U.S. Lands Brit Talk Hit
Connoisseurs of BBC America already know Graham Norton from his cheeky U.K.-based talk show, So Graham Norton. Starting in June, Comedy Central will introduce him to a wider American audience with The Graham Norton Show. "It's exciting," the Dublin-born wit says. "We're taking a very popular, successful comedy show in Britain and remaking it for the American market. Who knows? By June, I could be the new Coupling!"
As usual, he's smarting off. If you recall, NBC's version of Coupling was hyped as "the next Friends," then vanished soon after. But Norton doesn't feel as much pressure on his wacky chatfest. "It's not big. It's not clever," he says. "It's the sort of rubbish you get drunk at parties and laugh about, but with celebrities and an audience there as well."
Don't know much about Norton? Here's some vital stats: Harvey Keitel hates him. (It's a long story.) He's the worst-dressed man in the U.K., according to British GQ. "I beat [Prime Minister] Tony Blair," the 40-year-old laughs. "He was Number 2, so to speak." And Norton's also an openly gay man. Will life be different as an out gay celeb in America than it is across the pond?
"Well, first of all, I'm just out and gay here, not a celebrity," he cracks. "I can ramble on for hours about [how] in Britain, it's marvelous, so easy to get [sex]... It's a perk, why deny it? But, mind you, it's not as easy as you think."
Although courted by major broadcast networks, the mouthy Norton opted for Comedy Central. That way, he wouldn't be asked to clean up his act. "I watch Comedy Central," he says. "I could see my show fitting in there. I think if we tried to go to a network, we'd be severely limited. We don't set out to shock. We set out to amuse. It's just that a lot of things that make us laugh do tend to be quite rude and a bit schoolboyish."