Deadline

Thursday, August 05, 2004

From a fan: OK- so I’ve been getting mildly pissed off at that Graham Norton promo on Comedy Central tonight where he bleats that “Newsweek likes me, they really like me” as though that speech hasn’t been parodied about 90 times.
So I looked up the article, and it’s not really a good review, it just says that what he does might be funny to you if you like gross stuff. I rented his BBC “best of” tape, and it’s awful.

June 28 issue - Graham Norton is a very naughty man. He thinks nothing of whipping a sex toy out of a drawer and offering it to an unsuspecting guest, just for laughs.
He still giggles about the time he found a Webcast of a woman playing "God Save the Queen" on a penny whistle—and she wasn't using her mouth to play it. When he met Dolly Parton a few years ago, she took one look at Norton's flamboyant outfit and remarked: "My grandma had a couch just like that."
To which the openly gay Norton retorted: "Well, probably more people have sat on me." All of which would be hilarious or hideous, depending on your taste.
In Norton's case, it's also shocking, considering that he gets away with all this on English television, where his talk show "Very Graham Norton" has made him the bad boy of Britain.
This week Norton brings his low-rent version of "The Tonight Show" to America, and the timing couldn't be worse.
The show, renamed "The Graham Norton Effect," will tape in New York and broadcast Thursdays on Comedy Central. It will still traffic in the eclectic stew of dishy celebrity chitchat, R-rated show-and-tell and raunchy humor. Will this fly in our post-Janet Jackson universe? Norton himself isn't sure. "It's an odd climate to be launching this in,"
he says. "There's bound to be suits twitching in the wings. They don't want to be causing more trouble."Not that Norton plans to cut his comedy to fit this year's fashions.
He says Comedy Central won't interfere with him—he actually backed out of a deal with NBC when the network started to muck around with his work. Still, Norton knows the danger of being a stranger in a strange land. "Jay Leno was over in London filming our show, and we had this stupid calendar. It was really clean for us—just pictures of dog turds in the snow.
Leno was like, 'God, that's funny, but we could never show that.' But you can see that on the street!" says Norton. "We may hit walls we do not know exist."—Marc Peyser© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.