Comedian Jim Norton is soaring right now with a hot, new talk show on Vice.com and just gave an impassioned keynote address at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival in July.
But Norton’s fans can still expect his brand of self-deprecating jabs at his own despicable behavior when he returns to San Francisco’s Cobb’s Comedy Club on Thursday-Saturday, August 7-9.
“Yeah, absolutely, I’m a total pig,” Norton said about whether he’s gone too far with dirty talk in the bedroom. Going a little too far is one of the running sketches on “The Jim Norton Show,” which also began in July.
The first two episodes are now online, and Norton said he was able to get his top pick, Mike Tyson, as a first-show guest, along with Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White. The second episode features former drug kingpin, “Freeway” Rick Ross.
“He’s just a fascinating guy,” Norton said of Ross. “I also got Whitney Cummings, and she’s really revealing. Dave Attell is on one episode, and he’s brilliant and funny. I got people who I really love.”
Norton’s been getting accolades from his peers after his Just for Laughs address, in which he accuses all of us of becoming a nation of 10-year-old, tattling kid sisters. Comedians, arguably the last purveyors of free speech, continue to be blasted in the media and online for their material and social media messaging, with Stephen Colbert coming under fire recently and Norton’s former satellite radio co-host, Anthony Cumia, getting fired from his longtime show on Sirius XM. Norton thinks it’s our instinctual mob mentality taking hold.
“We’re not dragging people down the street and bludgeoning them to death, but we’re forming mobs on Twitter,” he said. “People are so protective of their own rights to say things and their own privacy, but it’s very rare that they’re as protective of others’ ability to be able to do that.”
“We just want blood from each other.”
Norton won’t shy away from any subject matter on stage but said he does think about how he will defend all of his jokes if he’s called out for them.
“I’m very lucky as a comedian because my job is to write jokes that are original and funny. That’s all,” he said.
Norton said he’s had some of his best audiences in the Bay Area. “The Tenderloin District is one of my favorite places,” Norton said. “I love the city. It’s actually one of my favorite cities to perform because the crowds are good. They’re smart, and there’s a decent amount of comedy history there.”
Perhaps he might leave his heart in San Francisco or at least the contents of his wallet.
“I don’t know,” Norton said when asked about finding love. “I’ve been single for three years. Most women would not tolerate my prostitution habits. That’s kind of a tough one to get over—when you love hookers.”
As busy as Norton is with touring, doing the talk show and now co-hosting Sirius XM’s “The Opie with Jim Norton Show,” he keeps himself motivated with a fear that everything might fall apart.
“That’s all it is—a desperate attempt to not be irrelevant. It’s just a fear of falling into nothing,” he said.
Visit CobbsComedy.com for more information on Jim Norton’s performances.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/coreyshame.