Aside from Doug Stanhope, there’s no living comedian that’s more painfully honest than Jim Norton. To say Norton is an open book is an understatement. He frequently discusses his sex addiction, his numerous encounters with prostitutes, etc. without batting an eye. And doesn’t care what you think … at all. In fact, one of his stand-up specials was called “Please Be Offended” and one of his books was titled “I Hate Your Guts.” Many people are put-off by Norton’s willingness to delve into the darkest parts of his life so openly, but I find him extremely funny and refreshing. I don’t always agree with him politically, but I appreciate his honesty and his disdain for anyone who isn’t equally as forthright about their dark side. In a world where pious and sanctimonious bulls–t is increasingly praised, we need more artists like Norton.
Having said all this, my favorite part of Norton’s comedy is his pathetic, creepy, deluded, and brain-damaged alter-ego Chip Chipperson. Chipperson is a masterpiece of anti-comedy, the equal of anything Andy Kaufman or Sacha Baron Cohen has ever done, if not any character Phil Hendrie has conceived. But many people, including some Norton fans, HATE Chip. And I can’t blame them. Seriously, Chip is THAT f–king annoying and repulsive. But to appreciate Chip is to love him. Jennifer Carmody interviewed Chip for her podcast and for Chip fans, this is pure, undiluted Chip at his finest … or worst … I realize it’s hard to tell the difference.
If you’re even remotely sensitive, please don’t listen to this. The language is beyond not safe for work. The first 2/3 of this are gold. However, in the last 1/3, Norton goes into some of his other disturbing alter-egos and while funny, is uneven and isn’t quite as good as the first 2/3. But if you’re a fan of anti-comedy, strap in.
Here’s another in-depth interview with comic genius Phil Hendrie, this time by actor/comedian Kevin Pollak for his online talk show “The Kevin Pollak Chat Show.” I’m not sure when this interview was done, but it’s even more in-depth (and p–s your pants hysterical) than the terrific one I linked up last week that Marc Maron did with Hendrie.
For the uninitiated, Hendrie’s talk radio show is basically Hendrie playing himself as a frustrated straight-man radio host interviewing people who are … to put it kindly … some of the most repulsive, idiotic, insensitive, and delusional human beings who have ever existed. The catch is that Hendrie also plays the people he’s interviewing. The joke is on those in the audience who have no clue this is a joke and call in to mercilessly berate the interviewee. The show is comic gold and is the best parody of talk radio you’ll ever experience.
If you’ve never heard Hendrie, this is the place to begin. Hendrie discusses in-depth into why he does he does and goes into the background of several of the characters he’s created on his legendary radio show. If you have heard of Hendrie and especially if you love him, this will be a lot of fun.
The interview is long (approximately 2 hours) … and doesn’t really start until about 22:45 into the program … , but I promise, it’s very entertaining and extremely funny. I should warn you that if you’re sensitive about … well … almost anything … Phil WILL offend you. His job for the last 20 + years has been finding everyone’s sensitive spot and creating a character that will jab a knife in it. Not safe for work or little ones, but I guarantee that you won’t have a better time being offended anywhere else.
And finally … damn, Kevin Pollak is a kick-ass interviewer! But damn, that’s a LONG intro.
Phil Hendrie is, hands down, the funniest human being on radio. While I think Howard Stern may be the funniest “off the cuff” humorist on radio, Hendrie is a true artiste and what he does night after night is nothing short of brilliant … almost at an Andy Kaufman-level of comic genius.
If you’ve never heard of Hendrie, here’s the premise of his show: Hendrie plays himself as a frustrated straight-man radio host interviewing people who are … to put it kindly … some of the most repulsive human beings who have ever existed. Among the wretched that Hendrie has interviewed: a man who believes you should protect children from predators by forcing them to never bathe and get fat; a man who wants to sue his wife and children for not letting him take the family savings to Norway so he can “get his head together for six months … to five years” because he fears a terrorist attack; a pornographer upset because the City of New York has denied him a permit to make a porn film at Ground Zero called “9 or 11 … Take Your Pick … Let the Healing Begin”; a woman who wants to sue her neighbor for choosing not to have a C-section because her neighbor agreed to let the woman use her baby in a “prettiest baby” contest and the woman is afraid the baby will be deformed because it’s coming out of a … well … narrower opening … and so on … and so forth. The big “secret” is that Hendrie also plays the people he is interviewing. Who’s not in on the joke? The callers who call in to tear these “guests” apart. Hendrie’s show is, hands down, the best satire of talk radio that’s ever been conceived. And every single one of shows has left me convulsing in hysterics.
As always, Maron delivers a GREAT interview with Hendrie. Hendrie dishes not only about his history and how he developed his comic genius over the years, but also gives his assessment on the current state of talk radio. If you have any interest in comedy, talk radio, technology, or media studies, this interview is essential.
And please … if Hendrie interests you at all … throw him some money at his website and get access to not only his current broadcasts and podcasts, but some of his classic shows from over the last 15 years or so. Or you can listen to some freebies through iTunes (download anything that has “Classic Phil Hendrie” in the subject line). Some may sneer and say this is just the radio version of trolling, but I would vehemently disagree. Holy mackeral, trust me when I say that this is some next level s–t!