Meanwhile in Canada is an ongoing series of articles that feature Canadian fandom that is otherwise unknown to people outside the Great White North. This time, we look at the boundary-pushing surrealist Canadian comic, Tom Green.
Canada is known for a lot of things: Moose, winter, hockey, annoying pop music, and of course, comedy.
Lots of talented and hilarious comedians from Canada have made it big south of the border – Norm MacDonald, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd, and the list goes on. Today on Meanwhile in Canada we’re going to take a look at comedian Tom Green. I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t Meanwhile in Canada supposed to be about Canadian things we don’t know about? We already know Tom Green!” I agree! It’s not hard to forget the guy. He was on MTV. He was once married to Drew Barrymore. He’s still out there grinding away with his various web-based projects and has returned to his stand-up comedy roots. The guy is a machine. So what am I here to talk about?
Here’s the thing, boys and girls, before he got his big break on American television in the early 2000s, Tom Green was active in Canada for nearly a decade prior to that. As such, he’s done some crazy things that you may not be aware of. Here are five of them:
Advanced Warning: Some videos linked here might be gross. Watch at your own risk.
#5 – We Named a Beer After Him
Canadians love beer. It’s insane how much we love beer. We love beer as much as Americans love… Guns?… Baby Jesus?… Watergate?… Well, whatever it is you people down there like.
Given how much we love beer, does it come to any surprise that we would name a beer after one of our greatest celebrities? Unfortunately, Michael J. Fox didn’t think so, so we named a beer after Tom Green instead. That’s right, Beau’s All-Natural Brewery, located just outside of Tom’s hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, brews its very own Tom Green brand beer.
Now, I can understand that people might not be so trusting of a beer named after a guy who got famous for putting gross things in his mouth. I get it. Really, I do. What could this beer possibly taste like? Well, since I can literally go down the street from my house and buy some let me tell you: it tastes delicious. It’s a milk stout with hints of chocolate and coffee.
Do you want to try the Tom Green beer? You’re going to have to drive up to Ottawa to get it. Which actually might be a cool vacation idea because 2017 is Canada’s 150th Anniversary and we’re going to have a big party leading up to July 1st (Canada Day).
#4 – Tom Was a Hip Hop Artist
When you think about Tom Green and music, you might recall the song “Lonely Swedish” which he produced for MTV.
But he was also a hip hop artist back in the day. And he was pretty good at it too. In the early ’90s, he was part of a group called Organized Rhyme. By 1992, the group released an album titled Huh!? Stiffenin’ Against the Wall. It featured a song called “Check the O.R.” which became an instant hit in Canada. It aired on Much Music all the time. Much Music was Canada’s answer to MTV at the time, and since we now have MTV in Canada, Much Music has moved on to doing more important things than play music videos, like play old South Park re-runs.
But back in 1992, “Check the O.R.” got so much play it won a Much Music Video Award for best rap video. Which is like, the Canadian version of a Teen Choice Award, but hey guys, credit where credit is due.
So just how great was this song? Check the O.R. yourself:
#3 – He Regularly Harassed the Prime Minister of Canada
One of the highest positions of power in Canada is that of Prime Minister. You’d figure that, like the President down south, it would mean all sorts of restricted access, Secret Service Agents, and other security measures preventing even the most innocuous person from getting face time with the guy. In Canada, even in a post-9/11 world, it’s really easy to get face time with the Prime Minister of Canada, because, most of the time, the guy in charge likes getting out there.
But let’s turn the clock back about 20 years when the guy in charge of Canada was a gentleman by the name of Jean Cretién. Cretién was just as publicly accessible, but he wasn’t as nice or photogenic as Justin Trudeau. In fact, Jean Cretién kind of looked like a real life Dr. Claw action figure.
Also, Jean Cretién wasn’t just some weak-ass politician. If people got in his way, he moved them himself. If you ever hear a Canadian talk about the “Shawinigan Handshake” they’re referring to this:
*Note: this video is region locked and is unavailable in the US.
As an aside, we also named a beer after this moment in Canadian political history. Like I said, we love our beer.
I know this is a lot of exposition right now but bare with me. You see, the Prime Minister of Canada typically lives at a residence located at 24 Sussex Drive. The residence is easy for the public to get to, and in those pre-9/11 days, there wasn’t much by way of security. I guess that’s because nobody in Canada really gets mad enough at the Prime Minister to want to hurt them. Still, someone tried in 1995, and Jean Cretién had nothing to protect himself with but an Inuit stone carving of a loon because, Canada.
Okay, so what does all this have to do with Tom Green harassing the Prime Minister of Canada? Well, Tom did a lot of his stunts for the Canadian version of The Tom Green Show which was filmed in Ottawa from 1994 to 1998. This was during the period when all of the above happened. That didn’t stop Tom from showing up at 24 Sussex Drive to ask the Prime Minister if he wanted to become “Pineapple Pals”.
#2 He Once Drove His Entire Audience Home on a City Bus
Some older readers might remember the episode of Tom Green’s show on MTV in which he sprays some people sitting in the front row with a weed sprayer and then offers to drive them home. The rest of the episode was Tom and his crew driving this audience home in a short school bus. When they arrived at every home, Tom and his pals tried to come inside where they attempted various antics, including trying to take a shower. Often they overstayed their welcome and had to deal with what I would call trademark angry American.
If there is one major difference between Tom Green playing his pranks in Canada and the United States it was this: at least in Canada people had a sense of humor. Case in point, that bus gag was actually recycled from the similar bit that Tom did on his show in Canada. However, in the original version of this prank, Tom hosed down the entire audience with a pressure washer and then drove everyone home on a city bus.
I wish I could show you a comparison between the two different episodes, but unfortunately, MTV has taken every copy of the Tom Green show they produced and dumped them into a deep yawning abyss and cannot be found anywhere. I did find this small clip from the Canadian episode though:
#1 – The Raccoon Incident
Hey! Remember that Warning I gave at the start of the Article? I was talking about this!
Canadian’s also love raccoons. We even had a cartoon about them once. So it’s no surprise that Tom Green decided to incorporate one into his show. There was one problem: The raccoon was very, very dead. He once used it for a contest, offering an audience member a free cruise if they could remove a cell phone from inside the raccoon.
Like all good things, the raccoon thing had to come to an end and Racky the Raccoon did his final swan song during a segment where Tom attempted to do that old magic trick where you saw a lady in half. Before a live studio audience, Tom then attempted to saw the raccoon in half with a chainsaw. I’m not even going to link that here, but if you want to see it for yourself, then you can check out the original Tom Green Show on DVD.
Meanwhile in Canada is an ongoing series of articles that feature Canadian fandom that is otherwise unknown to people in general. Check out more articles from this series here.