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Talking to Tom Green About His Absurdist Legacy, 'Freddy Got Fingered', and Andy Kaufman

For most of his career, Tom Green’s product could be summed up in one word: asinine. He was selling pure obnoxiousness, and satisfying that voice in our heads as we go through highscool, college and cubicle which asks — what would it be like if I never stopped acting like a nine-year-old?

Bizarely, though — and perhaps troublingly — Tom Green is not an idiot.

This notion is difficult to swallow, because what made Tom Green’s shtick funny was that, in concept, it was never more than shades away from being completely and genuinely pointless. In a pitch meeting, nothing he ever did would have been funny on paper. It was always so theoretically stupid that its comedy was transcendental by result of it’s actual existence. The pranks were never (with certain exceptions) quite severe enough to offer any real schadenfreude appeal. The absurdity was (with certain exceptions) never quite whimsical enough to offer the psychedelic flavor of the Brits. The real hilarity (if you found him funny) was in the scientific phenomenon of watching an immature, pathologically weird Canadian being absolutely himself. (And then watching other people be forced to deal with him.) In many ways, he was true punk-rock comedy, and the skateboarding and homemade theme songs all reflected that aesthetic.

But I had a long talk with Green, which suggested — almost to my disappointment, initially — that though this be madness yet there is method in it. Does he lose points for not actually being a profound numbskull? Or does he get extra points for proving that intelligent human beings are also allowed to act like a perpetual jackass, as long as they commit? READ MORE