Like a modern-day Don Rickles, Jim Norton can get away with saying all of the things the rest of us can not. Even better than just getting away with openly talking about the most taboo aspects of our culture, Norton manages to continually fill rooms and venues to capacity with people in stitches along for Norton’s weird ride. Friday night at the Vogue Theatre marked not only the first Jim Norton performance in our city but also the comic’s first JFL NorthWest appearance.
Local comic Erica Sigurdson did a highly commendable job warming up the Vogue audience with enough offside material to warrant landing on the same bill as the raunchy headliner. The West End, Vancouver resident, opened with a low-income banking joke and went straight for the jugular with a hilarious take on politics and abortion. Thanking the crowd for going along with her choice of racy material Sigurdson doubled up on the hot-button topic and then seamlessly parlayed her act into a car-to-go sketch. Sigurdson killed it on stage by including local references mixed with global issues in a well crafted set that had everyone in the Vogue giggle-ready for the headliner. Touching on everything from internet dating, animal rescue, the choice to live child-free (due to living in the West End), Sigurdson had the right material for the job. Showing off her wit with a little bit of improvisation Sigurdson successfully riffed about airdropped dick pics and Uber with the crowd. Sigurdson is another hilarious Vancouver comic in a rising scene of funny people in our city that is finally starting to emerge.
Anyone who is familiar with Norton’s radio show, multiple podcasts or his stand-up knows that nothing is over-the-top, too offside or embarrassingly bizarre enough for the funny-man not to speak about while on stage. Beginning the night (as he often does) by referencing hookers in Vegas Norton went on to shamelessly talk about Harvey Weinstein, #Metoo, orthodox Jewish mohels at a bris, the anti-circumcision movement, and only the dirtiest of strip-clubs, all in side-splitting fashion. Nothing is off the table for Norton as evidenced Friday night as he spoke about getting off on body odour, the troubles with getting older and pulling out during sex, or his late-friend (the great) Patrice O’Neal. The candid comic took the time to hilariously riff about having a husband’s package on his face during an oral threesome and even shared his bit about arching his ejaculate all over his ex-girlfriend’s cat in a shared moment of understanding with the feline.
Of all of the comics at this year’s JFL NorthWest Norton is easily pegged as being the filthiest of the lot. Fulfilling all of those raunchy expectations and unapologetically going above and beyond the most absurdly subversive subject matter, Norton takes the prize for both the most mischievous as well as the funniest hour of stand-up this writer has had the pleasure of taking in live (including Rickles).