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Beware of Jim Norton's standup act: His comedy isn't pretty, but it's still pretty funny

Fellow comedian Adam Carolla calls Jim Norton "the filthiest human being on the planet." And that's a friend talking.

Indeed, Norton has a reputation for debauched, sexually explicit material. But he's also one of the most respected stand-ups in the business, which is one of the reasons he's proven so popular as a co-host of The Opie & Anthony Show, and why comics ranging from Carolla to Jay Leno to Louis C.K. keep asking him to guest on their shows.

But there's much more to Norton than the stuff we can't print. Find out this weekend, when he performs at the Improv in Ybor City. First, the bestselling author (I Hate Your Guts and Happy Endings) agreed to answer a few questions by e-mail.

Do you do Bubba the Love Sponge when you're in Tampa? Or is that a no-no for anyone in the Opie and Anthony family?

I've never met Bubba, but there's definitely no hostility between his show and ours anymore. I don't know if he'd want me on, but I would do it, sure.

In your experience, are radio feuds overblown? Have you been involved in feuds where there's genuine bad blood?

They're definitely overblown. When they're happening there's bad blood, but when it's over, the whole thing usually seems idiotic. We've feuded with everyone at one point and I've wound up meeting most of them and we've gotten along well. When you have 20 hours a week to cover, anything can get blown out of proportion simply because you have to fill time.

As a radio vet, how have you liked doing other comics' podcasts, like Maron, Carolla, Rogan and Fitzsimmons?

I've loved doing them for different reasons. Maron's was very intimate; just two guys in a small room. … Rogan, Fitzsimmons and Carolla were done in front of a live audience, which I loved the energy of. Nothing replaces radio though; Opie and Anthony is definitely the main gig in my career.

The last time I saw you on TV was during the Dane Cook episode of Louie. How did you get on board with that episode? What was your reaction to the scene between Dane and Louis C.K.?

Louis called me at 6 on a Friday and asked if I could be in the Bronx by 8, because he has the planning ability of a fly (to clarify, flies are notoriously awful planners). The comic who was supposed to do my part had a gig, so Louis sent a car; I hopped in and promptly got lost in the Bronx. I haven't seen the episode though, because I'm writing something. Whenever I'm working on something, I don't watch comedy at all, so I know I won't be influenced.

Tell me something cool about being a correspondent for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Jay gives me a car every time I do it (which is odd, since he won't provide hotel or airfare). So, after we tape, I spend the next three days driving a classic vehicle, which usually has no roof, across the country.

Would you give up standup to be a huge success in film, TV, radio or literature?

I've already done TV, radio, written books and a bit of acting in films. I've proven mediocre at them all. I'd only give up stand-up if I knew I'd be a success in adult films.

.if you go

Jim Norton

Shows are 8 tonight, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday at the Improv 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $22. (813) 864-4000.

Beware of Jim Norton's standup act: His comedy isn't pretty, but it's still pretty funny 09/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:59am]
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