Latenight telly is in turmoil. David Letterman is no more with Stephen Colbert ready to take over at some point. Jon Stewart is stepping down in early August. Craig Ferguson, sadly, has left the latenight building and Conan, as he freely admits, has been banished to ‘basic cable’.
With so much attention to last weeks retirement of everyone’s king of latenight, David Letterman, and due to fact that Craig Ferguson is no longer in the mix, I’m casting my ballot for Graham Norton as the new king of latenight. The Irish born television and radio presenter moved from the Channel 4 to the BBC back in 2005 where his current chat show, The Graham Norton Show, has aired on BBC 1 since 2010, taking over the Friday night slot vacated by Jonathan Ross.
Chat shows in the UK that somewhat mirror those found in the U.S. are few and far between with the major ones being The Graham Norton Show, The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV1 and Channel 4’s Alan Carr: Chatty Man. For my money, Graham Norton is not to be missed. As with a majority of British actors, Norton is brilliantly witty with an ability to keep the conversation moving along with quick witted questions and off-the-cuff side comments on all kinds of subjects. While his style of humor and dialogue does lean towards being a bit ‘innuendo-heavy’, he is able to pull it off without making it feel like you’re watching Hangover 2 or any one of the Anchorman franchise.
Anyone who is anyone finds their way to the red couches of The Graham Norton Show, whether you are from the UK or America. One of the great things about the show is that all the guests come out at once giving actors who may or may not know each other the opportunity to interact from the very beginning as opposed to the old school practice of bringing them out one at a time. Word of caution, if you’re in the audience, definitely stay away from the red chair!
Norton’s style is so comfortable that he gets his guest to do all sorts of things that they probably would wish they rather hadn’t done in hindsight. Who else could get Benedict Cumberbatch to do his best impressions of both Chewbacca and Alan Rickman and, even though he can’t, try to say the word ‘penguin’ on the show. Also, much to the delight of Colin Farrell, getting Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame to sing “The Elements Song” is priceless.
So, let the comments fly. Graham Norton…king of latenight? Ready? Set? And….comment.