Comedian Jim Norton is a jack of all trades.
An actor, writer, radio host and MMA podcaster, he’s etched out a successful career across a range of different media. But it’s his near 30-year stand-up comedy career that sets him apart. A rapid fire self-deprecator, he’s interviewed and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. We chatted to him ahead of his first Irish show in Vicar Street.
Thanks for talking to us, Jim. What can Irish fans expect from your show?
You know, it’s different every year. I’ve never been to Dublin but it’s different to Mouthful of Shame (previous tour). It’s an update on my personal life and a lot of what’s going on right now. I’m talking about Trump, of course, and I’ll be talking about Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and everything that’s happening in the news. So yeah, I’m sure there will be a few sexual scandals discussed before the end of the night.
Will you have time to enjoy yourself and see the city while you’re here?
I’ve a good friend that lives out there, so I’ll probably see her and then arrive in the day before. From Dublin I go to London for two days, Manchester and then back. I’m a shit sightseer, I don’t go to anything, anywhere. I won’t see anything in London, I’ll do the gigs, go to Manchester and fly home. I’m a horrible, horrible….Bill Burr is always like ‘Dude, you gotta see this!’… I never go and see anything. I go, I do the gig, I go back to the hotel and I just isolate. I’m a fucking creep.
So, it’ll be your first time in Dublin?
It is, yeah. Again, it was Bill who got me to go to Europe. I always thought ‘Ah they’re gonna hate me in Europe’ and he was like ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about dude!’ So, I finally said fuck it and I booked some European gigs and they were great. And then I booked London and they offered me Dublin and I’m dying to go to Dublin. So yeah, I’m really, really happy to be doing it.
With a name like James Norton you must have some Irish connection?
My family is Irish, and maybe a little Italian, but I have no connection to it. I think Pearce was the name when they came over, and they had something to do with ice-cream and Jersey City, but that’s literally all I know about my family. It might give me a better sense of myself, if I had some sort of lineage connection, but I just don’t know. My Grandfather could have been a great man, or he could have been a fucking paedophile, I have no idea. Or paedophile (Irish pronunciation), I should say.
It’s strange how that word is said different over there than here.
It sure is. But thank God it means the same thing, so we can spot each other (laughs).
You’re a big MMA guy. Are you a Conor McGregor fan?
I’m not but I rooted hard for Conor against Mayweather. I thought he looked really good. I don’t hate Conor. I do a UFC podcast with Matt Serra (UFC Unfiltered) and Conor has never come on the show, so of course I root against him. He’s always beating up people I like too. I love Jose Aldo, he beat him up, I love Eddie Alvarez and Conor murdered him. But it’s hard not to like Conor as far as being a talented guy and bringing life to the UFC. He’s probably, right now, the most exciting athlete on the planet, so I watch every time he fights. My dream for him now is to fight Tony Ferguson for the lightweight title. I don’t want to see him box anymore, I don’t give a shit about that. Fuck Oscar de la Hoya. Stop it Oscar, shut up! He was the one knocking the Floyd/Conor fight, which I thought was genius, and stupid de la Hoya is saying ‘It’s not good for boxing!’ When he finds out the fight made $500 million or whatever, he’s saying ‘I’m better than ever!’ Shup up, Oscar. No, you’re not. You’re old.
You’ve developed a friendship with Ricky Gervais. Can you tell us how that came about?
The first time I met Ricky I interviewed him on the Opie and Anthony radio show. It was after the British Office, I knew who David Brent was- it was probably 2006- and I was a huge fan. It’s mostly from interviewing Ricky over the years. He would mostly come in, for a long time we were the only radio show he would do on satellite, and he would give us an hour. We always had a great time with him. I love Ricky. He did the opening for my last stand-up special.
I saw that, it was very funny.
Yeah, it was him Louis C.K and de Niro. You know, the fact that Ricky agreed to do that, he’s a really great guy and a great friend. He’s probably my most successful friend. I haven’t had the balls yet to beg him to put me in a movie, but that’s next. Although he put me in the beginning of one with Eric Bana (Special Correspondents). It was a small role, as a rent boy, which I really liked. I think Ricky just wanted to see me in that outfit. I think he likes my abs and my little hiney. So, he put me in the start of his movie just to catch a glimpse.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 30, 2015
(From the set of Special Correspondents)
Can I ask you about Louis (C.K)?
You can ask me anything you want, my friend.
Were you surprised about the allegations that have come out about him in recent weeks?
You know, the allegations have been out there, in the wind, for a long time. But there was no specific name attached to them. So, when they finally came out, it wasn’t surprising. I love Louis, and I still love Louis. Look, I think it’s stupid to pull your dick out in work, when you’re in an office. But I don’t think Louis is a predator- at all. You know, again, just from the people that have come out so far, I think that’s going to be all there is. I hope that’s going to be all there is. I don’t think Louis is a predator at all. I think Louis is information based and when he got consent…I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that thinks of power dynamics. I think he was thinking that he got consent, and it’s very unfair when they lump him in with Harvey Weinstein. I’m not saying it was nice, and I’m not saying it wasn’t kind of fucked up to do, and yeah, he definitely owes an apology for pulling his dick out in an office, but I don’t think he’s a predator at all.
What are your plans for 2018?
I would like to do another Netflix special, keep touring and hopefully get a show on the road. And to find a relationship that lasts for more than an hour.
That’s never going to happen.
(Laughs) Those are my goals. I’ve been dating a lot recently and it’s impossible. One minute I think I’m in love, then I’m not in love- so that’s my goal. I’m 49 now. To finally find one person, to hang on to, and have a real relationship with would be nice. But yeah, I would like to do another Netflix special, or a stand-up special for somebody else, in 2018.
And you’ll keep doing radio?
Yeah, I love doing the show with Sam Roberts. And the Chip Chipperson Podacast (a character Jim created), Chip is more popular than I am. He’s a real international sensation. I love doing UFC Unfiltered. The bottom line is, I do a lot of things, none of them particularly well. So, I’m always just juggling and thinking the floor is going to drop out from most of what I do, and I always just need something to hang on to. I just did a voice over thing for a Disney cartoon. I met a friend of mine there and he goes ‘Man, you’re always working!’ and I’m like ‘No, I’m just fucking desperate’ and afraid that I’m failing at everything. So, I’m always just trying to do something to keep myself busy.
Thanks for talking to us and best of luck for the show on Wednesday.
Thanks man, it was fun.
Jim Norton is performing his Kneeling Room Only show in Vicar Street on Wednesday, December 13th. Tickets are available here.