Tom Green talks about what sets Canadian comics apart and his new show on Prime Video

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Tom Green believes there is a big difference between Canadian and American comedy.

The comedian and former star of ‘The Tom Green Show’ says Canadians aren’t afraid to act, look or even be stupid, and that concept stands in stark contrast to our neighbors to the south.

“In Canada, we have a more silly, heartfelt, less angry side to our comedy,” Green said in an interview. “I think there’s a bit more of a rough edge to American comedy. My problem with comedy these days, honestly, is that it’s almost about people getting on stage and complaining about the world.

“When it comes to Canadian comedy, I think we’re less concerned with trying to look cool. Definitely my comedy, I never tried to look cool,” he said.

Green is one of the stars of “LOL: Last One Laughing Canada,” a spinoff of an international franchise from Amazon Studios in which 10 of Canada’s top comedians come together for six hours to try to make each other laugh. Whoever lasts the longest without cracking walks away with lifetime bragging rights and a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Green is part of what executive producer Erin Brock calls “the dream cast.”

“It was 100% what we wanted,” she said in an interview. “Obviously we had other ideas if we didn’t get everyone, but it was still the dream combination.”

Besides Green, contestants include “Kids in the Hall” member Dave Foley, “Kim’s Convenience” star Andrew Phung, improv legend Colin Mochrie, Caroline Rhea (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”), Debra DiGiovanni (“Humour Resources”), Mae Martin (“Feel Good”), viral YouTuber Jon Lajoie, newcomer Brandon Ash-Mohammed and “Letterkenny” mainstay K. Trevor Wilson. Actor and comedian Jay Baruchel hosts.

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Green said the decision to join the show was a no-brainer.

“They called me and asked me to do it and I just said yes. Simple as that.”

The actor and filmmaker might have an edge given his experience with reality competition. Green was a contestant on “Celebrity Big Brother” in which, despite being Canadian, he was voted America’s favorite guest. He also participated in “The Celebrity Apprentice” with former US President Donald Trump. But for what it’s worth, he says, “Last One Laughing” is incomparable to its previous runs in reality.

“It doesn’t feel like reality TV as much as it does an improv comedy show. We are all actors and we all play. We try to make ourselves laugh and not laugh. Whereas in “Big Brother”, it’s more about putting a group of people in a room and leaving them there for an extended period of time so that people get irritable and argue.

Brock, whose credits include “Canadian Idol”, “American Beauty Star”, “Canada Sings!” and “Big Brother Canada,” said she was surprised that the show – which was developed in Japan with versions in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, India and Brazil – only now coming to Canada.

“What makes a great show is something you can explain in one sentence: professional comedians in a house where the last to laugh earns money for their charity,” Brock said. “I don’t know why Canadians hadn’t thought of that before, but we’re all hitting each other now.”

For Green, “SCTV” and “Kids in the Hall” were among his favorite Canadian comedy shows for their “outrageous” and “goofy” bits.

The Pembroke, Ont., native said his country’s legacy of producing outstanding silly comedians like Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Candy and Martin Short speaks for itself, but the outrageousness that transformed its influences in household names has disappeared in recent years.

“I sometimes feel like a lot of this kind of silly nonsense isn’t as common as when I was growing up and starting to do stand-up.”

This “dumb nonsense” is something the comedian hopes will help him on “LOL: Last One Laughing Canada.”

For all candidates, the key requirement is finding techniques to avoid laughing – or even smiling.

Jay Baruchel hosts the Canadian version of the international hit comedy series LOL: Last One Laughing. The six-part competition series pits 10 of the world’s top comedic talents against each other in a showdown, where anything can happen. With Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), Debra DiGiovanni (Humour Resources), Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), Jon Lajoie (The League), Tom Green (Road Trip, The Tom Green Show), Mae Martin (Feel Alright), Colin Mochrie (Who Owns It Anyway?), Brandon Ash-Mohammed (TallBoyz), Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience), and K. Trevor Wilson (Letterkenny).

“This show had an entire truckload dedicated to what we call ‘laugh watchers,'” Brock said. “Each comic had a producer watching them all the time. As soon as they saw a laugh, they raised their hands. Then we looked at it before Jay pressed the button (to indicate an infraction). “

Brock said there was also a plan in place in case no one smiled on the day of filming.

“We had challenges and things we could do.”

K. Trevor Wilson prepared techniques that included inverting his lips and even chewing on them to make sure he didn’t break, but he also received some sad news just before filming began.

“When this show came across my desk, I almost turned it down because my dad was in the hospital with cancer. He sadly passed away two weeks after the show ended,” Wilson said in an interview.

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But the Toronto native said it was cathartic to be with the cast.

“I went into the show thinking I wasn’t going to laugh just because I wasn’t in the headspace of comedy. I just needed to do something to get rid of what was going on. was going on,” he said. “It gave me a moment to recognize that despite everything that was wrong, I was really lucky to be at a point where people thought my name belonged to their names.”

Green said he gritted his teeth at various times during the filming day, but it was mostly to remind himself that he was in a game.

“I started thinking, ‘Maybe if I can just knock some people off, that’ll be another way to be here longer. “”

The hardest part was not laughing at your own material.

“When you’re doing stand-up, sometimes you want to deliver something in a very deadpan way, even though you know it’s hilarious. Sometimes you even laugh at your own jokes because that can be effective too, but sometimes it can also blow up the joke.

One of the highlights of the show is Green’s love of cheese sandwiches, both for eating and for making contestants laugh.

“First, I make a grilled cheese sandwich. I butter the outside of the bread then I fry it. But going back to an early age, I always found that certain words had a funny cadence, alliteration and rhythm. I love saying ‘cheese sandwich’ too much because it’s always been funny to me.

Green says the simplicity of the sandwich jokes is also the reason the show will be a hit.

“It’s a respite from the politics and division that we have in our society. A respite to discuss vaccines and mask mandates. Let’s sit and watch people laugh and throw cheese sandwiches at each other.

Listen, listen Tom.

“LOL: Last One Laughing Canada” is streaming now on Prime Video.

Murtz Jaffer is a Toronto-based entertainment writer and freelance contributor for The Star. Follow him on Twitter: @murtzjaffer

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