The Jester Interview:
Norton has defined himself as the premier purveyor of a certain style of
stand-up comedy, mixing twisted sexually-oriented subject matter with a
sense of absurdity, all delivered with pinpoint timing. In his first
book, “Happy Endings,” (see 9/4/07 review),
he turned this style on his own autobiography, and with his newly
published second book, “I Hate Your Guts,” he applies his point of view
to pop culture and public personalities. Also, as host of a four-episode
stand-up showcase series on HBO last month, “Down & Dirty With Jim
Norton,” he gave exposure to several up and coming stand-ups (see
Whitney Cummings interview) with a style complimentary to his own,
in combination with longer sets by accomplished colleagues
Bill Burr, Patrice O’Neal and Andrew “Dice”
Clay. Jester spoke with Norton about how he put his new book together
and the response he gets from his fans.
Jester: Was ‘I Hate Your Guts’ easier or harder to write than
Jim Norton: Harder, because I didn’t have as long to do it. It
was a specific thing, where I was just writing about people. The other
one was just written over the span of a year and a half. This one was in
a few months.
J: How did you get the idea to do this one, and put your axes to grind
in this book?
JN: They wanted something on pop culture and I didn’t want to do some
cutesy thing about Britney, so I liked the idea of doing this and that
was pretty much it. I wanted to write about people who really irritated
the shit out of me the last couple years.
J: So you didn’t want to audition for ‘Best Week Ever‘?
JN: No – I’ve done that show, not that it’s a bad show, but the tone of
it is probably not for me. They like things a little nicer.
J: Would you say this has gotten it all out of your system or is this
just the tip of the iceberg?
JN: For now, but I’m sure more will creep in, and I’m sure there’s some
I didn’t get to like the Parents Television Council – there are some I
didn’t get to who I really despise who I’m sure will come up.
J: What are you most obsessed with now or today?
JN: Good question – It’s still political correctness. It is still
people’s need to make known whether or not they’re offended by humor. It
is still people’s reaction to humor and how phony and despicable it is.
J: Were some parts of this things you didn’t have room for in the first
book like stories about avoiding getting beat up in school?
JN: No – it’s just things I didn’t really think of – the things about
high school and stuff were just things I was angry at. These were coming
from an angry place. There’s a lot of stories. There’s a lot of stories
I didn’t tell, but these were stories of people I really wanted to smash
in the fucking teeth.
J: Did you have to choose from material that you write as to whether to
put it in the book or to perform it?
JN: Usually I’ll write something and if I think it’s funny enough to do
on stage in a sense – writing something, you can see the whole thing
laid out. ‘Oh yeah, I could do that on stage.’ So it’s always written
J: Were there things in this that looked better written out and you
didn’t think they would fly on stage?
JN: Some did. Most have actually worked. The ones I’ve tried on stage
have worked, which is nice.
J: Do you enjoy doing book tours?
JN: Yeah, I do actually. It’s fun meeting fans and shit like that and
sign … I do enjoy it actually.
J: When you’re doing the upcoming book tour, do you give any remarks?
JN: Yeah, I’ll go up and talk for a second. Yeah, always, absolutely.