It’s #FunnyFriday, because why not, right? It seems there’s a day for everything these days. As the great Orange Beast known as Trump marches the world into war, the rest of us need to take a breath and enjoy a laugh. Politics aside, Netflix is aware of this need and is releasing a comedy special every week. That’s where MFR comes in. We’re reviewing each and every one, on Fridays, just in time to enjoy a weekend laugh. This week, Netflix cheated and released a 2015 Mike Epps stand-up. So we’re going back to one we missed in March from comedian Jim Norton.
Enjoying standup comedy is kind of like meeting that friend who just “clicks” with you. Comedians have a unique style, rhythm, and pool of subject matter. Viewers will either connect or they won’t. But once you do, the connection is usually life-long. Perhaps the comedian is less funny one time or another, but it’s rare that a viewer turns away entirely from someone they’ve enjoyed in the past. How does this relate to Jim Norton? Well, he’s hilarious, if you click with him. But he’s not afraid of speaking his mind, and his style of comedy is not for everyone.
Norton’s 2017 Netflix comedy special entitled “Mouthful of Shame” is loaded with what makes Norton one of the best standup comics. Topics range from romance to sex and Norton’s superbly smart and often filthy routine goes to town with it.
From the very start, after a hilarious intro including famous friends, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, and Robert De Niro, Norton dives into his strange fame. He’s not “Kevin Hart famous, ” but he’s famous in the sense that women recognize him as either an entertainer or creepy stalker.
Dicks, transgender sex, perversion, childhood,
there’s no place Norton stories will avoid.
Norton’s effortless style is reminiscent of that one friend everyone has. And that one friend is the guy or girl who says the most inappropriate things at usually the most inopportune time. People are shocked, maybe ashamed, but can’t fault the friend because what they said was honest. That’s Norton in a nutshell except his timing couldn’t be any better.
In a bit midway through, Norton talks about AIDS and his degrees of separation from Charlie Sheen. According to Norton, he’s shared four lovers with Sheen. Norton keeps three of the people private, but one, pornstar Bree Olsen, he speaks about publicly (and vice versa). Norton though, takes an interesting turn, explaining how he’s never personally taken an AIDS test because he’s scared. He turns it into jokes about how he just visits with old lovers regularly, and if they’re fine, then he’s okay too. But what a legitimate, fundamental fear to touch upon that so many people share whether it’s avoiding a test for a deadly disease or something less fatal but still soul-wrenching or otherwise scary.
Dicks, transgender sex, perversion, childhood, there’s no place Norton stories will avoid. Sometimes Norton makes us cringe from the detail he puts into a bit, other times he makes viewers think. Throughout it all, if we become friends with Norton’s stage presence, he’ll keep us laughing.