The former pervert is now just a guy that likes what he likes. As long as the act is consensual, it doesn’t matter. The act no longer matters. Things have changed. What was shocking when Jim Norton began performing stand up is now available without shame.
Norton’s claim to fame for most comedy fans is he’s the comic’s comic that jokes about his love of transgender sex workers. For the last 20 years he’s been associated with the comics that also appeared on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn or comics sitting around after sets at the Comedy Cellar on Louis. His newest special, 2017’s Mouthful of Shame, reinforces those associations. Louis CK along with Robert De Niro and Ricky Gervais* appear in a filmed bit to introduce the show. Later in the special Norton tells a NSFW story that prominently features Patrice O’Neal.
Unlike Louis, Norton’s career is going well. (Norton thinks Louis’ career will recover. He told us, “I love Louis. He did some things that were ill advised and aren’t bright. It happens. But the guy’s not a rapist. He’ll be back.”) Norton is busy talking into microphones most every day. Monday through Friday beginning at 8 a.m. he’s part of The Jim Norton & Sam Roberts Show. He’s also part of the UFC’s Unfiltered Podcast with Jim Norton & Matt Serra, an hour plus show released every Tuesday and Thursday. But regardless of how much he talks without a set list, Norton still considers himself a comic.
Norton is a stand up. Which means he’s been living in a gig economy before the term originated (according to some, it was coined in 2009 during the financial crisis). Which means he thinks, “I’m lucky to be able to do what I do.”
“It really is desperation,” Norton told us. “I’m so scared of having everything taken away that I work really hard and I do a lot of stuff because I have to do everything to maintain what I have.”
Norton has found a way to make a career that’s part club comic, morning radio show host, and UFC commentator. Talking into microphones for over 30 hours a week must get tiring.
When we asked Norton if he ever gets tired talking after his radio show, he said, “Absolutely.”
When we asked Norton if he ever gets tired talking about cumming in his act and on his radio show, he said, “Once in a while.”
Jim Norton is at the DC Improv March 22, 23, 24. Tickets remain for March 22 and the early March 23 shows. The March 23 late show and both March 24 shows are sold out.
*We did not ask Norton about Gervais’ current Netflix special. We spoke to Norton March 8. The Gervais special premiered March 13. Julian Assange Tweeted a fake Ricky Gervais quote March 18.