Comedian Jim Norton is back and more unapologetic than ever.
The 46-year-old funny man returns to Epix on April 24 with another comedy special, Jim Norton: Contextually Inadequate. As expected, Norton serves up his usual set of sex-charged, no-fucks-given jokes.
This time, he’s tackling the Bill Cosby rape allegations, the outrage over Paula Deen’s racist remarks, and even Anthony Weiner’s leaked dick pics. And while much of his material pokes fun at some of the darkest news from the past year, he’s also often turning himself into the punchline of his jokes—a masochistic method that leaves the audience roaring with laughter.
“It just felt right, it was the biggest story in the country. It’s the biggest comedian shock of my life. It just felt like that’s what I want to come out and talk about,” Norton told The Daily Beast about opening his special with bits about the recent and numerous Cosby sexual assault allegations. “And he’s the target of the jokes, so I figured why not. I’m not making fun of the victims.”
For those unfamiliar with Norton, he co-hosts the Sirius XM Radio show Opie with Jim Norton, formerly known as the Opie and Anthony show until Anthony Cumia was fired after a slew of racist tweets (an incident Norton touches on in Contextually). He’s been on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and appeared on The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget. People may have seen him more recently on Inside Amy Schumer and he even had a tiny part in the original Spider-Man movie.
The New Jersey native has made his name in comedy through his no-holds-barred humor and satire, often walking his audiences through his various sexcapades and peccadilloes.
Norton is no stranger to taking the saddest headlines and twisting them into comedy fodder. In his 2012 Epix special Jim Norton: Please Be Offended, he cracked jokes about everything from the disturbing Jerry Sandusky case to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s marriage-terminating affair.
“I would have to say there’s really no process, it’s whatever feels natural to talk about,” Norton says about choosing which depressing news to talk about while on stage. “But there’s nothing I won’t talk about. There are just some things that I don’t think jokes are good for.”
In Contextually Inadequate, one of the most prevalent themes is the culture of outrage that has taken over society, whether it’s sifting through Trevor Noah’s old tweets for poorly-executed jokes or its perpetual yet hollow finger-wagging at someone—anyone—who’s said something just a tad offensive.
“It’s probably evolved into getting more and more annoyed at people getting in trouble,” Norton says about how his comedy has changed since the days of Monster Rain. “ I guess I kind of have gotten caught up more and more in language, in what bothers me about what people get in trouble for.”
According to Norton, it’s a cross-generational epidemic affecting all ages. Colleges are repressive for the younger crowds, blocking out unpopular thoughts and ideas, meanwhile, anchors on networks like MSNBC just add fuel to the fire once the media pinpoints the next outrage.
In Contextually Inadequate, Norton brings up the frenzy that surrounded Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame when he revealed his anti-gay opinions in a GQ interview.
“I don’t really like Phil Robertson and I think his opinion about gay marriage is stupid. But in a country where we want an honest conversation, we have to realize that part of the honest conversation is hearing things we don’t like and discussing them,” Norton says. “Not silencing someone who offers the opinion.”
And the thing about outrage culture is that everyone’s a little guilty.
“Regular people are the problem. It’s not the government, it’s not the invasive Big Brother, it’s the fact that we’re a nation of snitches and nosey people who then cry when somebody wants our personal information,” Norton says. “I’m talking about people who are being voyeuristic to people’s privacy. Like Tiger Woods’ text messages were private. Donald Sterling’s conversations were private.”
As for when the culture of outrage will subside?
“When people stop getting attention for pretending they’re wounded, people will stop pretending they’re wounded and then eventually it will fizzle out,” Norton says. “I don’t know how long that will be or if it will ever happen, but that’s what it’ll take.”
“The only good thing is that the outrage is so fake and so shallow that if you let it just storm, it will pass quickly,” he says.
There are definitely some deep and complex themes woven into Norton’s humor over the landslide of complaints after a racist or homophobe is exposed. But a lot of it comes back to that crass oversharing that has brought Norton’s audience back for howls of laughter.
In one part of his comedy special, he’s ripping on Anthony Weiner for breaking the cardinal rule of taking dick pics that got him exposed: you never have face and penis in the same photo.
He also had some dick pic tips he kindly shared with The Daily Beast.
“I would definitely say, make sure you take a few different ones,” he starts. “Keep your hand out of it. A lot of guys grab it with their hand but that just shows that you don’t have much going past your fingers. So what you do is you push your back out a little. Arch your hips forward. Hold the camera out to your left or right. And aim down so it just looks like you have your stomach and torso and this thing sticking straight out. But you never put your hand in because that gives a relative comparison for people to make and that’s normally a terrible idea.” Such wise words.
Norton ends Contextually Inadequate with a bit on pegging, the practice where a guy is anally penetrated by a lady equipped with a strap-on. His adventurous sex practices have long transcended society’s stringent norms. Norton is pretty much a sex evangelist, bringing light to the pleasures of a finger (or two, or three) up the backdoor.
“I think recently it’s been more acceptable to talk about it,” he says about ass play. “Although I think the way that I’m talking about it, with having my ass filled by a fake object, I think it’s a little less common for men to talk about. But, I think that men should admit that stuff a little more because we get too homophobic when it comes to our hineys.”
The role-reversal pleasure-making was even the main plot for a season two episode of Broad City. And speaking of lady comics, Norton’s all for the well-deserved attention that Amy Schumer has been getting lately.
Much like the wall for men to admit they might like something they aren’t all too used to talking about, women are also finding it easier to talk about topics that are genuine.
“I think what’s happening is that women are allowed to be funnier as we stop pretending that there are subjects that they shouldn’t address. I don’t look at Amy as a funny female comic, she’s just a funny act,” the comedian says. “Amy talks about HPV and all this stuff and being a mess and being a drunk and I think that’s how she can inspire other comedians. They can see her being truthful and imperfect and still being a huge success and having people relate to her.”
The same sort of hilariously relatable imperfection that Norton has hinged his comedy brand on.
As for what’s next for the jester? He’s still gunning to get his own talk show. And we can only imagine what interview questions he’d whip up.