You can get your “howl” on by listening to Jim Norton five days a week on The Opie & Anthony Show but when you want to hear straight up comedic brilliance in a thought provoking, brutally honest, and a generally filthy way, you just have to catch Jimmy at his best which is when he's on the stage. This Friday on EPIX, the premiere of his newest special, Jim Norton: American Degenerate, delivers a highly hilarious opinionated and observational hour filled with topics we can all relate to in some way or another (even if we feel too sick and ashamed to admit it). Before the kickoff of American Degenerate, we talked to Jim about the special, got his thoughts on the state of the media, and picked his troubled brain to find out why he thinks society today is so fucked up.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I saw the special and obviously, I loved it. The intro is amazing too with Michael K. Williams and Kenny. Sooo funny! How'd the pitch go when you told the network about it?
Jim Norton: Well thank you! Michael licked my head on his own and the ass slap was his idea too! But yeah, Kenny was Emmy-worthy. What a wonderful and marvelous talent Kenny is. In all honestly, EPIX at first was a little hesitant to do it because they thought it was kind of a rape visual. I was like, let me just do it and show the audience because we don't show rape or anything. It's just him standing over me. When the crowd reacted the way they did, EPIX was cool about it. Of course at first they were a little nervous about it because it implies visual ass fucking so…you know.
All of your intros have been really edgy but it's cool that EPIX trusts comics and gives them the freedom to be creative.
They really are great and they allow us to do so much. I'm just very happy to do something with them again. Right now, they're the only people I'd ever want to do a special with. I just wanted to put the intro out there so people will want to watch it and hopefully they'll like it. The special is very honest because I'm expressing my opinions and overall, I hope that people will think it is funny. I think it's pretty good so I just hope people enjoy it.
I think everyone will relate to a lot of it but do you think that there'll be some people looking to complain about some of the things that you say?
I don't think there's anything in there that they can get because I explain most of my points really well. I'm talking about the school shootings but, I'm using it as a way to attack the media for being pigs. I use the idea of rape jokes as a way to point out how phony people are for getting upset. I use them as a way to attack the press for being inconsistent and self-serving so, I don't think there'll be any problems.
Is there anything that someone could say to you that you'd legitimately be offended by?
Of course! It's normally a visual thing or something personal. Right after 9/11 I read that some professor had said something about comparing the people jumping from the buildings to little Germans or Nazi's or something. I was very offended by that. I've read many things I've been offended by. The difference is, I don't want people to be penalized for offending. I understand that me being offended is tough shit on me.
I find it very weak that some people glorify the want to have people reprimanded for having an opinion.
Well that's how it is. People are so selective with their outrage and that's why you can't respect it. They're not consistent! If you're sorry, sure. But the fact that people even want to hear it is embarrassing. We're just an embarrassing culture and I really believe that. We're embarrassing ourselves by walking around and telling everyone else how to live and how to be and yet, we want things completely saccharine and given to us in a comfortable package as well. It's just really irritating that we have gone this far into being hypersensitive little shits. It's like, look at the seven dirty words. So if there are seven words that the FCC says you'll get in trouble for saying like fuck, piss, shit, cunt…like there is no broadcaster that can get away with that. OK, that's fair. It's across the board and it's even. It doesn't matter what citizen is saying it, they'll get in trouble for it. To me that is fair. But when it comes to the outrage over social issues, the same people that get offended if you make fun of this, won't get offended if you make fun of that. So fuck them. I don't respect their outrage at all and I don't honor their ideology.
It's also insane to me that the most square and robotic folks in media are the ones who go after comics. It's like, when did the unfunny become the authority on what's personally funny to someone?
Well yeah and people listen to them! It's amazing that they have any voice! They should be allowed to express their opinion but I don't understand why anyone cares what they think! It's like, I didn't tell anybody that I was offended by that guy because who gives a shit? It's not anyone else's problem and he's allowed to have an opinion that I think stinks! That's part of what our country is supposed to be. When you express an opinion that stinks or that everyone hates you're supposed to go wow, at least that person is expressing their opinion and being truthful with their side. Anyone who wants other Americans to get in trouble for saying certain things is a shitty American.
I'm with you, it's enraging. You could seriously be a public speaker. I think about that all of time when I listen to your SiriusXM advice show. It's really great by the way.
Well thank you, that is very sweet. I love doing the advice show because there are a lot more real issues out there than I ever thought. I enjoy doing it very much.
I really thought when you first started doing it that all of the calls would be like, my boyfriend wants to stick it in my ass, should I do it?
I love when they ask stuff like that too because I always say yes. You should let him! [Laughs.] It's my favorite.
Tune in to see “Jim Norton: American Degenerate” on EPIX August 23rd at 7pm (PST). You can also pick up his 2012 EPIX special “Please Be Offended” on August 20th on DVD and CD. For more information check out www.EpixHD.com. For upcoming tour dates go to www.JimNorton.com, tune in to The Opie & Anthony Show as well as The Jim Norton Show where he dishes out advice on SiriusXM, and follow him on Twitter: @JimNorton.