Celebrity Big Brother’s Tom Green previews the ‘Survivor with Canadians’ experience

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Comedian Tom Green visits the SiriusXM studios on September 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Comedian Tom Green visits the SiriusXM studios on September 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) /

Always a professional in the face of overwhelming adversity, Tom Green exemplified peak Canadianism in Celebrity Big Brother, giving Survivor fans a tease.

Spoilers for Celebrity Big Brother season 2.

For the longest time, I had accepted the fact that I would never have the chance to compete on Survivor; a show I love and adore completely even at its worst. The simple fact of the matter was that it’s an American show and, as a Canadian, I would never have the opportunity to be cast with the likes of modern greats such as Malcolm Freberg, Andrea Boehlke, Adam Klein and Aubry Bracco.

However, something changed this past year. Through the grace of the Survivor gods, CBS teamed up with Global TV to help cast Canadians for the upcoming cycle. Though I did not apply (previous engagements prevent me this time around), it did make me hopeful to see Canadians represented in the greatest reality competition out there right now.

Thankfully, Canadians didn’t have to wait that long for one of our representatives to make their way to a CBS reality show. Ottawa native Tom Green just finished his stint with Celebrity Big Brother season 2, and he quickly captured the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere. His game, his persona and the way he carried himself is emblematic of the way future Canadians hope to represent ourselves in Survivor.

Tom Green is a pioneer of televised shock comedy but has refined his alt-comedy tastes with age (like fine wine). He entered the Celebrity Big Brother house as the weird one; not afraid to approach other contestants he barely knew by asking, “Would you like a sandwich?”, or asking a fellow houseguest in an awkward moment, “How are the grapes?” as they shoved them down to keep silent.

Those moments of dry, sarcastic wit to break the tension are tenets of dry Canadian humor, one that gently pokes at its targets with the expertise to do so in a manner that doesn’t turn the target against you. Although it didn’t help him escape the eviction block at the first Head of Household nomination ceremony, he did maintain some strong, deep relationships early, getting pulled off by Kato Kaelin.

It was when he had power in the game that showed Tom Green’s true Canadian spirit. He was always thinking about the next move to follow up the current move but treated his targets with kindness. Tom was always nice, courteous and willing to listen to others, even if it was to his detriment. He saw Celebrity Big Brother for what it was; a game. He never made things personal and often approached others to get their perspective.

Even though he might have overplayed and acted paranoid about his game, he still carried himself with grace and never wavered from his ideals. Even when he was being maligned by other players by being called a bully (by someone he called an American hero), yelled at and slandered, he often replied with a calm, hurt, introverted demeanor and was never keen to escalate an argument.

During his time in the game, Tom Green exemplified tenets that made up every great Canadian; politeness, a willingness to listen, passive-aggression in the face of oncoming aggression and not taking things too seriously. You would often see him go out of his way to try to make things right with those he wronged in the game.

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The key moments of him relishing the game for its entertainment factor were often by himself; making him look the fool or anything less than perfect. He endeared himself to Canadians and Americans alike with his silly antics such as becoming a giant osprey by flapping cereal boxes, dancing to basically any song in the MP3 player library or asking random questions about celebrities’ music interests.

Most importantly, despite decades of success from his local Rogers affiliate TV channel roots in comedy to his stand-up tour decades later, he still treats Canada with the reverence of a Canadian in Hollywood. We take great pride in letting others know about Canadians in related fields of discussion, and Tom was always quick to point out to Americans that we, too, can hang with the American crowd at every opportunity.

Tom Green was so beloved that despite being Canadian, he was voted America’s Favorite Player by the American voting public, receiving a $25,000 bonus. He showcased to the world the best parts of being Canadian through basic decency, elevating others, remaining respectful and having that weird edge that makes him stand out among the others.

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When I think of the field of Canadians that will be contacted during casting for the upcoming Survivor seasons, I can imagine that Jeff Probst et al. will be looking at the best representatives possible, no matter the location. If they can get Canadians as humble, honest, yet entertaining as Tom Green for season 39, they will have a home run on their hands.