Series / The Graham Norton Show

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The Graham Norton Show is a BBC chat show initially running on BBC Two from 2007, then on BBC One from 2009. Airing late on Friday evenings, it is hosted by Graham Norton (born 4 April 1963), famous for having played Fr. Noel Furlong in Father Ted, and currently as the British commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest (2014's winner, Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, is even one of his guests).

The show has a freewheeling style, with all guests coming on at the same time and talking with each other as much as Graham. The fun is helped along by Graham's affability, a research department that is exceptionally adept at digging up little details that even the guests have forgotten about, and a healthy amount of alcohol to loosen tongues.

The last part is occasionally responsible for sending shows off the rail, such as when Mark Wahlberg infamously showed up drunk to one taping, more or less hijacked the proceedings, and made entertainment news headlines.

Most shows are capped with "Stories From The Red Chair", where audience members tell stories in the eponymous chair. If the story is uninteresting, or if Graham or guest simply takes a disliking to the person in the chair, the unfortunate individual is ejected thanks to a handy lever Graham keeps at his side.

The show itself is a successor to Norton's previous chat shows: So Graham Norton (1998-2002) and V Graham Norton (2002-2003) shown on Channel 4; and The Graham Norton Effect (2004), shown on Comedy Central.

"Let's bring some tropes on!":

  • Accidental Pervert: While promoting X-Men: Apocalypse, James McAvoy almost dropped his drink on the floor but caught it in a way that made it seem like he was trying to sneak a peak at Jennifer Lawrence's crotch. She made sure to tease him about it.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
  • Affectionate Nickname: Graham affectionately calls Robert De Niro 'Bob'. When he appeared with Tom Hiddleston, the latter kept asking if he could call him that as well.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: After noticing James Corden had been flirting with both Jessica Biel and Bradley Cooper, Sarah Millican had this to say.
    "I've just realised I'm the only one on this couch you haven't hit on. Do something now!"
  • Audience Participation:
    • The audience is usually involved somehow with Graham's opening skit before the titles.
    • Graham usually talks to audience members who have submitted stories (usually embarrassing) beforehand. Often, the person telling the story is a huge fan of one of the guests on that particular episode.
    • The "Story in the Red Chair" at the end of each episode, where a few members of the audience sit in the eponymous chair backstage, telling an embarrassing story about themselves to Graham and the guests through his computer screen. If the story is good, they are allowed to walk off but if it is bad or boring, Graham pulls a lever beside him and they are tossed backwards.
    • When Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx appeared to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Graham got several members to demonstrate their 'special abilities'.
    • When Jennifer Aniston guest starred, Graham casually said "so no one told you life was gonna be this way" and the crowd did the synchronized clap from the Friends theme song. Jennifer was genuinely moved by the gesture. And they did it whenever someone else said that line throughout the episode.
    • When Justin Timberlake appeared, various audience members demonstrated their favorite dance moves. Justin assisted one lady with hers.
  • Auto-Tune: Graham brought in an autotune mic for an appearance by Cher, ultimately resulting in him and Dawn French singing a bit of "Believe" into it, which was quite awesomely followed by Cher herself with zero distortion.
  • Big Eater: Jessica Biel confessed to being one. She was on a strict diet for Total Recall but on her cheat day, happily describes herself as getting twenty four donuts from Dunkin' Donuts along with two large pizzas - and stuffing her face completely.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • When a Red Chair guest from Mexico told his story, Salma Hayek was able to guess what the punchline was and could be seen chuckling to herself before he had finishednote .
    • Jessica Chastain and Kirsten Dunst gleefully tell people their favorite German curse words.
  • Black Comedy: Graham takes an astonishing amount of delight at reading Nicole Kidman a letter from the Honolulu Zoo, which states that Hōkūlani, an elephant with which she shares a Hawaiian name due to them being born around the same time, was murdered by another elephant because it was jealous of the affection she was receiving.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Chris O'Dowd noticed a large fly in the studio, prompting a brief discussion on the best way to kill a fly. A few minutes later, O'Dowd takes a sip of his drink and discovers, to his horror, that the fly had landed in it and he'd partially chewed the bug!
    • One audience member interviewed by Graham mentions offhandedly in this clip that she had ditched a date to come to the show. Later on, who should appear in the Red Chair to ask for another date than the guy she ditched? In response, she asks Kylie Minogue to pull the lever on him, which even Graham thinks is cold.
  • British Accents:
  • Brooklyn Rage: Hayden Panettiere parodied this when Graham remarked she didn't seem like a typical New Yorker. She proceeded to quote Goodfellas.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • If Olly Murs appears, expect him to get an especially hard ribbing.
    • Eddie Redmayne got roasted quite a bit as well.
    • All of Josh Widdicombe's appearances so far end up with him getting the mickey taken out of him by the other celebrities:
      Josh Widdicombe: Every time I come here I get abused by Hollywood stars!
  • Camp Gay: Graham himself; he doesn't come off as flaming but his clothes and some of his mannerisms convey the theme. This apparently led to Stanley Tucci modelling his portrayal of Caesar Flickerman off him (as he related when he appeared on the show).
  • Canine Companion: The late Carrie Fisher brought her dog on with her in her first appearance.
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
    • Dame Judi Dench discussed in this interview how her grandson looks very similar to Ed Sheeran, including an incident where the two of them were stopped by people who asked for a photo, and then told Judi "No, not you."
    • An episode with Matt Smith had a man in the Red Chair also named Matt, who as another guest put it "looks more like you than you do."
  • Corpsing:
  • Crazy-Prepared: The research department is able to discover some truly obscure and embarrassing facts about guests and have evidence prepared to back up their claims (such as somehow finding Melissa McCarthy's original headshots when she was convinced she had the only copies left). The show even has contingencies in place for if a guest takes the lever away from Graham to prevent him from flipping people in the Big Red Chair (he just has to mime cranking the lever to signal the booth to play the sound effect and activate the chair).
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The late Carrie Fisher related a story of a man coming up to her once and saying he thought of Princess Leia "four times a day" from the ages of 12 to 22. She finished her story by telling a grossed-out Daisy Ridley "See, you have that to look forward to!"
  • Double Take: Graham when one Red Chair guest's story involved a friend simulating fellatio with an ice lolly.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: James Corden describes his bromance with David Beckham as this. Apparently his girlfriend can tell when David sends him a text, from the giddy smile on his face. He also told Bradley Cooper "you're fit" to his face, assuring him he was sexier than Ryan Gosling.
  • Femininity Failure: Jennifer Lawrence happily talks about an Epic Fail when she tried to be an Abercrombie & Fitch model - she did a photo-shoot with other models playing football on the beach. Her pictures never came out and when her agent wrote to ask why, they only responded with the pictures, which showed Jennifer with a Game Face, nostrils flared and sweat pouring down her nose.
  • Forced Perspective: They did a hilarious opening joke with Graham showing off his ride to actor and car enthusiast Matt LeBlanc and urging him to take it for a drive. Then Matt walks up to the "car", which is a little toy strategically positioned in front of the camera.
  • Funny Foreigner: When Gérard Depardieu appeared on the show in 2012 and ended up telling Olly Murs that he would "look like bullshit" when he is older and calling Damian Lewis 'William'.
  • Furry Fandom: Turns out Eddie Redmayne was one when he was younger. He confessed in this interview to having had a distinctive crush on Nala and Maid Marian. He also agreed when Bradley Wiggins mentioned Cheetara. Anna Kendrick also admitted to fancying Disney's Robin Hood.
    Anna: [laughing] In Eddie's defense, they draw them really sexy!
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: A lot of American guests (especially if it's their first time on the show) will self-censor and ask if it's okay to say certain words, not realizing that the British are more lax about profanity and obscenity than they're used to. Because of this, you have people like Michelle Pfeiffer asking if she can say "hell" and Whoopi Goldberg asking if it was all right for her to say "pubic hair" on air.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Saunders have this reaction when checking out Jennifer Saunders's porn pictures. See One Steve Limit below.
  • Hidden Depths: Some interesting background details about various guests can be revealed:
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Chris O'Dowd, appearing with Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, took a sip of his drink and had to pause when he found an unexpected piece of ice in his mouth. Only it wasn't a piece of ice, it was an enormous fly that he'd partially chewed! Kristen Wiig was beside herself as the audience reacted in disgust.
  • In Vino Veritas:
    • Practically every guest on the show is provided with alcohol before and during tapings which helps the wacky and loose style of the show. Mark Wahlberg once infamously came on completely soused and practically hijacked the show with his antics and rambling. Graham's response: "I've probably done worse."
    • Hayden Panettiere had also had a few when she appeared alongside Dan Stevens and Micky Flanagan. During the musical performance, she got up onto the stage and danced with the back-up dancers.
    • The episode involving the three stars of The Monuments Men (Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville) also became infamous for this (since the three of them downed every glass served to them), with the antics being taken up a notch when Paloma Faith joined them on the couch. To quote their co-star George Clooney when he appeared in a later episode:
      George: They left the premiere, I left them drunk. And they got here, and they got drunker!
    • When promoting X-Men: Apocalypse, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy came on clearly loaded. Jennifer even made a not-so-subtle Take That! to Donald Trump.
  • Insult Backfire: On an episode with Mila Kunis, Jude Law, Dame Judi Dench and Olly Murs, Graham pulled up an tweet old Olly's - asking which celebrity he'd love to have babies with...and it was Mila Kunis. Olly buries his face in his hands, but Mila coos and says she's flattered.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
    • Charlize Theron on her first appearance congratulated Graham on pronouncing her last name correctly (like 'therron' as opposed to 'the-ron').
    • Anne Hathaway admitted on the show that she used to pronounce 'orgy' with a hard g.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Jessica Chastain and Saoirse Ronan both demonstrate the fighting skills they learned while wearing their fancy dresses.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre:
  • Lighter and Softer: The Graham Norton Show is considerably tamer and less sexual than his previous shows.
  • Mundane Utility: Kate Winslet confesses to keeping her Oscar in her bathroom—to allow anyone to play with it when they go in.
  • Odd Friendship: Sometimes, even the oddest guest combinations hit it off and produce the most interesting and funny episodes. In fact, a panel comprised of the major cast of one movie can normally be classified a bland episode—unless the cast hits off really well precisely because of their disparate backgrounds. The producers are so well-aware of this there is even an official video highlighting some of these moments.
    • James Corden got on astonishingly well with Jessica Biel. After her Big Eater moment outlined above, his response was "I honestly didn't think I could find you more attractive" and she made jokes about him making a pass at her routinely. Sarah Millican also got involved, and excitedly compared food stories with Jessica.
      Graham: This is like some sort of over-eaters anonymous meeting."
    • Gérard Depardieu, Damian Lewis and Olly Murs. It started with them all sharing their own personal 'accidental peeing' stories and went uphill from there.
    • Zac Efron, Matt LeBlanc and Lee Mack.
    • Miriam Margolyes and Will.i.am.
    • Bill Bailey, in the context of this show, usually serves as the Odd Friend to the Hollywood guests in his appearances, like Denzel Washington, Nicholas Hoult, Julianne Moore, Cuba Gooding Jr., Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. Which is a remarkable feat for a comedian (considering they normally stick out like a sore thumb in the conversation when lumped with Hollywood guests and/or pop stars).
    • Taylor Swift and Saoirse Ronan, after the former gushed about the latter's performance in Hanna.
    • Katy Perry and James Corden.
    • Graham and Robert De Niro. De Niro enjoys being on the show enough to have made three appearances over the years despite disliking going on chat shows. He continues to be as reticent as ever, but Graham's gotten him to open up more than any other chat show host by making sure that the panels are loaded with people De Niro's worked with who can prod him to tell stories of their past projects.
    • Lady Gaga and June Brown.
    • The aforementioned panel of Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville could also count.
    • Dame Julie Andrews and Jonah Hill, who walked out announcing they were engaged and flirted playfully throughout the night. Also in that same interview, Andrews and Pharrell Williams.
    • Samuel L. Jackson and Keira Knightley. This clip from the tail-end of the episode when both of them talk about shooting sex scenes in film is surreally hilarious.
    • Sir Ian McKellen and One Direction. Sir Ian came out wearing a One Direction t-shirt too.
      Harry Styles: You're amazing.
      Ian: So are you.
    • In a unique case of the entire guest lineup actually managing to do this (precisely because of their disparate work mixed with mutual Self-Deprecation): Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal and Cara Delevingne.
    • Julie Walters and 50 Cent, to the degree where he allowed her to feel his gunshot wounds in his mouth, as shown in this clip.
    • Tom Hanks and Peter Capaldi played up how they both won Oscars at the same ceremony in 1995 (Capaldi winning for a Live-Action Short the same year Hanks won his second Best Actor award for Forrest Gump) so as to tease David Walliams about not having one, as shown in this clip.
      Tom Hanks: (faking frustration) What is the theme of this show if you don't have one?!
    • Greg Davies and Ryan Gosling hit it off a little, as noted under Corpsing above, and got on quite well.
      "I won't forget the day Ryan Gosling high-fived me because I'm officially disabled."
  • Oh, Crap!: Liam Neeson when he met his first confirmed fan in one episode. At first, he thought she was someone else...
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Jennifer Saunders related a story from early in her career where another woman using the stage name Jennifer Saunders was discovered - as a porn actress.
    • Kirsten Dunst and Jessica Chastain hit it off when they discovered that both of them were playing characters named 'Sarah' in their respective upcoming movies (Dunst in Midnight Special and Chastain in The Huntsman: Winter's War). Raleigh Richie then joked that his character on Game of Thrones will be renamed Sarah too.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: invoked Discussed with regards to Olly Murs and Mila Kunis - Graham saying they wouldn't work as a couple because their names wouldn't lend themselves to this. Mila still suggested 'Ollala'.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Invoked when Elijah Wood starts telling Graham that they've permanently built the Hobbiton set in New Zealand; he starts out his explanation by saying that "it's a real place" when he's interrupted:
    Graham: [laughing] NO IT'S NOT!
    Elijah: [good-naturedly] Graham...
  • Running Gag: Whenever there are people who've been in Star Wars on the couch, Graham will have toy lightsabers on standby for them to play with. And when the guests inevitably start playing with them and smashing them together, he'll start yelling about how expensive they are.
  • Self-Deprecation: Bradley Cooper described seeing a paparazzi photo of himself and Ryan Gosling. He noted Gosling looked like he'd just come from a photo shoot, "while I look like that neighbor that never leaves his house."
  • Separated by a Common Language: Anna Kendrick trying to explain to the British audience what power bars and trail mix are.
  • Sex Sells:
  • Skewed Priorities: Parodied by Dominic West when he mentions defending himself in an online forum.
    "You may think I'm talentless but I'm not fat."
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Dame Helen Mirren of all people makes a penis joke to Ricky Gervais.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Graham's previous shows mentioned above.
  • Squee!:
    • Emilia Clarke, being of the generation that grew up with Friends, was so excited to be sitting next to Matt LeBlanc on the couch and asked if he could say his Catch-Phrase for her. She was reduced to giggles when he asked "How y'doin'?".
    • Christine and the Queens upon meeting the four stars of Ghostbusters (2016), to the point where she starts blushing. The four do a pretty good job easing her nerves, saying they're fans of hers as well (Leslie Jones offers to be a backup dancer).
  • Studio Audience: Always filmed in front of one, and Graham interacts with them at least once per show.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • Emma Stone meant to say she was in China and saw a woman using a toilet on the floor. What she actually said: she saw a woman pooing on the floor.
    • Graham said that Charlize Theron was raised around animals, but he said she was "very comfortable around animals".
      Graham: Weren't you kind of raised around goats?
      Charlize: Well start with that.
    • Matt LeBlanc apologized to Emilia Clarke for only having seen the first season of Game of Thrones to which she replied: "You've seen the good bits" only to break out laughing because she realized she just made a reference to her nude scenes.
  • Time Passage Beard: Many people were surprised when Graham came back from hiatus with a full beard in Series 17 (which he's kept since). He explained that he didn't have much to do during the break and got bored.
  • Twerp Sweating: A couple of the male guests have talked about dreading their daughters dating and their (usually bad) attempts at trying to be intimidating in front of the boyfriends.
    • Sean Penn sent his daughter up to her room so that he could get a few minutes alone with her first boyfriend. He attempted to be intimidating but didn't really do a good job of it. Penn noted that even if he really wanted to, he wouldn't have been able to intimidate the boyfriend because he was a champion MMA fighter.
    • Mark Wahlberg talked about attempting to do this when he met his eldest daughter's boyfriend for the first time, even bringing along two burly friends to try and be even more intimidating. He was completely caught off guard when the boy brought his mother and was quickly won over by the fact that the kid was more polite and respectful towards him than his own child. He came to like the boyfriend so much that he was thinking up ways to ensure that the relationship would last and result in marriage.
  • V-Sign: Daniel Radcliffe did this to Graham good-naturedly after being ribbed by Graham about the hair extensions he was wearing for Victor Frankenstein.
  • Wham Line:
    • One Red Chair story featured a young woman who happened to be from the same town as guest Paul Rudd. When asked by Graham if, by chance, the story involved the actor, the woman said no but that Rudd "did go to high school with my parents, though!" Cue Rudd doubling over in embarrassment, Dame Helen Mirren double facepalming in sympathy, and Graham yanking the lever.
    • Another Red Chair story - in an episode with Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Dawn French, and Chris O'Dowd as the guests - featured a young man who talked about a rowdy babysitter practically destroying the house one night. When the angry mother returned home, she turned to the babysitter and said "you're in real trouble, Chris O'Dowd, when I tell your mother about this", prompting an Eye Take from the gentleman on the couch.
    • When coming onto the show to promote Logan, Patrick Stewart shocked everyone by saying that he decided that the film would be his last as Professor X. The most shocked was Hugh Jackman, sitting right next to him, who was rendered completely speechless as Graham also stared wordlessly.
      Patrick: I realized that if this is the end, there is no more perfect and beautiful way to say "au revoir, goodbye, adios" than what has just happened. So...I think this is the end for me too!

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