I haven’t seen much stand-up comedy at all since I moved to New York. Perhaps it’s all those walks through the Village and Times Square getting bombarded by fliers and cries of “comedy show tonight!” that turned me off to listening to some struggling comedian.
But tonight I saw a real professional, whom I figured would be pretty funny. Graham Norton doesn’t have quite the following over here that he does in Britain, but he’s not exactly unheard of, either. I remember looking forward to catching his talk show (“So Graham Norton”) on British television when I could, while I was studying there a few years ago, and I even shelled out some money for one of his stand-up audiotapes on my way out of the country. His show tonight kept me laughing the whole way through with his slideshow of craziness ripped from the (mostly British tabloid) headlines and the inevitable British vs. American humor.
He finished out the show with one of his trademarks – making prank calls live. Tonight, he called a gay chat line, and after a few hiccups with the automated system, patched it through to the public audio system and managed to elicit a lot of (restrained) laughter from the audience as he spoke to various callers – despite their dullness. The best conversation he had was probably the one where he said he was Irish and came over to America with a production of Riverdance and never left, but has recently taken up professional roller skating.
My favorite call ever would have to be the one he made to a for-hire Terminator impersonator (for birthdays and bar mitzvahs) while he had Linda Hamilton on his TV show. The guy, who advertised his services on the Web, thought he was being put on for so long until he finally heard Linda talk for a while and was just blown away.
Norton’s show is called Know All and he’ll be at the Village Theatre through Oct. 22.