Jim Norton bares all on the poster for his stand-up special Contextually Inadequate, premiering on Epix April 24. Well, almost all. A microphone covers his private parts, and a few adjustments had to be made in post-production. “It’s me with a shitload of photoshop,” he says. “There were love handles, titties and an appendectomy scar they had to cover up.” Even after losing 30 pounds, he still needed airbrushing? “I’m not the abomination I was — I’m slightly fuckable,” he admits. “But I’m not the stud you see in that photo.” Here are his brutally honest answers to our other questions, including our Lucky 7.
You start off your special by taking shots at Bill Cosby. Did you have any hesitation to dive right into it?
It felt really good just to go after one of the bigger stories in the country. Especially as a comedian, it’s something so close to what we do. You don’t want to have to ease into things. After all this time, if I can’t open by talking about what I want, I haven’t been doing something right.
You joke that the Cosby story made you realize you’re not quite as much of a pervert as you’d thought. Is there any seriousness to that line?
There really is. You start to question yourself. You can only jerk off to so many weird videos before you start to think that you’ve got a major problem. Here’s the rule of thumb: If you jerk off more than 10 times to a video that has a toilet in it, there’s something wrong with you sexually. But I’m not a predator and I don’t hurt people. I’m talking about getting fucked with a strap-on, and I’m not even kidding, but here’s a guy who’s clean and doesn’t use the f-word, but look at what this piece of shit is doing. At least I’m a consensual guy.
You also say Joan Rivers was the most underrated comedian ever. Why is that? Is it because she’s a woman and guys don’t want to put her on their top 5 list?
I don’t know if that’s it. For so many years, she didn’t do standup specials. We knew her as a talk-show guest or host or the red-carpet lady. People forgot she was a real stand-up. I really thought she should have gotten her due more when she was alive.
You’ve been an outspoken defender of incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah. Why?
The outrage is sickening — I didn’t believe any of it. Even if he did use stereotypes, who gives a shit? Are we really so pathetic in this country that we believe making fun of a stereotype or reinforcing it through humor is going to cause people to behave violently or be demeaning to other people? It’s really irritating. So I’m 100 percent behind Trevor. What a bunch of fucking babies Americans are.
Do you ever worry one of your Tweets might get you in trouble with PC critics?
Absolutely, dude. The beauty of achieving only mediocrity is I have nothing they can take. What are they going to do, take my comedy club date in Ohio? You always edit yourself. You want to make sure you’re being funny or your intent is clear. But sure, I think that way. You’d have to be stupid not to think that way in this day and age.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
It was when Vikki LaMotta was the centerfold in 1981. That was my first one. She was so beautiful and sexy, and I knew her from Raging Bull.
What movie scared you the most when you were a kid?
The 1979 TV version of Salem’s Lot. The kid scratching at the window and the monster coming out of the coffin terrified me. But it doesn’t hold up.
If you ended up on Death Row, what would your last meal be?
What was your first car?
My father’s Topaz. It was a real hunk of shit with 96,000 miles on it. That car saw a lot of prostitutes in its last few days.
What’s your pop-culture blind spot?
I don’t know a lot about newer music. Black Sabbath questions, I can answer all day. But if you want to talk about music after 1995, I have zero idea what you’re referring to.
What was the first song you knew all the words to?
It was either “Rock and Roll All Nite” or “Happy Birthday.” I’m just saying “Rock and Roll All Nite” to be cool. It was actually “Happy Birthday.”
What’s been your favorite mistake?
When a New Brunswick, N.J. cop told me that a lot of those girls who’d been going down on me were actually transsexuals. I accepted it, and said, “Goddammit, I’m going to stop pretending I don’t enjoy this anymore. I’m just going all out.” It started out as a mistake and I turned it into a fucking lifestyle.
Currently Senior Articles Editor for Closer Weekly, Bruce Fretts wrote TV Guide Magazine‘s wildly popular “Cheers & Jeers” column for 10 years. His work has also been published in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Emmy Magazine, Vulture.com and TheMid.com. You can follow him on Twitter @brucefretts.