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The Graham Norton Show
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that few topics are off-limits in this bawdy UK talk show. Host Graham Norton and his celebrity guests often exchange risqué sexual innuendoes (including many that reference homosexuality, since Norton is openly gay) and discuss drinking, drug abuse, time spent in rehab, and other mature topics. Strong language is a major concern ("s--t" and "damn" are common, but all the "f--k"s are bleeped), as is the potential for graphic conversations about sexuality. Norton also pokes fun at celebrities and average citizens, often planning pranks to put them in uncomfortable situations.
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What's the story?
Popular Irish comedian Graham Norton brings his trademark quick wit and flamboyant style to his self-titled talk show, which is devoted to his love of celebrity gossip, off-beat humor, and all things quirky. Following a similar pattern as most other late-night comedy shows, THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW opens with a monologue, in which Norton offers commentary on a range of topics including current events, celebrity goofs (with the British royal family as the butt of many of his jokes), and personal anecdotes. After that, he introduces his two guests, who join him on the show's homey set for the rest of the hour. Norton trades playful banter and clever quips with his willing celeb victims and toys with members of the live audience, often choosing people to join him onstage for games, skits, and stunts. Some episodes also feature a musical guest, who performs toward the show's end.
Is it any good?
It's easy to see why Norton has long been a popular TV personality in the UK. His razor-sharp wit and gift of gab keep his famous guests on their toes and his fans in stitches. But this talk show comes with a warning about mature themes for good reason: Conversations routinely include strong innuendo, graphic sex references, and lighthearted jokes that cast drinking and drug use in a positive light.
Since little is left unsaid (and what is said is peppered with strong language) and many of the audience stunts are laced with sexual dares (in one, Norton encourages a woman to remove her panties and run through the streets swinging them around), this is an iffy choice even for some teens. Guess that just means parents will have to save Norton for themselves.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different types of comedy. How does the humor in this show compare to others you like? Does the strong language or mature content tickle your funny bone or turn you off? Why? What role do shock value and controversy play in the success of a comedian's material? Do you think it's any more difficult to create comedy around non-controversial content? Why or why not?