A week or so ago, I had a rather painful tension headache. I asked on Twitter and Facebook for some ideas to get rid of it. An old school friend of mine from England first suggested (in true English fashion) that I should try poking my finger in my eye, because that would distract me from the pain in my head. Then he came up with a fantastic suggestion: laughter and some gentle exercise.
For the exercise, I walked up and down a step while watching TV. To make me laugh, I chose Graham Norton. My headache soon cleared.
The Graham Norton Show is the most recent and, in my opinion, most consistently funny of Graham's TV series. I have seen most of his series, and I have to say that it seems to have taken a while for him to hit his stride. It loosely follows the chat-show format - more on that later. It's shown on BBC America. That means that I can watch it legitimately on DirecTV, as opposed to watching 8-minute snippets on YouTube, as some people (a-hem!) apparently do with other British shows that they cannot watch otherwise in the States.
The flamboyantly gay host starts, as is customary in the chat show format, with an opening monologue. This is usually a comedic look at some of the week's news, gossip, TV and movie happenings. Then he brings on two guests. Finally, he brings on a musical act. Because of the show's American audience, Norton ensures that American stars appear alongside popular British stars. Having the two guests appear together is a stroke of genius, because not only do you get the conversation between the host and guest, but also between the two guests. It's funny watching American stars trying to get a handle on what the show is about. It sometimes takes a little while for them to understand the laid-back style, being allowed to swear (On BBC America, the swearing is bleeped out) and drink alcohol. Some never quite get it, but it is very entertaining to see a show where a guest relaxes very quickly, and some seem to love it.
Of course, with Norton's background as a comedian, the humor is always front and center. However, he evidently has some very good researchers, as his guests are frequently surprised with some of the information Graham has about them. Not only that, but he often uses the computer by his side to show funny stories from the Internet, gossip about a guest, and so on. Very often, audience members and guests will be invited to play some kind of game (often role-playing) related to one of the guests.
Next time you have a headache, or just fancy a laugh, try a dose of Graham Norton.
Are you a Graham Norton fan? Are you into any other current British shows? What British shows would you recommend for the American viewer? Please post a comment.
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