Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: The Graham Norton Show

I hate to admit this but I don't watch any of the late night American chat shows. Not Letterman, or Conan or Jay Leno. Not even Craig Ferguson and he's at least Scottish. I have only a nodding acquaintance with Jimmy Kimmel and that's solely through watching "I'm f*#*ing Matt Damon" and it's sequel on YouTube. Jon Stewart yes, but he's not really a chat show, and I'm learning about important issues about of the day, so Jon Stewart is actually good for me. The only time I've ever really watched them was when I was working my night job at IAG and I was getting paid to stay up that late to watch stale jokes and actors pimping movies that they made over a year ago.

However, I will watch The Graham Norton show on BBC America. Maybe it's Norton's puckish Irish charm and irreverance. Or the fact that he's incredibly camp and flamboyant. He doesn't seem to care that he's talking to stars or reality TV celebrities or models. He treats them all the same. Plus the guests are allowed to drink on stage which adds to the general looseness of the program. Seriously, if Leno and his guests were sharing a brewsky, I might actually watch the program. Plus what I love about The Graham Norton show is that he also treats the people in the audience the same way that he treats his guests. I would cheerfully sit in his audience for the hope of having him take the piss out of me.  Seriously, I would love to add him to my UK gay husbands.

Watching Graham Norton, I've learned about web-sites like Upside Down Dogs, Teapot Blowing and other WTF'kery as Katiebabs likes to call it. He's even done theme nights like the show where all his guests were Welsh including Dame Shirley Bassey (I love her), Michael Sheen (whose father is a professional Jack Nicolson impersonator) and some comedian I've never heard of. I've also learned of the mythical kingdom called Benedorm, which is apparently another place in Spain that Brits have ruined. One of my favorite show was when Dawn French and Rod Stewart was on and Norton was ragging on her about her list of famous people that she's kissed and she replied that Rod was next and his wife Penny was okay with it.  Then there was the time that Patsy Kensit was on, and they talked about this show Who Do You Think You Are? (which Lisa Kudrow is producing for NBC), and while she revealed that her paternal line is full of criminals Graham just complained that all he learned was that he was Irish, and he knew that already. The Graham Norton Show (and Jonathan Ross) are the only shows where I can see British actors and celebrities that I've only read about in Hello! Magazine. And he puts together such an ecletic mix. One night he had Jackie Collins and Katie Price aka Jordan on the show (and if you don't know who Katie Price, I would look her up on Wikipedia).

He also has a feature he does at the end of the show where audience members sit in a chair and they have to tell a story. If he thinks it sucks, then he pulls a lever and the chair goes backwards. Sort of like The Gong Show gone wrong. He also used to have a callbox rigged up on the Thames near the studio which he would call to see if people picked up. Awesomeness. Sometimes I can't believe the BBC lets him get away with some of the stuff he says and does. He also hosted How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and ANY DREAM WILL DO, the two TV competitions that Andrew Lloyd Webber did to find stars for his new West End Shows. After watching him host these shows, I really wished they'd fire Ryan Seacrest and hire him to do AMERICAN IDOL.

I eagerly await the next season of the show on BBC America. And in the meantime, I will content myself with re-runs.

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