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So Graham Norton!

Irish Comedian, Graham Norton.

By Christopher Reilly, Contributor
October / November 2003

Flamboyant Irish comedian Graham Norton, one of British television’s most well known and in-demand television personalities, is gaining a devoted fan following among American viewers. The Dublin-born Norton’s program So Graham Norton is now airing six nights a week on the BBC America.

Recently Norton was taping his show in New York City and said, “This audience, they are so smart, and warm, and welcoming. They just couldn’t be better.”

Norton, who describes himself as “a shiny Irish poof,” isn’t your average celebrity talk show host. Unlike more conventional late-night formats, So Graham Norton is known for its outrageous blend of crude sketch comedy and politically incorrect banter.

Celebrity guests on the show often find themselves mercilessly probed by Norton about the most personal aspects of their lives with hilarious results. Past guests who bravely squared off with Norton include comediennes Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers, singers Boy George and Dolly Parton, actor Dustin Hoffman, actress Susan Sarandon, and Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson.

However, the guests aren’t the only ones who wind up the butt of Norton’s many jokes. A big fan of interacting with the crowd, Norton calls upon his studio audience to take part in spontaneous and embarrassing polls, compete in ridiculous games for prizes, and bring in funny pictures from home to put on display.

“Unlike the daytime confessional show, we don’t judge them, we celebrate them,” said Norton about the goodnatured ribbing his audience receives.

The son of a Guinness brewery worker, Norton spent most of his youth moving around Ireland before his family settled in the remote village of Bandon, County Cork. He then spent his twenties in London, struggling to supplement his meager acting wages with waiting and bartending jobs. Norton finally got his big break in 1997 when he was recognized for his comedic talents at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival, which led to the offer for his own television program. He also caught the public’s eye with his hilarious appearances on the popular sitcom Father Ted.

So Graham Norton can be seen on BCC America Monday through Saturday nights at 11 p.m. ET. ♦

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