porsche, luxury, Southampton

Hamptons Life

Jun 7, 2016 10:24 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Jim Norton To Perform At Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center June 11

Jim Norton, with William Shatner. PAUL OFCHARSKY
Jun 7, 2016 10:24 AM

Comedian Jim Norton, who is taking the stage at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 11, is a tireless worker.

He co-hosts a satellite radio show, he’s published two books and developed hours and hours of stand-up material, and he makes frequent appearances, both as a comic and as an actor, on television, podcasts and film.

During a recent interview, the New Yorker attributed his busy schedule to a lack of a personal life.

“I have nothing else going on in my life,” he said. “That’s the beauty of being a completely isolated creep: You have plenty of time to come up with material, which is pretty much what I do. I go on the road, I work it, I shoot it, and I’m bored with it, and then I start over.”

Between 2012 and 2015, he taped three hour-long stand-up specials for the premium network Epix, and he is planning his next special based on material from his current tour, titled “Mouthful of Shame.” “I’m ashamed of what goes out of it, and what comes into it. That kind of sums it up,” he said.

From Monday through Thursday, he appears on “Opie with Jim Norton,” a SiriusXM program that was formerly known as “Opie and Anthony” before former co-host Anthony Cumia was fired in 2014. Mr. Norton has been affiliated with Opie and Anthony since 2000, back when the shock jocks were on the FM dial.

Then, on Thursday nights, Fridays and Saturdays, he performs at theaters across the country, and he comes home to the East Side on Sundays to start the cycle over again.

“Keeping busy is good,” he said. “If you’re not busy, you just feel worthless.”

He also finds the time to appear in movies and on television. He was a frequent panelist on Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” he was interrogated with a tattoo needle by Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in “Cop Out,” and his more recent credits include “Louie” and “Inside Amy Schumer.”

On the second season of “Inside Amy Schumer,” during the “Amy Goes Deep” interview segment, Amy Schumer introduced Mr. Norton as Jimmy, “a comedian, my good friend, and a real-live pervert.”

He’s known Ms. Schumer for quite some time. In fact, she used to be his opening act on tour before her career took off. “She’s a good egg, but she knows me well enough to know what a creep I am,” Mr. Norton said.

“Creep” isn’t a label he wears with pride—but he finds it to be an apt description. “Too many people are ashamed of who they are. I’m ashamed of who I am—I just make it public. But they keep it to themselves and they come off as liars and hypocrites.”

He said he’s not a predator, or “a Cosby”—he’s just a dirty guy.

He is often self-deprecating in his act. He’s been refining his current stand-up set for months now. “I’m at a place now where I’m warming up for my special, and I feel really, very good about where my act is at this point,” he said.

He started working the material even before his tour started in February, with topics such as Donald Trump, Bruce Jenner transitioning to Caitlyn Jenner, and “whatever disasters are happening in my personal life,” he said.

On Mr. Trump, he said he appreciates seeing establishment politicians having “their private party crashed by this obnoxious billionaire.”

“I’m really happy to see somebody coming in and humiliating all of them. That’s basically what this is,” Mr. Norton said. “The equivalent of Trump winning is like a guy doing stand-up once and winning an Emmy for his open mic stand-up. That’s what it’s like. And the rest of the comedians are standing around and go, ‘Wow, we must really suck.’

“That would make all of us rethink our act, and, hopefully, it would make politicians do the same.”

Mr. Trump’s politics don’t concern him. “I just hate the rest of them so much, and he, to me, is a great revenge on the rest of them. I think he’s a smarter guy than people give him credit for, and I think he says a lot of dumb shit, and things he should say smarter and say better. But I’m voting for him because it’s the greatest ‘f--- you’ you can give to other politicians.”

Regarding Caitlyn Jenner, he said he talks about his relief, considering “how weird Bruce looked for a long time.”

“But I also talk about how phony these other celebrities are, because they are showing such reverence to it, and none of them admit having sex with transgender girls.” While celebrities say the right thing and use the right pronoun, none of them own up to it, he said—while he openly acknowledges having had trans partners.

As if he wasn’t busy enough, he also just completed an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign for an animated web series, “The Chip Chipperson Show.” The title character is one he has done for many years on “Opie and Anthony,” and now on YouTube. Mr. Norton described him as “an unfunny lump who doesn’t get the rhythm of being funny.”

“We all know people like that in our lives ...” he said. “It really does resonate with people in a way I never thought it would.”

He started doing the character as a way of torturing his girlfriend in public, he admitted. For example, he would shout, “How much is that?” when she ordered steak at a restaurant, loud enough for the waiter and patrons to hear.

“Getting that visceral reaction out of my girlfriend made me really want to continue to do it,” he said. They broke up in 2011—but Chip is still going.

Because Chip is unscripted on the radio, transitioning the character to animation is a challenge, he acknowledged. “People want that spontaneity.”

Audiences demand Chip and other characters during his stand-up.

“It’s amazing. People like Chip Chipperson more than they like Jim Norton. I really have created a rotten little monster,” he said. “So I’ll do it during the act, but I’ll do it toward the end. If I do it in the beginning, nobody wants to listen to me anymore.”

Mr. Norton also completed a television pilot for IFC, which he is hoping will get picked up for a series. The plan is for each episode for take on something in pop culture that annoys him. In the pilot, the topic is white privilege—the idea that white people have it easier in the United States.

“When white people mention it, it makes me so angry I want to throw them down an elevator shaft—but I do think that white privilege exists,” he said. Part of the show is to examine why he reacts that way. “My reactions are irrational to these new ideas,” he said. “So you don’t want to be the old man just waving his fist at anyone in a college, ‘Ah, you young kids!’ That guy’s a predictable douche, so you don’t want to be that guy.”

He decided to stop being that way: to be open-minded “instead of spending the next 25 years in a shrinking cage, angry at everything.”

One of his career goals is to get a show on television that means something. It could be the IFC show. But maybe not. Until then, he’ll keep working hard and refining his act.

“Hopefully, sooner or later, something will amount to something.”

Jim Norton will perform Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m. at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. Tickets are $55, $65 and $75, available by calling 631-288-1500 or visiting whbpac.org.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in