Toronto Star

No limits for the funny, and filthy, Jim Norton

Uncompromi­sing SiriusXM comic gears up for two-show standup act at The Royal


Uncompromi­singly honest and filthy in a way that’s almost charming, Jim Norton has given offensive comedy a good name for a few decades.

He’s a co-host on SiriusXM’s Opie Radio, a popular character actor in everything from Spider-Man to Louie, and a regular touring standup comic.

Norton comes to Toronto for two shows at The Royal on Dec. 30 and recently sat down with the Star to talk about his long, strange and curious career while gearing up for the trip north.

There’s absolutely nothing off limits for Norton, who has revealed more about his private life publicly for giggles than most people even admit to themselves.

Asked whether or not that blanket honesty ever comes with regrets, Norton replies, “As far as what I’ve shared about my own life and perversion­s, not really. While I’ve lost potential girlfriend­s, the ones that I do attract are troopers. They are complete dirtbags and I say that with total affection.”

With hours of radio to fill every morning as well as stage time to fill each night, Norton has become a one-man comedy factory. It’s tough to generate that much material consistent­ly and Norton admits that he often forces himself out into the world just to have things to talk about at his day and night jobs.

“It’s funny, that’s often the main reason that I try to go on dates or go out to dinner or do normal stuff,” Norton says. “You do have to force yourself to live your life and be a normal person. Otherwise you’ll never have anything to say that people can relate to. You can’t just dedicate your life to sexual addiction and comedy, as much as I’d enjoy that.”

Norton is quick to admit comedy and conversati­on didn’t always come easily. There was even a time that he put a therapist to sleep.

“God that was awful, really humiliatin­g,” Norton recalls with a laugh. “We didn’t really like each other. It was one of those situations where you just don’t click with a therapist. I don’t even remember what I was saying. In fairness, it was probably the banal droning of a suburban bore. So I can’t blame him.”

In addition to being popular with the public, Norton is highly admired by his peers. Just last summer, he was asked to give the annual keynote address at Just for Laughs in Montreal, an honour amongst comics and one that Norton jokingly considers “every comedian’s dream gig: you get to talk without the pressure of being funny. So you can just babble your opinions.”

He’s also known for helping younger comics along their path by taking them on the road or exposing them to wider audiences through radio. Successful comedians that Norton helped push into the world include Jim Jefferies and Amy Schumer.

Norton says there’s no jealousy when he helps others succeed. If anything, he comes off like a proud father.

“It does kind of reflect on what a complete zero I am that there’s no jealousy, but I never feel that way,” Norton jokes. “I may have helped a tiny bit, but people like that are too talented not to succeed. Someone else could have done it, but I’m happy to be the one.

“With someone like Amy especially, she’ll use me in her projects now. So it goes both ways.”

Schumer shot her first film, Trainwreck, in New York over the summer and Norton was thrilled to be a part of it.

“She gave me a really funny scene with her and Bill Hader,” he says, “They actually just asked me to come in and record some ADR (automated dialogue replacemen­t), which is great news for me because that means they’re still using me and I didn’t get cut out this time.”

 ?? MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO ?? Jim Norton, seen at the 2014 Laugh for Sight Benefit in New York City, in October, plays two shows in Toronto on Dec. 30.
MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO Jim Norton, seen at the 2014 Laugh for Sight Benefit in New York City, in October, plays two shows in Toronto on Dec. 30.

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