Tom Green is a popular comedian originally from Ottawa. (Photo by Neil Visel)
Tom Green became a mega-star for his boundary-stretching style of comedy. However, he remains a humble, friendly Canadian – and a hockey-loving Canadian – through and through.
Growing up in Ottawa, Green played competitive hockey from age four through 17. And although his efforts in the entertainment industry – which now includes a successful tour as a stand-up comedian – have taken him to all corners of the globe, he stays connected to the game any way he can.
One of those connections will be on display Thursday night, when Green plays a benefit stand-up show in Ottawa to benefit Rene Faucher, a childhood friend who suffered severe spinal trauma in a 2009 pickup hockey game.
“It’s going to be an important show,” Green said en route to the benefit for his friend, who can also be supported by donating at www.faucherdouglastrustfund.com. “It’s in my hometown and it’s for someone I care about, so I’m really hoping we get as good a crowd out as we’ve gotten all through the tour.”
The 39-year-old Green has lived in Los Angeles – not exactly a hockey hotbed – for more than a decade. And given that his standup world tour already has seen him play 200 shows in places like the United Kingdom and Australia, he doesn’t have a ton of time to stay completely up to date on all hockey-related matters.
“It is hard to stay a hockey fan in L.A., because nobody is really ever talking about the sport there,” said Green, who initially rose to international prominence via The Tom Green Show, his smash hit series for MTV. “And I’ve been on the road doing standup all year and it’s kind of hard to stay on a regular schedule back home, so I haven’t seen much of anything on TV, sports or otherwise.”
That said, Green occasionally has made it out to NHL games and regularly played an off-shoot of the sport with another famous Canadian expatriate in L.A.
“I played in a roller hockey league for a while with my friend Harland Williams and that was fun,” said Green, who has added podcasts to his popular website.
Green’s travels for his current standup tour brought him together with a certain NHL team – and their enforcer, who has become a legend on Twitter and THN.com blogger – this year.
“I was playing in Nashville and I ran into the Phoenix Coyotes in a bar and they invited me to their game,” said Green, who has a popular Twitter account of his own. “Then I saw (the Coyotes) again in Phoenix and I’ve hung out with them a few times. I really like the whole team.
“They’re great – especially Paul Bissonnette; I like him a lot. He’s very funny and I follow him on Twitter. He’s one of my favorites.”
In addition, Green is extending his brand into the NHL through the phrase “unleash the fury” – his famous line from the classic comedy movie Road Trip that the Washington Capitals have been using on their JumboTron to pump up crowds for years.
Now, though, the Caps don’t use the clip from the film – they use a custom-made version that features Green wearing a Washington jersey.
“I enjoyed doing that for the Capitals,” Green said of the video – a form of which also is used by the Atlanta Thrashers for the same purpose. “I’m hoping to get more involved with the NHL this year, through my web show and my tour. I’m always in hockey towns and I think I could do some fun videos for other teams and cities.”
Green is just finishing up Year 1 of his standup tour – which continues across Canada’s East Coast through the end of November – and feels he is scratching the surface of an art form he adored as a kid.
“I’ve really become excited about this new chapter in my life,” said Green, who idolized the standup acts of Williams and fellow Canadian comic Norm MacDonald in his youth. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I did it when I was a teenager, but I never really had the chance to tour as a standup. I’ll be doing it all year next year – and the first year was all about letting people know I’m serious about this craft and I’ve been having great shows.”
So, does he have any good one-liners an enforcer like Bissonnette could use on the ice?
“I’m sure Paul’s got the on-ice trash talk down pat,” he said. “He doesn’t need my help.”
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Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. Power Rankings appear Wednesdays, his blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.
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