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Tom Green & Dennis Miller bring comic pain to Utah this weekend

Published December 6, 2012 2:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This weekend, three name-brand comedians — that is, entertainers who were more of a draw in the 1990s — will be performing Utah gigs.

But although none has been on the cover of Rolling Stone in a while, they haven't been completely out of the spotlight.Tonight and Saturday, Tom Green — who once was on the cover of the iconic rock magazine — will perform stand-up after spending five years interviewing celebrities on the well-received and well-rated "Tom Green's House Tonight," broadcast from the 41-year-old's living room.

Also on Saturday, former "Saturday Night Live" cast member and "Monday Night Football" commentator Dennis Miller will join Bill O'Reilly in a night of what's expected to be a lively conservative conversation. Miller, 59, has hosted a weekday three-hour talk radio program since 2007 and is a frequent guest on O'Reilly's TV show, as they share similar political philosophies.

Green was at the center of the zeitgeist in the early years of the millennium, when his Canadian local-cable sketch-comedy show was picked up by MTV and turned into "The Tom Green Show." A reality star before reality TV became the rage, Green was married briefly to Drew Barrymore and starred in films such as "Freddy Got Fingered" and "Road Trip." He was diagnosed with, and successfully treated for, testicular cancer, and then wrote, directed and starred in a one-hour MTV television special called "The Tom Green Cancer Special," his finest hour of cutting-edge humor.

In a phone interview, Green said that being a stand-up on tour through the world gives him a "great adrenaline rush," something that was sometimes missing on his Internet talk show. "I've been through some unique and interesting things over the last 15 years that give me a different perspective," he said, speaking from his kitchen on a land-line. "I definitely have a mix of people who knew me from before, and then there are stand-up fans. People come not knowing what to expect."

What fans can expect is the manic tone and energy that Green was noted for, coupled with a maturity and personality no longer stunt-driven.

Green's land-line is emblematic of one of his favorite subject matters. "Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to embrace Facebook, or reality TV," he said. "I'm much more skeptical about those things. Opening up your personal life isn't such a great thing."

Green was more communicative than the sarcastic Miller, who cut an interview short because he said he was busier than planes circling overhead at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

After griping when a question was repeated (after he side-stepped it the first time around), Miller said his and O'Reilly's appearance will feature a 35-minute Milller monologue, then a 35-minute O'Reilly monologue, capped by a final 35-minute stretch of the two having a conversation. "We seem to have a Mutt-and-Jeff relationship," Miller said.Miller didn't seem worried that the night of conservative talk would spark controversy or complaints from the audience. "Most people pay money to see things they would like to see," he said.As for the question he was asked twice, Miller said he is an optimist as for the future of our country, even after President Barack Obama's re-election. Then again, on the website for Miller's radio show (which recently had conservative firebrand Ann Coulter as a guest), a segment is captioned: "Dennis is pretty sure there's no way Republicans can get a worthwhile deal out of Obama."

For information on the shows, for Green go to wiseguyscomedy.com and for Miller, go to SmithsTix.com.