that show on any sensible television network in the ‘90s. The only way to do that was to convince them was by doing it, and the only way he could do it was to figure it out how. He decided to go to school and learn how to make videos.
“It was really cool, going to Algonquin changed my life,” said Green.
When asked about the rise of political correctness on college campuses, Green said he doesn’t care about any of that stuff. Green won’t change what he says on college campuses, because he doesn’t believe the things he says are inflammatory. Green thinks most people agree with him about what he’s discussing.
“Hopefully I can get college students thinking differently about the world, especially with my views on technology and social media,” he said.
Green said he is not trying to do some shocking show, he rather to have a fun conversation about the world. He thinks a lot of comedy right now is trying to say the worst thing possible, and that’s not what he was trying to do, political correctness doesn’t bother him.
Opening act Patrick Coppolino warmed up the crowd with his fast paced humour and his stories of being a father and his adventures in Alabama.