Every now and then I like to mix up the type of shows I attend.

Sometimes I surprise myself with my choices of what to see, what to review… one occasion was seeing The Shaolin Monks perform a martial arts show at Luna Park- another was seeing The Waifs at the Metro- another was Tripod’s Christmas Special in the Speigletent. Every now and then I like to break out of traditional theatre, new writing and Australian writing and peek into another world.

I’m interested in the idea of a cult following- for those films that are considered to be critical failures but that have an army of dedicated fans… examples include Office Space, Evil Dead, Heathers etc. The fans (who are also the general public- although not the mainstream General public) are ultimately the tastemakers- the power is in the hands of the people (democratic entertainment?) The position of the reviewer/scholar is in question (perhaps threatenend?) by this. Regardless of the artistic, cultural or social worth- there are fans. Fans who are passionate and interested and dedicated to the content, the creators, the personas or the delivery. It means that failure can be success… and perhaps this is what some funding bodies know as audience development. Perhaps everything has its place and it’s audience- perhaps nothing can be a “failure”?

Tom Green’s film “Freddy Got Fingered” is as far away from my usual topics of conversation/ commentary as I can get- it’s an American film made (written and directed) by it’s star- who had enjoyed success on MTV. Now 9 years on (and in his late 30’s), Green is no longer the skateboarding man-boy who is obsessively spurting ejacualtory catchphrases (or elephant ejaculate) over his audiences. He’s still energetic, he’s still passionate and daring. But he’s also wiser from his world experience.

Green belongs to a tradition of loser comedy. And this review is largely about audiences- fans… because really- it was their behaviour (heckling) which really impacted on my understanding/reading of the performance. Green has created a monster- a rambunctious crowd of “bogans” who embrace their own banality in a loud and public way- and have no qualms about demanding more of what they all ready know.

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When the name Tom Green pops up in conversation- it is usually in conversations had by those who have seen the 2001 film Freddy Got Fingered. Some loved its rant laced plotline of a loser which combined gore and skating. Some hated the childish sausage song, the violent stunts, or the wearing of a dead deer carcass. Some may know him for his rapping or his MTV show The Tom Green Show. Some know him as the Canadian that was married to Drew Barrymore for a short stint- or perhaps the comic with only on testicle. And now, since the beginning of the year, some will know him as a stand up comic as he makes his way around the world, on tour.

On tour, Tom Green is supported by comedian Shawn Hal-pin- a comedian from Texas whose comedic currency is hitting all points on a teenage boy’s funny bone: sex, drinking, vomiting (and occasionally combining all three). Hal-pin has built his career on this comedic triumvirate and delivers it confidently to a room full of Tom Green fans/hecklers. He is the embodiment of this teenage preoccupation. He is “fat, broke and single” and it’s fairly clear who he thinks his audience is – and it certainly isn’t a sober woman.

Outside the Enmore theatre it’s pretty clear who his fan base is- guys in black hoodies and skater shoes. And inside the Enmore- you can hear them too- they don’t hold back and they have no problem asking for what they want. And what they want is Tom Green – Tom Green impersonating himself in Freddy Got Fingered… ad nauseum.

At one stage during the show Green indulges them in some sound bites from the film- and a collage of his works until now are replayed like a jukebox of his former successes (or failures depending on who you are.) And he caps them off with a song called Crack Baby- and in response to further heckling- he says “we could do this all night, but I have some other things I want to talk about.”

And what he has to talk about is pretty fascinating. It talks of a frustration with the world which is obsessed with developing technology. It talks about a nostalgia for a childhood without Facebook, without mobile phones, without texting, without 400 TV channels (399 of which are crap). It talks of how it feels to be divorced after five months of marriage to Drew Barrymore… and feeling like the world hates you for it. It talks of the joy of being alone- and of a simple world that has been abandoned in favour of instant gratification and banality. Tom Green’s observations are funny because of their tragedy. It’s stinging social commentary- and it’s funny coz it’s true.

Unfortunately some in the audience, won’t be able to reach beyond the toilet humour. Some won’t want Tom Green to be anything more than a bouffant clown, a gawky, hot tempered, bug-eyed ranting maniac- they aren’t ready for it. They want backflips, smashed guitars, slobbering mimicry and wince worthy stunts where the loser wins because he’s fearless to society. They want to see the video game playing, masturbating nerd to get the girl. They want the stunts to continue because it means their youth, and youth culture continues.

My hope is that Tom Green fans grow with him… they will listen to the lessons amid the larrikinism.