Jim Norton’s stand-up rants are so self-deprecating that they border on self-hatred, so in the midst of your involuntary laughter, you might find yourself wondering how he’s refrained from ending it all thus far. But cheer up, because things aren’t quite as dour as they seem for the New York veteran comic.
“Sometimes you exaggerate on how bad something is for the sake of the joke,” says Norton, whose best-selling 2007 autobiographical book title Happy Endings: Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch says pretty much all you need to know about how he views himself. “But it’s all based in something real, and the ridiculousness of them is what people laugh at. I wish it was all schtick — believe me, my life would be a lot better.”
Norton heads for the Palm Beach Improv for five shows Thursday through Saturday, and if you’re easily offended, you might want to take a pass, considering one of his recent comedy specials is titled “Please Be Offended.” Norton’s sets will be all-new material, but similar throughout the weekend.
“I’ll be doing a lot of topical stuff, talking about what’s been going on in the press, with [disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner] Donald Sterling, the last year of Duck Dynasty and my own sexual perversions,” he says. “It’s a mix of my own disastrous personal life and where we’re going as a culture.”
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And be warned: Anything and everything is fair game.
“There’s no subject that is off-limits,” Norton says. “There’s no event that can’t be made fun of, though I may want to do it at a different time. But I don’t think that there’s anything that shouldn’t ever be made fun of again — then you get into a really stupid area.”
Norton is also a regular on several SiriusXM radio shows, including serving as the “third mic” on The Opie & Anthony Show, hosting a nightly music show on Ozzy Osbourne’s Boneyard channel (Norton is an avid heavy-metal fan) and, perhaps surprisingly, hosting a weekly advice show.
“I don’t claim to be a professional,” he says. “I just have a decent insight into myself and hopefully that helps people on some level. People call in a lot about sex addiction, drinking and getting high, and relationship problems — anything I have some experience in.”
Jim Norton performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, and 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, at the Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach; 561-833-1812 or www.palmbeachimprov.com; $22.