Michael Thomas Green was born in Pembroke, Ontario on July 30, 1971 to parents Dick (a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces) and Mary Jane. For the first seven years of his life, the Green family moved often, as military families are wont to do. Changing schools on a regular basis, Tom cultivated a bizarre sense of humor to help ease his transitions. In 1978, the family settled in Gloucester, Ontario (an Ottawa suburb), where they still own their now-famous home. Here, Green met Derek Harvie, who would soon become his best friend, conspirator and writing partner.
While attending Gloucester's Colonel By Secondary School, Tom met and befriended Phil Giroux. On weekends, the two would abscond to Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in Ottawa to try their hands at stand-up. Green served on Colonel By's student council, using school assemblies to test new material.
After high school, Tom enrolled at Algonquin College in Ottawa, where he majored in Television Broadcasting. While at Algonquin, Green hosted a series of shows on the University of Ottawa's radio station, CHUO. It was here that he met a fellow DJ, Glenn Humplik, and the two became close friends. Tom began hosting "The Rap Show," in 1990 and quickly developed a dedicated audience. Three years later, he rechristened the show "The Midnight Caller," which still ranks as the station's most popular shows ever.
The Tom Green Show:
In September 1994, the first episode of "The Tom Green Show" (TGS) aired on Rogers 22, a public access cable channel in Ottawa. TGS featured the buffoonery of Green, Giroux ("The Man in the Window"), Humplik and sometimes Harvie (who was attending school in Toronto during its run). The shows ran for an hour without commercial breaks, and were later rebroadcast in other Rogers Cable markets throughout Ontario. These early shows relied heavily on pretaped segments (many of which are rather famous), often featuring Green's running themes of harassing his parents, spreading foodstuffs on himself and skateboarding. All of these themes would resurface in later incarnations of Tom's shows. In all, over 50 shows were filmed between 1994 and 1997, many of which are available in bootleg form on EBay and/or your favorite file-sharing programs. Among the show highlights: "Follow the Porn," Tom painting his parents' house plaid, and "Pineapple Pals feat. Jean Chrétien"
Word quickly spread about the lanky freak who was creating a huge fanbase through, of all things, a public access show. In 1996, Tom was called upon by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to film a one-hour pilot. The show aired once on Hallowe'en Day 1996 without any promotion, and was never picked up. The CBC didn't know what exactly they had. The show itself is classic Green: Tom goes skateboarding with his musical guests, fills his parents' house with livestock, interviews SCTV's Joe Flaherty and harasses then-MuchMusic VJ Monika Deol.
The CBC may have passed on TGS, but a year later Canada's Comedy Network approached Tom about producing and airing new episodes of "The Tom Green Show." Now Green had a budget and a national audience, and it showed. The production quality of the episodes drastically improved, with better film stock, sharper graphics and better material. TGS ran on Comedy for two years, compiling a run of 26 episodes. Some of the best material included: the recurring cop drama send-up "NYPD Green", Scuba Hood, Hockey Guy, harassing Alex Trebek and serenading Pierce Brosnan.
By late 1998, Tom was attracting international attention, namely the folks at MTV. Once again, TGS was ported to a new network with an even wider audience (but a shorter, half-hour format). Tom Green immediately connected with American teens (as well as those who watched the various international incarnations of MTV). Some of the best bits from the Comedy episodes (and even a segment or two from the Rogers 22 days) were gladly recycled for the MTV shows. Capitalizing on Green's popularity, MTV released several TGS compilations on VHS and DVD in 1999. Some of the highlights of the MTV shows include: painting the hood of Dick and Mary Jane's car with a lesbian porn scene and the Monica Lewinsky special.
It can be argued that the two years on Comedy were the pinnacle of TGS. Canadian television standards are more lenient towards "adult" content (and advertisers are less powerful), meaning that Green had more leeway with what could be done or said on-air. Many of the stunts just wouldn't fly on American TV: sucking on the teats of a cow, "Racky the Raccoon", various bits involving urine and semen, for example.
By the end of his run on MTV, Green had parlayed his fame into promotional deals hawking Pepsi One and Right Guard Xtreme deodorant.
Music has always played a significant role in Tom Green's comedy. Before TGS ever saw the light of day, Tom was recognized by millions of Canadian teens as MC Bones, a member of the hip-hop group Organized Rhyme. OR formed in 1990, with Green/Bones rapping alongside fellow-Colonel By alum Greg Campbell (MC Pin) and Geordie Ferguson (DJ Signal). The trio released one album, "Huh!? Stiffenin Against the Wall," and was nominated for a Juno award (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy). The group split up in 1993 due to artistic differences.
When TGS began airing on Rogers 22, the show featured both Green's original compositions (the theme song, "The Mom Song," "12 Oz. Coffee Cup") and performances from Ottawa-area bands. This tradition carried through the later incarnations of the show.
Green returned to his rapping roots as the masked MC Face (although he denies they are the same person). Face released the now-rare CD "Not The Tom Green Show" in 1997.
Likely Tom's most famous song is the classic "The Bum Bum Song (Lonely Swedish)". Green filmed a video for the song, featuring him dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform, a daisy costume and a superhero costume and cape (later borrowed by Eminem). He... um, put his bum on things. The video became a hit with his legions of teenaged fans, who launched it into the top position on MTV's Total Request Live. Seeing the problem with having to air something like "The Bum Bum Song" every day for two months, MTV's programmers "retired" the video after a week, setting a record for the quickest retirement.
During the "Tom Green Cancer Special," Tom debuted "Feel Your Balls," an acoustic song touting self-examination to prevent testicular cancer ("while masturbating or while not masturbating").
The Big C:
On March 9, 2000, Tom was diagnosed with a tumor in his right testicle. Within days, Tom was back at the hospital mostly for potentially-lifesaving surgery to remove the cancerous gonad, but also to film footage for the "Tom Green Cancer Special," an hour-long "very special" episode of his show documenting his ordeal. The operation -- as well as a subsequent operation to remove nearby lymph nodes to prevent the spread of his cancer -- was deemed successful. The Cancer Special was sheer morbid brilliance, with Tom ricocheting between earnest fear and his well-cultured stupidity. Everyone else featured in the show, including Humplik, his parents and then-girlfriend Drew Barrymore (see below) seemed very, very awkward about the situation. Even the venerable Time magazine named the program to its "Best Television 2000" list.
Green used the Cancer Special to launch his cancer charity, "Tom Green Nuts Cancer Fund." The fund was active for two years, and was closed in June 2002 after raising its goal of $10,000 for cancer research.
A few months of genital humor was too much for even Green, it seems. At the 2000 MTV Movie Awards, MTV pressured him to make jokes about his missing testicle before presenting an award. Instead, he brought a coffee maker onstage, and tried to lead the crowd in a rousing chant of "COFFEE! MACHINE!"
The Silver Screen:
During his treatment, Green's show went on extended hiatus. The show was coming close to ending its run, because Green was starting to parlay his cult-figure status into Hollywood stardom. By 1998, Tom Green already had appeared in two Canadian independent films: "Clutch" and "The Chicken Tree". He then landed a bit part in the ill-conceived Molly Shannon vehicle, "Superstar". It wasn't until the college comedy "Road Trip", however, that Green gained widespread notoriety (mostly by having a rodent defecate in his mouth).
In November 1999, Green began dating actress Drew Barrymore, after she found him a small role in her blockbuster "Charlie's Angels." Green appeared as Chad, the tugboat captain who wins the heart of Drew's character. The couple married in July 2001, but only after a few wedding hoaxes, including an aborted wedding ceremony during Green's appearance on Saturday Night Live. The couple divorced six months later, shortly after their house burned down. (Thus, Green's character will not be reprised in the Summer 2003 Angels sequel.)
2001 was not a good year for Tom Green. In addition to his divorce, Green released the excerable "Freddy Got Fingered" (which he starred in, wrote and directed). How bad was it? Entertainment Weekly gave it an F. Ebert and Roeper gave it "two thumbs down." USA Today named it the worst film of 2001. The film captured a Madonna-esque five Razzies, for Worst Film, Worst Actor (Tom Green), Worst Screen Couple (Tom Green & Any Animal He Abuses), Worst Director (Green again) and Worst Screenplay (shared between Green and co-writer Derek Harvie). Oddly enough, Green showed up to collect his "awards", only the second-ever honoree to do so.
Green returned somewhat to form in the 2002 Jason Lee film "Stealing Harvard". The film, though widely-panned, helped reaffirm the usefulness of casting Tom Green as the "kooky friend."
Three Steps Back:
In March 2002, Green returned to television with the Subway Monkey Hour, which aired on MTV in March 2002. Green, in search of fresh territory, brought his man-on-the-street act to Japan, where reactions ranged from polite bemusement to polite apathy to polite intolerance. More recently, Tom voiced a character on Clone High, a show that airs on MTV.
A few months later, Green's "The Skateboard Show" aired on the WB. The show combined clips of professional skaters (including Tony Hawk, Jason Ellis and, on occasion, Green) in action with comedy bits centered on, you guessed it, skateboarding. Green has been skating for most of his life, and several episodes of TGS featured skating segments. The same year that "The Skateboard Show" aired, Green travelled and performed with Hawk's demonstration team, called "Birdhouse," even suffering a broken thumb at one show.
In early June 2003, MTV and Green confirmed reports of TGS's return to the network. "The New Tom Green Show" begins airing on June 16, and will air four nights a week at midnight EST. The show looks to be a slight departure from previous incarnations of TGS, concentrating more on interviews with celebrity guests and in-studio bits, and less on pre-taped remote segments. Humplik will co-host, but the involvement of either Harvie or Giroux has yet to be confirmed.
Tom Green is a guilty, hazardous-to-the-health pleasure, much like Easy Cheese, WWF SmackDown!, and casseroles topped with crushed potato chips. A random white Canadian guy, Green made a TV career for himself by playing pranks on unsuspecting citizens and embarrassing himself in public. What is amazing is that he got paid to do this for several years on MTV, until the ADD generation got tired of his antics. -- Noy Thrupkaew, The American Prospect Online, 3/29/02
Stealing Harvard (2002) Walter 'Duff' Duffy
Freddy Got Fingered (2001) Gord Brody
Charlie's Angels (2000) Chad
Road Trip (2000) Barry
Superstar (1999) Dylan Schmultz-Plutzker
The Chicken Tree (1998) Bus Driver
Clutch (1998) Computer Gimp
the tom green machine - http://www.fu-manchu.com/tomgreen/
E! Online News: MTV's Tom Green Battling Cancer - http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,6199,00.html
Tom Green Official Site - http://www.sonypictures.com/hosting/tomgreen/
Time.com: Best Television 2000 - http://www.time.com/time/sampler/article/0,8599,91441,00.html
Razzies.com - http://www.razzies.com/asp/content/XcNewsPlus.asp?cmd=view&articleid=66
IMDb.com: Tom Green (III) - http://us.imdb.com/Name?Green,%20Tom%20(III)
TAP Web Feature: Tom Green's Defeat - http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2002/03/thrupkaew-n-03-29.html
TeenPeople.com: Green Giant - www.teenpeople.com/teenpeople/stars/spotlight/ story/0,8102,105880,00.html (only available through Google's cache, unless you subscribe to People or Teen People)