By Danielle Gorman
People all over the world are massive fans of late night television. We’re talking Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, and, of course, the unforgettable legends David Letterman and Jay Leno. But did you know there’s a whole slew of late night shows you’re missing out on? That you’ve never seen?
“How can this be!” You ask yourself in over-exaggerated astonishment. Well, I’ll tell you. They come from across the pond.
You’ve probably heard of James Cordon by now, English actor (Into the Woods) and inventor of Carpool Karaoke, a late show bit we’re now obsessed with (see him sing with Adele here), but he isn’t the first British late night host to grace American screens. Before him we had Craig Ferguson, lover of puppets, Doctor Who, and his cohost Geoff the robot.
But I’m not talking about British comedians hosting late night shows in America. Oh no. I’m going straight to the source: late night television from the U.K. itself. And the one I have in mind?
The Graham Norton Show:
Graham Norton, a cheeky Irish lad with a penchant for innuendo, practiced comedy for several decades before landing talk show roles which eventually morphed into the celebrated host he is now. Additionally, he’s done radio, acting, reality television, writes a column for The Daily Telegraph, and has published books. Are there any talents he doesn’t have?
While his on-air persona is flamboyant and sassy (he is gay, after all), he nevertheless puts his guests at ease by relating to them personally. He has a knack for getting celebrities of various popularities to open up and tell him their funniest, most embarrassing secrets by teasing them mercilessly, but in good humor. But aside from his obvious talent as a host, what makes his show so appealing and entertaining?
Firstly, the red chair. Yes, the red chair. If you’ve not heard of it, then you should be afraid. The red chair is an ongoing bit where Graham and his guests end the show by watching an audience member (victim) on the screen sit in a red chair and tell a story. If the story is a hit, they all laugh and congratulate the audience member and let him or her go. If, however, the story is not entertaining enough, they pull the lever, catapulting them backwards, heel over head.
Secondly, American talk show hosts haven’t yet mastered the art of interviewing several guests at once. They just can’t do it. Graham, however, effortlessly switches back and forth from Tom Cruise’s newest film to Rebel Wilson’s rapper alter-ego to Benedict Cumberbatch’s inability to say the word ‘penguin.’
And, my personal favorite episode, the episode that aired the same day as the momentous royal wedding, if you’ve got the stamina to watch it:
Proviso—Now, if occasional language or crude content isn’t your cup of tea, then watching this show will be like avoiding a minefield. You’ll be listening to a very funny story which will turn very crude very suddenly. If, however, that doesn’t bother you at all, then crack on and watch it!