Edinburgh intros #29: ‘Pig-rat hybrid’ Norris is adamant that comics should be naff idiots rather than like rock stars you idolise
1. “Joz”. Tell us a bit about the show.
The show is a bit to do with my mum and a holiday in Cambodia and some raisins and an invisible dog and the cost of creativity. And it’s got Neil Young in it. It’s just a collection of ideas I feel are funny deep in the middle of my brain, really. And then a series of extrapolations and assumptions and apologies to try and communicate to an audience why I find them funny. But I guess that really it’s about being on your own in a flat trying to justify why you want to stick a big red toilet seat on your head for a career in the wake of everybody else moving out and telling you they’ve to get on with their lives and they can’t hold your hand any more. That kind of thing.
2. What’s your favourite bit of it (so far)?
I think the silliest, most visceral laugh in it is the bit with the invisible dog, which I won’t say any more about or it won’t be as visceral. The best-written bit is the bit about my holiday in Cambodia and my visit to the genocide museum. The most meaningful bit is the bit about Morgan Freeman working in Subway.
3. If your show were a dog, what breed would it be?
A Jack Russell. Sort of adorable, but very enthusiastic. To the point where you almost want to say “Stop being so enthusiastic,” but then you stop yourself because it’s an adorable Jack Russell. It would also be invisible.
4. What’s your walk-on music going to be and why?
I think it’ll be Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. I think the music you play at the start has to be recognisable, but not over-played, and has to be upbeat, and crucially has to be naff. I don’t get comedy shows that play something really bombastic and cool at the start. Comedians are supposed to be slightly naff idiots rather than people you idolise like rockstars.
5. Who will you be living with and how do you expect that to go?
I’m living with a large contingent of the Weirdos gang – Ali Brice, Natassia Caffery, Beth Vyse, Luke Chaproniere, Mark Stephenson and Gareth Morinan. I imagine Ali will go quietly mad again and end up slowly dipping his own moustache into his tea or something, and Beth will spend the whole time shouting at the dishwasher, and Luke will keep chuckling and saying “Genius” to himself. That’s pretty much what happened last year.
6. What will your Edinburgh daily routine be?
I try not to plan a daily routine too minutely, cos a lot of the fun of the Fringe is the stuff that just jumps out at you. From a purely practical point of view, I’ll spend the morning flyering and then I’ll do my show. Oh, and I’ll climb a big hill at least once a week.
7. How cool are you exactly?
It’s a common misconception that I’m a really cool customer. It’s the brightly coloured clothes and the positive demeanour and the fact that I know how to do magic. I’m actually reliably informed by Darren Maskell that my taste in music is deeply out of touch with what’s considered good, and was recently told by a director that I am a “student of aggressive mediocrity” when he learned I’m a big fan of Bad Company’s 80s and 90s output, much of which was produced and co-written by my friend Helen’s uncle. That said, I have designed and printed a deck of Weirdos Top Trumps, one for each of the comics in the Weirdos collective, which is a pretty cool thing to have done. I’m probably a 5 out of 10 for coolness.
8. I want to be cool too please – just like you. I’ve got the sunglasses, now what else do I need?
I subscribe to the Mr Motivator school of thought on this. There was an episode in the 90s where Mr Motivator wanted everyone to think he was cool, so he bought a leather jacket and some sunglasses and a skateboard and started listening to grunge, but everyone still thought he was really lame. Then he sat down on a wall looking depressed and a weird little boy came over with a robin on his finger and the boy said, “Mr Motivator, cool isn’t about wearing the right things or listening to the right music. You just have to be yourself, and cool just comes along.” That always stayed with me down the years. I guess what I’m saying is, get a robin.
9. Who’s this co-worker who said you looked like both a pig and a rat? Is he friend or foe?
The co-worker is every child under the age of 6 in the Balham and Wandsworth area. I do children’s parties around south-west London, and at one party, a girl had an outburst when I was trying to do an impression of a shark and said I was actually a sort of pig-rat hybrid, and all the other kids agreed.
10. Erm … got any holidays planned?
That whole Cambodia thing was my first holiday in years and years and it was really lovely, so I’d like to do another one. Probably a bit less far-flung and exotic next time, though, as I’m a reasonable man. I’d like to see whichever bits of Soviet Moscow are left, so maybe I’ll do that in November.