Was Jim Norton funny on Leno's network show?

By | September 16, 2009 at 10:46 am | 53 comments | Audio/Video, TV/Movies | Tags: , ,

Weeks ago, when Jay Leno announced that he had hired Jim Norton, the master of contemporary cringe comedy, to be a special correspondent on his new, presumably safe-for-the-masses variety show, I was a bit shocked. The reasons? First, I had no idea Leno had such advanced and impeccable taste in comedians. Second, I thought, what in the hell is Norton, a guy who has made a career, in part, by telling strangers onstage about his gay oral sex misadventures when he was a child, having prostitutes defecate upon him and bestiality stories (not involving him) going to say on a show meant for Leno followers?

Needless to say, I watched Leno’s show last night with great interest, knowing Norton was making his first appearance. In the end, I think Norton did a stellar job of maintaining a pretty sharp edge while still fitting into the late-night network mold. He took an amazingly tired comedy topic — airline travel — and injected it with pure Norton. Check out the video below. And please let us know how you think Norton did in the comments section.

I also thought it was cool that Leno let Jimmy use the Opie & Anthony “WOW” sticker on Norton’s set.

Check out a clip of Norton — in his natural state onstage — from his 2005 HBO One Night Stand special after the jump.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • beeerad

    lil jimmy ruled

  • http://www.myspace.com/patfrommoonachie Pat from Moonachie

    Jimmy Norton is the bessst!

  • Anthony

    Jimmy did a GREAT job! He was relaxed and comfortable, and most importantly very funny. I thought he handled the delayed image very well too. I can’t wait to see more of him on Leno!

  • http://www.chaseroper.com Chase Roper

    I’ve got to buy me some of that “Going Solo” brand hand cream.

  • http://www.danmead.com danmead

    Yimmy killed!

  • http://thewrongbull.net Carvin

    What an awful shirt. Are those epaulets? And the dumb smile and fake laugh after the lame photoshops made me cringe.

    I didn’t laugh.

  • Walnuts55

    Little Jimmy did a great job of being funny. Riding the edge of raw and primetime TV. Nice work. Way better than the Singing carwash guy from Monday night.

  • Chris

    Jim Norton was the highlight of the show. The Cruise/Diaz bit was horrible. The door to door bit was ok (the crying baby saved it)… Norton’s bit was the only part where I really laughed out loud.

  • http://www.wackbag.com tryaluckystrike

    Jimmy ruled and will be a welcome highlight in the weeks to come.

    Of course, the show may not have much time left. After all, The Mighty HOO HOO himself says the show sucks, will lose ratings rapidly, and eventually fail. Oh, he also ranted about how Leno ripped him off. Is anyone really surprised?

  • Tom from Kentucky

    Jimmy did a great job, cant wait to see more of him. THANKS JAY!

  • Anna Risner

    Jim Norton on Jay Leno….I am very disappointed in this so called funny mans last statement. I noticed the clips posted on the official page was cut short. Maybe it was because I was not the only one that did not find the fact that he made fun of sick people funny. May daughter even said that was uncalled for. It is a disappointment that anyone would make fun of the person wearing a mask in public. And further wishing to pull it down and spread his germs on the sick person. I wear a mask in public not because I want to, or it matches every outfit I have, or because it would protect me from this table full of medical bills that may have anthrax in them. It is because of the inconsiderate people who go into the work places and to the market sick. Oh yes there are even women who go to their gynecologist with the flu and expose a waiting room full of pregnant women with their germs. I wear a mask because if the men, women and children who cough and sneeze with out covering their mouths. I wear a mask because I have been fighting a battle with cancer for 3 years to stay alive and raise my kids and don’t want inconsiderate people to cut my life short. Come on Jay, surely you read the script…you really found this funny? Anna Risner

  • http://www.myspace.com/patfrommoonachie Pat from Moonachie

    Hey Anna ..shouldn’t you be on a ledge, somewhere??

    BTW, that was a joke..you seem to need that explained to you ..*cough!*

  • http://www.myspace.com/patfrommoonachie Pat from Moonachie

    Sorry Anna, I didn’t read the part about your “3 year battle with cancer”..in retrospect my comment may have seemed rather harsh ..maybe “dark humor” isn’t your cup of tea, given your perspective, but most people DO find it funny.

  • Comic Obscura

    If it weren’t for the O&A Pests, Norton would have no audience at all. His blue act is worse than awful and his primetime routine on Leno is a gigantic snooze. Just NOT FUNNY!

  • Kevin

    Jimmy Killed as a sweet boy should

  • boohoohoohoo

    Who are opie and anthony? This was funny. very funny. quit crying and dont watch if you dont find it funny.

  • Chris

    Nice point Comic Obsura…if it weren’t for all of the fans of Jim Norton on a show which he is featured daily, he would have no audience at all.

    You are right, if he wasn’t so funny and so loved, nobody would watch him!

    In other news, if people didn’t like U2, they wouldn’t sell out every venue around the world.

  • CallingBS

    Cancer isn’t funny but you don’t have it, using it to prove a point is even more sad. You tipped your hand by revealing what you are really afraid of, anthrax. Take the stupid mask off and have a good laugh at yourself Anna, might do you good

  • Bob from Phoenix

    I saw Jimmy Norton on an HBO special not to long ago and thought he was pretty funny. The Jay Leno appearance was a little unpolished, like he wasn’t used to being on tv. I laughed out loud at a couple of things and would like to see him on the show again. I’m sure it would get more refined each time.

  • Michael McCarthy

    Jim Norton is a good egg. Great segment, cheers to Leno for getting such a caliber of comic as Jim Norton. Cheers.

  • Darren

    Jim Norton is a top notch comic who doesn’t get the respect he deserves because of his cringe humor. He will rise to the top of comedy without Howard Stern, but because of Jay Leno and Opie and Anthony and his great comedy, he will be one of the best!! God bless you Jimmy. I saw you in Vegas and it was the best show I have ever seen!!

    Darren

  • John

    Jim did a great bit. I think he’ll have alot of success doing these kinds of things for Leno’s show.

    Good job, Mr. Norton.

  • http://wackbag.com Buster

    Jim did a fantastic job. Having seen him on stage before
    I was worried he would be too censored to put on a decent
    performance. I was wrong.

    Jay has made a great choice in having Jimmy do some work
    for his show. He truly is an up and coming star.
    Keep up the good work Jay and Jim.

  • Little Conner

    Jimmy was Phenomenal!

  • http://wackbag.com jason

    Its about time the world gets to see and hear the cutest funniest boy in all of comedy. The bit was great, the delivery was awesome, the pictures added to the humor perfectly…. great job!

  • big ONA fan

    HOLY SHIT BE HONEST WITH YOURSELVES THAT WAS HORRIBLE …MY FIRST GLIMPSE OF LENO’S SHOW… IF THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT ….BAD JOKES TOLD TOO LONG ….WEIRD ATTEMPTS AT STUUFF NEVER BEFORE AND HOPEFULLY NEVER AGAIN SUCCESFULL ON TELEVISION LIKE THAT SEGMENT…THIS SHOW IS DEAD DEAD DEAD

  • Steve from Yellowstone

    Jim Norton is one of the funniest stand-ups around, and he proved that he can clean up his act for network TV and still kill. People who don’t think he’s funny probably think Steve Martin’s “King Tut” was a hoot.

  • Steve C

    Lil’ Jimmy killed, as he always does. If you don’t find him funny, go back to watching your Dane Cook DVD’s and continue to prove to the world how much you suck.

  • ddb

    To Anna Risner: He was not making fun of sick people, he was making fun of germaphobes. You are projecting and thinking he was talking about you because you wear a mask. Newsflash dear, he wasn’t talking about YOU.

    I enjoyed the bit.

  • Biv

    While not as over the top as Jim’s fans have come to expect, he did a good job walking the line of the primetime audience while bringing an edge that desparately needs to be injected into “mainstream” comedy television. With his first appearance on the show so solid and the first time jitters out of the way, I’m looking forward to seeing where ‘lil Jimmy goes from here.

  • http://eatabullet.com n0zzle

    If that appearance was an Olympic event Jimmy would be a Gold Medal winner.

  • Rick Rod

    Jim Norton was great. I have seen his other tv appearances and for the first time he seemed totally relaxed and very professional; not nervous one iota. Jimmy is able to take the oddest things that baffle most folks daily, and is able to mine the comic gold. He has the most clever takes on things that pass most people by. He also is able to keep his well-known cringe edge without stepping over the prime time line. Well done sir, and thanks to Mr Leno for giving us one of the most razor sharp wits currently on the comic circuit. Cudos Jimmy.

  • tonysuperior

    I think Norton is funny on the radio but I’m not a fan of his standup. I thought this bit wasnt half-bad, he can only get better or worse. Way to commit Tony.

  • norton who

    Jimmy Norton has a face for radio. His comedy is at best juvenile and at worse a yawn.

    I continue not to be a fan.

  • http://www.freedomgroupinc.com/ debt reduction

    i am not a fan of him really

  • sendog

    Jimmy killed as always. I find his brand of dark humor right on the money. Of course, he can offend many people. I don’t hink I’ve ever heard a great comedian that didn’t offend many people. Comedians that play it safe aren’t funny to me. RAMON……….

  • Darryl in Cali

    I saw Jimmy a couple of times on Leno’s Tonight Show. Thought he was pretty funny. Nice to see a guy like Leno giving more edgier comedians a chance, rather than the cookie cutter network-approved comedians.

  • Turfmower

    Jimmy rules

  • Mario

    He was hilarious!

  • Chimp Pembry

    A comic shouldn’t have to change his act that goes out to a nationwide audience just because YOU have dealt with cancer. Yeah, that’s what we all think of when we see those retarded SARS masks.

    Anyone trying to claim that absolutely nothing was funny here is just trying to be too cool for the room. Jim’s a funny comic who’s finally getting his due. I really don’t get people who watch things and will themselves not to even titter. Why do you watch things?

  • Larry King

    Anna: How Important is the Mask to your health?

    Hooray for Lil Yimmy. He did Swimmingly.

  • Paul Haargis

    What’s this about gay oral sex with children?

  • http://www.wackbag.com Ted

    Jim Norton absolutely killed on Jay Leno’s new show with his Uninvited Guest segment.

    Very Good Job Jim!

  • Matthew Willem

    Jim Norton = Prime Time Comedian Super star!

  • Comphackt

    YYeeesss! I LOVE Jimmy Norden!

  • DHO

    Lil’ Jimmy killed!!!

  • chris in phoenix

    People complain about Jims “dark humor” but honestly I think that he added an edge that these late night shows don’t have and honestly I think there is a fair balance between the cutesy banter of Jay and Cruise/Diaz and Jim Nortons comedy thats going to make Lenos new show a good one.

  • http://balanced-chaos.blogspot.com Balancedchaos

    I laughed. That’s the bottom line. Pretty funny stuff.

  • George

    The show was horrible and nortons part was no different. A dozen members of an o&a message board spammed comments here in an attempt to make it look less douchy. Epic fail

  • Petey

    I would rather watch letterman, connan, kimmel or even Fallon then this talentless hack. Jays such a phoney and it comes across on the show

  • Al

    I didn’t laugh. And yes I “got it” “it” just sucked

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  • Hoo hoo

    I didn’t laugh. By the way Robin, I invented comedy and radio and the earth etc…..