Tom Green’s AMA on Reddit reveals the origins of planking, truth about parent pranks

By | October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | No comments | feature slider, News, TV/Movies | Tags:

Tom Green was one of the silliest men working in television during the late 90s. Starting on a public access station in Canada, Green found mainstream success when his public access variety show was bought by The Comedy Network in 1997 before moving to the American MTV station in 1999. From there, his sometimes sick and often hilarious pranks gained a cult following of fans who enjoyed his unique brand of shock comedy. Critics tend to downgrade him as nothing more than a guy with an arsenal of fart jokes and scatalogical humour. However, those who love him really love him, whether for “The Bum Bum Song,” his Razzie Award-winning movie Freddie Got Fingered, or just for having been married to Drew Barrymore. Recently, Green made his return to television after a five-year stint hosting an online talk show from his own living room in Hollywood called Tom Green’s House Tonight. His new show, Tom Green Live, can be see on Thursday nights on AXS TV. He did an AMA (that’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ for people out there who do not spend most of their free time sharing pictures of kittens) last week and shared some fun tidbits with his fans!

Tom Green started as a stand-up comic when he was 15!
Although Netflix users are well aware of Green’s stand-up comedy chops, with his hilarious special Tom Green Live availble for online streaming there, many tend to forget that before the pranks and before the movie roles, he was just a teenager growing up in Ottawa performing stand-up comedy at the local Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. The star has gained new fans who find his latest stand-up special every day on Netflix. One fan asked why he started doing stand-up after doing years of television, to which he responds, “I’ve been doing stand up!” Although the stand-up was on and off while working on his television and film projects, he has been touring for the last 5 years. If you want to see more current sets of his, he makes them readily available on his YouTube page.

Remember when Jesse James Dupree took a chainsaw to Tom’s desk?
Back during the days of The Tom Green Show, Jackyl lead guitarist Jesse James Dupree came out on the show with a chainsaw and carved ‘Tom’ into the host’s desk (and even cut off a corner to toss into the studio audience). One redditor asked if the event was staged and if he was actually really pissed at the rocker. “The tricky part about answering this, is that it is a bit of both,” the Canadian comic responds. “It was totally not set up…I was mad that he wrecked my desk, but I was happy that he gave me an excuse to get mad at my guest on the show.” Throughout the five-minute segment, Green proceeds to make fun of Dupree and asks him about his “rinky dink” new show that he was there to promote. But to those thinking the two planned the Canadian Chainsaw Massacre, you’ll be pleased to know that the prankster was genuinely shocked and annoyed, making for a great television moment. Here’s the video for those unfamiliar with the stunt.

Yes, his parents were actually pissed off.
Ever since the beginning of The Tom Green Show on Ottawa’s public access station, Green would regularly play pranks on unsuspecting people. Many of these stunts were directed at his parents. Not having that format played out by Ashton Kutcher’s minions yet, the reactions were quite extreme since no one was expecting a hidden camera show. “My parents were never informed of anything…They were just living their lives and we would show up and prank them.” When one fan recalls stunts such as Green painting a lesbian scene on his father’s car, he assures that his father was less than pleased about it. Many times he has to remind redditors that his parents were never “in on it” and that their lives were a living hell full of outstandingly inconvenient surprises.

Tom Green invented planking.
As one of his hidden-camera stunts, Tom Green laid flat on a street sidewalk while pedestrians stared and wondered what he was doing. Before there were 16-year olds on Tumblr planking (and Tebowing and Owling), there was a silly Canadian man lying flat on his stomach. A true pioneer. A user named Chuemdee asked, “So how many royalties did you receive for creating planking?” The Freddie Got Fingered star revealed, “Zip, zero, nada.”

He still skateboards, just now he does it with other old skateboarders.
On the premiere episode of his new talk show on AXS, Tom Green Live, he hit the ramps with pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. Although both men are now in their 40s, they still know how to catch some air! However, he does not do tricks anymore. “Too old to get hurt. I like cruising around on the board with style.”

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Several fans asked about his feelings on other pranks shows such as Jackass and Punk’d in a genre of show that has been repackaged and repeated over and over in recent years. Green’s show was one of the original shock value hidden camera shows to come out of the 90s and the star doesn’t seem to mind when others lift similar ideas from him. “There is room for everyone to do what they want or be inspired. I was inspired by David Letterman, Candid Camera, and Saturday Night Live. I try to move forward and not worry too much when I see somebody doing one of my bits. I take it as a compliment.”

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About the Author

Billy Procida

Billy is a stand-up comedian in New York City. Every week he sits down with a chick he's hooked up with to talk about sex, dating, and sexuality on The Manwhore Podcast: A Sex-Positive Quest for Love. Follow Billy on Twitter: @TheBillyProcida