By Alex Biron
VANCOUVER – Although the legendary Opie & Anthony show ended years ago, there are still tons of YouTube videos dedicated to preserving the fans’ favourite moments. One of the most popular is a video titled “Carpet Bombing,” where the show’s third mic, Jim Norton, shows up to work particularly tired and proceeds to tell one terrible joke after another. This video demonstrates one of Norton’s biggest strengths as a comic, his ability to make anything funny, even (or perhaps especially) failure. BeatRoute chatted with him ahead of his Vancouver debut at JFL Northwest to talk about his many projects, and he spoke with lightning quick wit and total honesty.
“I’ve got a lot going on right now,” Norton says. “I’m doing an MMA podcast for the UFC, a radio show with Sam Roberts, stand-up, and The Chip Chipperson Podacast.” Yes, “podacast” is spelled wrong on purpose. It’s a show starring one of Norton’s many characters, the offensive and socially inept Chip. “I created him while annoying my girlfriend,” Norton reveals. “I’d whisper things in their ear that ruined the moment and then I eventually started doing the voice on the radio. Doing Chip is really fun and people seem to love it.”
Radio is what helped Norton gain his huge following and he’s still doing a regular show on SiriusXM, something he believes has made him a better comedian. “You have to stay topical,” he says. “That’s what I miss most about the O&A show, just getting to be their everyday live, and also the sense of camaraderie, working with so many legendary comics.”
When asked about what audiences could expect from his new (Kneeling Room Only) tour, he replies “It’s kind of an update on my life. It’s a different hour. You have to switch it up from year to year otherwise people get very bored. With YouTube and Facebook people see your material quickly now. Once it’s been out for a few months, you have to assume your fans have seen it.” When told that the Vogue was one of the most haunted places in Vancouver, and some performers have reported seeing ghosts in the crowd, Norton was thrilled. “I don’t care what they have to do to fill that place up,”, he jokes. “Get some dead people in there if that’s what it takes.”
Jim Norton performs March 2 at the Vogue Theatre.JFL Northwest, JFL Northwest Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs, The Vogue Theatre