Two comedians, one conversation

Local comedian Mike Cella speaks with nationally touring stand-up comic Jim Norton

I have been doing stand up for five years, and it helps pay for my Netflix. You can see me at The Latest Show, playing monthly at The Red Museum. Recently, I got to catch up with one of my all-time favorite comics, Jim Norton.

Norton is known for appearances on Opie and Anthony, The Tonight Show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Louie. Norton brings his Kneeling Room Only tour to Sacramento’s Crest Theatre 8 p.m. Saturday, November 25.

Your current tour is called Kneeling Room Only. Is that a reference to the NFL player protests?

No, it’s a dumb blow job joke. It’s so funny, people see it and think, “Whoa, this guy’s smart and informed!” I’m not. I’m neither.

Do people describe your subject matter as “weird sex fetishes”?

Sometimes they do, but I don’t think any of it’s that weird. It’s always between consenting adults. I mean, it doesn’t involve animals. It’s just normal stuff between people. I don’t even have that many weird fetishes at this point. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed out a lot. My co-host Sam says my midlife crisis is really funny, because all I really want to do is find a nice girl and have a relationship.

Does the comedy lifestyle make keeping a relationship more difficult?

No, not at all, because I have plenty of free time during the day.

Do you think people from New Jersey are funnier?

There’s so many of us living on top of each other, yeah, that’s probably it. It’s just a different way of thinking. People are more cynical. And cynicism is usually funnier than positivity.

After the Louis CK news broke, you talked about it onstage at the Comedy Cellar that night, according to the piece in Vulture.

Yeah. Of course, they butchered the bit. They mixed up a line from my Harvey Weinstein bit with my Louis bit.

Do you feel an expectation to talk about something like that onstage, especially when you know the person involved?

Well, you have to talk about it. It was in the New York Times. We talked about it in the morning on the radio show [Jim and Sam], and when I went onstage that night, [the MC] William Stevenson introduced me by saying, “Your next act was on The Tonight Show and Louie …” And the story had just broken in the Times. So everybody’s thinking it, so if I don’t say something I’m dishonest. Comedians are not role models, but you don’t want to jerk off in front of people either. I think there’s a line there somewhere.

Anything else you’re doing creatively you want people to know about?

Check out The Chip Podcast. Chip Chipperson is a character I do that people love or hate. He’s like a really unfunny lump.

So like you, but less funny.

Yes, absolutely! Funnier, actually.