THE LAST WORD... ‘ Like a conversation at a party, it can quickly’ suddenly go south quite
WITH GRAHAM NORTON, RINGMASTER AND HOST OF THEGRAHAMNORTONSHOW
“I LIKE when you don’t know anything about somebody and they just come out and they’re a great surprise.
The show is more like talking to people than interviewing someone.
Like a conversation at a party, it can suddenly go south quite quickly – where you realise, ‘God, why did I start talking about this? I forgot that her son’s in jail’. That kind of thing. In a way what’s helped is that the show has been on so long I think guests understand the show and know nothing bad is going to happen to them. We want them to be funny; we want them to shine.
There’s always those weird moments backstage where you see people talking to each other who would never normally do so. Really early we had Grace Jones and Judith Chalmers on the same show, which was already a very good combination of guests.
It was the first time my parents had come to the show and they’d flown in from Ireland. Of course my mother and father were delighted to meet Judith Chalmers. They couldn’t be happier. I remember Grace Jones stood with some sort of (milliner) Philip Treacy thing on her head and I said to my father, ‘Ooh, would you like to meet Grace Jones?’ My father looked over and he went, ‘No!’ Most people, once they’re in the room, they’re just another person. But there are a few people where that kind of star bubble doesn’t go away.
With Tom Cruise it doesn’t go away. I’d say with Madonna it doesn’t really go away. Then there are people like Jennifer Lopez or Charlize Theron where they’re just otherworldly. They’re like angels.
If George Clooney walks into a room, that’s a big deal, but there aren’t that many of those old-fashioned movie stars.
I used to get very nervous before shows. When I did stand-up I used to get nervous.
Then I was doing a thing for the New Zealand tourism board. It was an awful gig. In drama school they were very strict about not drinking, but I was at this drinks party so I was standing there with a glass of wine.
I took a couple of sips and because you’re in a kind of heightened state you can really feel the alcohol in your system. It didn’t blur anything; it just took the edge off.
Since then – 25 years ago – I’ve always had a glass of wine. I often don’t finish it; I just hold it, like a little prop. That’s the glass of wine you still see me with on the show.” THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW FRIDAY, 8.30PM, TEN