Comedian Jim Norton is coming to The Sands Bethlehem Event Center on December 1st , and he took some time to speak with The Valley Ledger.
Hi Jim, I have loved the work you do for years!
Jim– Oh thank you very much! I appreciate that.
It is exciting that you are coming to The Sands and everyone is so excited!
Jim– That’s a really fun gig! I’ve done that a few times and I always enjoy that gig! You always want to say that when you are doing a gig but that’s one I can say I do enjoy.
So tell us about the tour and what you are working on?
Jim– It’s been going really well so far. Most of it is new material, actually all of it is new material. It is about what’s been going on in the world. I update every year because I get really bored without anything. So I have to update or I get bored.
I have noticed though throughout the years that you have never really told the same material over and over again. I think that is why you have longevity.
Jim– Thank you very much. You have to give the audience their jokes. You have to! If I am going to come back to The Sands… If I am doing an hour, at least forty-five minutes of it better be new. I tried to have it all.
What do you most look forward to while you are on tour?
Jim– You know, I look forward to the last five minutes of every set that’s going well. You know I look forward to the material having worked. It is always fun to go up there and try new material as well.
You have done a few films and your special “Mouthful of Shame” premiered on Netflix earlier this year. Will you be doing any films or specials soon?
Jim– I would love to do another special if they want to give me one. I would love to! I have enough material for it. Hopefully in the next year. You can’t do them every six months so hopefully in the next year.
Do you have anything special that you do before you go out on-stage?
Jim– Just find the exits and realize if it sucks I’ve got to get there quickly. So, that’s pretty much it! I map out the exits.
What does comedy mean to you?
Jim– For me it’s the best way to express myself. It is a way to get my opinion out there and affect other people. It means everything to me. Being funny is the most identifiable trait I’ve had. It is an excuse to say things you want to say. Comedy is a great excuse to stand in front of people and get noticed. Comedy is a great excuse to say things and people have to listen. They don’t have to like it and they don’t have to agree but they have to listen. It’s a dream job.
What advice would offer up and coming comics or even the comics now? What advice would offer to someone who may be afraid to go forward and be a comic?
Jim– Don’t be lazy. Forget your personal life. Go on-stage as much as you can. Just don’t be lazy, that is the most important thing. I would just say enjoy it. You don’t want the fear of not doing well to over-ride not doing well and get your lazy ass on-stage. That’s the most important thing!
Amen, that is good advice!
Jim– Yes, be on-stage every night! That is important!
Did you have any professional inspirations in comedy?
Jim– Richard Pryor, George Carlin you know those are the two most common. Woody Allen as a stand-up. I know he married his stepdaughter, I knew he was my hero (Laughter on both ends.)
I cannot even imagine what George Carlin would say is he were here today? Everyone would be roasted.
Jim– It would be fun to watch what Carlin would say about today’s world. It would be really, really interesting.
You always talk about various topics and including some personal stuff. Is it difficult when you come up with material that you base on your real life?
Jim– No, you know what it is your real life always lends itself to being made fun of. It’s actually easier because there’s always things I do where I think Oh my God am I a douche. There’s so many things I do that I find make fun-able. But no it’s actually easier because my personal life is a well of idiocy.
I can relate! What would you like to say to the fans that will be at The Sands?
Jim– You know I appreciate them coming year after year. What I will say every year is I work very hard on the material. I hope you like it and I hope I don’t suck. That’s the most important thing and I really hope you like the material and I appreciate you coming year after year. I mean that and there is nothing that makes me feel better and more validated as a comedian than people who says, dude I saw you last year. That means that they liked it and they came back so I appreciate it. I never take it for granted.
One last thing I wanted to ask you as a writer. What did you learn the most from writing in comedy?
Jim– If it is writing for a book the most valuable thing is don’t be afraid to go in a different direction. Go wherever your creativity takes you. Don’t be afraid to make a left turn in the middle of a story because you might get something amazing out of it. As a stand-up I would say get to the point. Don’t dilly dally because the crowd gets annoyed. So I would say I learned different things in both different genres.
This was an amazing honor and I thank you for taking the time to talk with me. You are awesome Jim!
Jim– Thank you, well come up and say hello if you are there.
For information about Jim Norton’s upcoming show at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center visit: http://www.sandseventcenter.com/events/jim-norton-kneeling-room-only/
Interviews & Articles By: Janel Spiegel
“May your nightmares inspire you.” JMS