What I Learned from Comedian Tom Green at Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, Texas

Image of Calvin Keeney with his two brothers at Cap City Comedy Club waiting to see comedian Tom Green

My brothers and I saw Tom Green a few weeks ago. He came to Cap City Comedy club here in Austin, Texas and we had a blast watching him live.

We had front row seats to the show and Tom even talked to my two brothers as part of his act. It was hilarious! He made a funny joke about my older brother being an engineer. Then later in the show he ripped my younger brother for being a millennial. Tom asked my brother Drew if he knew what the ground looked like. Then reminded him that the ground is what exists beneath your cell phone when you are walking.

Drew had a good laugh about it and was a great assistant to the comedian. My little brother is not on his phone much at all compared to a lot of people (young and older). But he was nice and made the gig funny by participating.

What I Learned From Tom Green Seeing Him Live in Austin, Texas

I love learning from others. Particularly people that are at the top of their industry. Tom Green has been one of the top comedians that I’ve known for decades now. I was honored to get to learn from him up close and person.

Here are some big takeaways I got from Tom along with some skills I plan to implement in my life as a pickleball coach.

A flyer outside of Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, Texas for Tom Green. It mentions "Showtimes Sunday - Thursday 8pm. Friday and Saturday 7:30pm and 10pm"

1. Excitement is Contagious!!


The crowd roared the word “sandwhich” in unison during one of Tom’s filler jokes. It was amazing to see.

That night I wondered how many people in this entire world could get a group of people to chant chicken sandwhich back and forth. It wasn’t many.

I remembered being a resident assistant and finding excitement to be a key ingredient to motivate others to live healthier lives. Tom was able to remind me of the importance of genuine excitement and just how infectious it can be.

2. Never Stop Experimenting

Comedians have “bits” which are jokes all centered on one theme. Then they mix several bits together with transitions to form an “act”.

An act that you see on Netflix is likely made up of many of a comedians best bits that they have practiced at comedy clubs around the world. This is why you hear many jokes being retold by comedians. Because it’s their best content.

But you have to fail and fall some to find those real funny bits.

It was interesting to me watching Tom’s live act at the comedy club in Austin. I noticed some of his famous jokes retold in a hilarious way. And then I noticed some new bits that he seemed to be experimenting on.

One bit in particular he seemed to make what almost seemed like a verbal note that he wanted to keep one of the new jokes based on audience laughter.

This reminded me to always experiment and try new things. Even during times when I feel like I’ve mastered a certain skill.

3. Everyone Makes Mistakes – But the Best Recover from Them Well

Mistakes happen. Particularly when you are trying new things. I noticed Tom stumble on one of his jokes. It seemed like a newer bit he was trying out.

The joke overall was funny but he had to stop in the middle of it and fix part of the beginning that he messed up.

What was amazing to me was how well he recovered from small blunder.

Earlier in the night, an amateur comedian stumbled on their joke and it seemed to fluster them for the rest of their act. Tom’s experience and confidence allowed him push through that somewhat failed bit and move on. Not letting it affect the rest of his act.

The more I teach people how to play pickleball, the more I realize I have developed an act. I notice that I say most of the same things every beginner class. It’s neat to see the progress I’ve made in recovering from when I mispeak trying to teach a particular part of the lesson.

I used to freeze up and get flustered for awhile. Now I mostly just admit that I forgot what I was saying and come back to it later when I remember.

“Progress is measured in inches, not miles.” – Casey Dickerson

4. Try to Enjoy Life With and Without Your Phone

The smart phone is a very powerful tool. We can do a lot of good with it by learning new ideas quickly. But it can also be extremely addictive and distracting.

Tom did a huge bit about younger people not knowing a world without the smartphone. He targeted my younger brother, Drew to demonstrate this (see above).

I loved this bit because it was funny while also carrying a good message. Tom reminded me of times when I was a kid (pre smartphone). A time when you would go outside and “it was if you had entered the land of Narnia.”

No one could reach you by phone. There was no tv in your pocket to distract you. All that existed was you and mother nature.

This bit inspired me to have times during my day where the phone is away from me. Whether I turn it off or just leave it in another room. It will still be there for me to contact others later in the day.

While Tom did a huge bit on the phone being a distraction from human to human and human to nature contact. He also used the phone to grow his audience.

Before he even came out, Cap City Comedy Club had a tweet up on the projector that was Tom’s saying he was excited to be in Austin. Then at the end of his show he captured the audience with a video from him up on stage.

So while I was inspired to put my phone away and enjoy contact with other humans and nature. I also got excited to use my phone to capture some of the positive things I am doing as a pickleball coach.

5. Be Proud of Your Accomplishments – Tom Green Acting Out Scenes from His Movie

Tom made a movie several decades ago and he knew that there were people watching him live that night because of that movie.

When he asked the audience who had seen his movie, over half of them cheered with excitement.

One of Toms’ bits was to act out scenes from his movie. I’m sure he was tired of doing this scenes over and over the last 2 decades. But he embraced his accomplishment of making a successful movie and gave back to the community something they would enjoy.

The audience members shouted out different scenes for Tom to act out and he did for about 5 minutes. This was one of the most successful parts of his show that night in my opinion.

I have a hard time remembering the great things I’ve accomplished. I tend to criticize my abilities and achievements more than take pride in them. But I do want to get better at this and be more proud of the positive results that my hard work bring.

6. The Audience is the True Critic

Image of a table reservation paper for Calvin Keeney at Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, Texas to see Tom Green

Many times in life there are gatekeepers that end up deciding who or what is “good” and what isn’t. This is becoming less prevalent with the rise of the internet but they still exist.

Some of actors biggest gatekeepers can be the critics that watch the movies.

Tom’s movie that he was paid to make didn’t receive good reviews from the critics. At all. They were very negative about the movie and recommended people to not go see it.

But we were reminded that the audience ends up being the true critic. They ended up watching his movie and telling others about how funny it was. And it ended up being one of the top watched movies of the year. Right up there with the movies that the “critics” liked.

So for those of us making new products or content, remember that the audience is the true critic. They decide whether a product is good or not. Instead of one or two random people that happen to review certain products (such as movie critics).

Conclusion – My Brothers and I had a Blast Seeing Tom Green Live in Austin, Texas

It was really fun getting to see Tom Green up close and live. He was hilarious and a true master of his craft.

I loved getting to learn from him as a creative person as well and look forward to improving my own content and lifestyle based on these principles.

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