Chat king Graham Norton has spoken about why he thinks he has been at the top of the game for so many years – he is happy to play second fiddle to his guests.
For more than a decade the Graham Norton Show has been the go-to place for Hollywood stars to appear and promote their latest movies.
Norton has hosted almost every Hollywood legend throughout his career, and believes he is the number one choice for actors because he is happy to let them take the limelight, as opposed to some comedians who have also had their own chat show.
Norton said: “They think, ‘I’m going to like this,’ and in fact they don’t, because they get confused, because their name is in the title of the show and because you walk out and everyone is clapping and it’s great, it’s all about me, look at you, you love me, I’m the big man, and the minute you get the guest out, it’s not about you.
“You’re low status and I think that doesn’t suit a lot of people, particularly a lot of performers, because they were bred for stardom, not to be some sort of comedy butler handing people feed lines.”
Hosting the superstars of Hollywood is not always an easy task though, as many are not the great storytellers and entertainers fans might expect.
Norton explained: “There’s the guest sitting on the couch thinking, ‘But I love this show. Tonight just, I don’t know, it’s just not that good tonight,’ and you’re like, ‘Because you’re on it. Because you’re here. You’re ruining it’.
“It happens quite often where people are like, ‘Normally this show is so fun,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, but you’re here. You carry this with you. You kill every room you enter.’”
However, years of experience has helped Norton learn the tricks to keep his shows moving along at a comedic pace.
The main trick is to have a comedian on the couch, who can be relied upon for some funny comments if things are moving a little slow.
The Corkman explained: “That is the joy, because if I’m getting nothing, if that is a bloodless stone then you turn to someone else, or I might be lucky to have a comic at the end.
“They can do 20 minutes, so off they go. And actually sometimes, it’s as illuminating to see a really kind of stern actor who is not really good at telling their stories to see what makes them laugh, to see the comic is really tickling them.
“That’s, in a way, more revealing than the answer to any question I could ask them.”