Monday, April 5, 2021

Guilty Pleasure: The Graham Norton Show

I love talk shows. I have loved them since I was a young girl. Oprah will always be my favorite, but these days if I want to watch a talk show that would make me smile, it will have to be the British program The Graham Norton Show. It is that one show that is guaranteed to make me laugh when I need it most. Thank God for online videos!

Living in the Philippines means we do not get the show on TV. I only discovered the show on Facebook, and I have been watching and following it from there and from their YouTube channel since then. From what I’ve been able to gather online this is a show that has been on air since 2007, with the show featuring the same things that most talk shows have: several guests who share a couch while they talk to the host, a musical guest, and the red chair portion where people share a story and there is an option for the guest (or Graham himself) to pull a lever to dump the speaker if the story was not interesting enough. 

While the interviewees are mostly there to talk about whatever latest project they worked on and their people probably gave talking points beforehand, there is something about Graham Norton and the atmosphere in this show that makes the guests more relaxed and less guarded about the way they respond to questions. I have seen so many hilarious moments because of how relaxed the guests are that they start sharing stories that they did not expect to or react in surprising ways to the stories of their fellow guests. It seems like such a fun show to be a guest or be in the audience of. I would choose this talk show over the other talk shows on air today. I would not want to be in the red chair though (but I’d LOVE to pull the lever!).

There are so many great interviews through the years that I have seen online, there are too many of them that I can share on this post so I will just pick some “best of” videos from their YouTube channel:

Could it be the wine? How charming Graham Norton can be? Or could it just be that the British have a completely different vibe compared to American audiences of other talk shows that I have been used to? I have seen more than one episode where the American guest says that he/she is having fun in the show or that the guest did not expect to share as much as he/she expected to. I think Graham himself once remarked that their guests can be franker on their show more than in shows in America when a guest asked if he could share a certain thing on the air.

I think that with the pandemic and the way that people have to social distance these talk shows, while they still make me laugh, are not as fun as they were pre-pandemic. I think that it should not be that much of a surprise given that the host and the guests are seated apart from each other and are wearing face shields (or worse — the guest is on the other side of a TV screen/online. Graham Norton can only do so much. I really hope that we can all get back to a setting where we can be safe enough not to have as much distance and have to wear face masks and face shields so people can bond in the way that we used to. So that the guests on this show can go back to the way it used to be.

I really wish that we could get this show here in the country. I would love to see full episodes of this one if I can!


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