Bethlehem Press

Monday, December 11, 2017
Jim Norton Jim Norton

Jim Norton faithful to the funny

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by DEB BOYLAN Special to The Press in Focus

Jim Norton is your funny best friend. He’s that pal cracking wise on the playground, in the high school locker-room, or over morning coffee in the break room at work.

Jim Norton is an everyman of comedy, relatable, a middle-aged yet youthful personification of the archetypical American male.

As he approaches 50, he’s keen on settling down and his circumstances and outlook have changed since his Netflix special, “Mouthful of Shame,” aired in March.

Norton’s “Kneeling Room Only” tour stop at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, 8 p.m. Dec. 1, is your chance to catch up with an old friend.

“It’s an update on my life,” he says about his one-man stand-up show, “It’s all different than the last special. I’ll be talking about my own life, my dating, things that are in the news, obviously, the president, you know [and] Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.

“I’m dating more than I was,” he adds. “I’m seeing someone more consistently than [in the past], I’ve [also] had a couple of childhood memories come back, but a lot of it [the new material] is about my current dating situation. I’m not doing a lot of the crazy stuff I used to do. I’ve actually mellowed as I’ve gotten older.”

If Jim Norton is going through a mid-life crisis, he’s not manifesting it in the usual manner. “I’m not running out buying a sports car. I’m just trying to find a nice girl and be faithful.”

There’s certainly plenty of material for Norton to mine between observations on his personal life and the recent headlines of unsavory behavior by several public figures. Given the sensitive nature of things these days, Norton was asked if any topics are off-limits for stand-up comedians.

“No, not at all, absolutely not,” he says. “If I’m going to talk about Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey, I’m not going to make fun of victims. I tend to keep my focus when I talk about what’s been going on is the level of delusion that certain men are under. There’s no self-awareness with some guys.”

Norton was on the periphery of news concerning his friend and colleague, Louis C.K.

Louis C.K. is accused by multiple women of lewd acts, a long-time whispered rumor in comedy circles prior to the victims coming forward in an article published by The New York Times. C.K. admitted the allegations against him are true and issued a statement expressing remorse for his actions.

Aside from being stand-up comedy compadres, Norton has appeared in C.K.-helmed projects, including appearing as himself in the critically-acclaimed TV series, “Louie,” which aired on the FX cable network for five seasons, 2010-2015.

“It was terrible, multiple lacks in judgment,” Norton says concerning C.K. “I don’t know: Did he know that these women were uncomfortable and not care? I do respect the fact that he came out and owned up to it, that he apologized.”

In addition to his stand-up tour, Norton has several ongoing projects, including co-host of the popular “Jim Norton & Sam Roberts show” on Sirius-XM satellite radio, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. Monday - Friday.

Streaming podcasts have become an increasingly ubiquitous form of entertainment and Norton does “The Chip Chipperson Podacast,” based on his wildly-popular character, Chip Chipperson.

“It’s a huge podcast [based around] a character I do and the fans have been wonderful.”

Of Chip Chipperson Norton says, “He developed over years. It was just an unfunny character who tells unfunny jokes. I knew there was something to it.

“The fans love to do the voice. It’s a great voice to do when your bombing [onstage]. He’s more popular than I am, believe me,” Norton says.

The Chip Chipperson Podacast is heard on the Riotcast network and is seen on You Tube.

“I have a small part in ‘The Irishman,’ the Martin Scorsese film,” he adds. “It’s a very small part, but I was able to get that, which was great. I play Don Rickles. There’s other stuff happening while he’s performing, but the fact I got to do that, I’m really psyched about.”

The Irishman is based on the book, “I heard You Paint Houses: Frank Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride by Jimmy Hoffa,” by Charles Brandt. The film stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano.

About performing at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center Norton says, “I love that casino. It’s a fun place. I’ve appeared there at least two times, maybe three or four.

“I can’t wait to get there [Bethlehem]. it’s an hour of new material and I’m really, really happy with it.”