In the theater, you could barely hear Lemmy from Motorhead, and not a lick of his theme song, but everything comes through a-OK on TV, including some fun banter between Norton and Lemmy. Also, making this episode his debut is quite a statement, whether Norton intended it that way or not, as he booked both Jim Florentine, a comic Norton introduced as getting him his first gig in 1990 (which makes it odd that it’s now Norton giving Florentine a break), as well as Artie Lange, who as they used to say in the biz, works for a competing morning radio program. Lange’s stand-up, which hadn’t impressed me as much as his personal health deteriorated, sounded different on TV. His jokes about drug use sounded more like a plea for help from the audience. I know he since went into rehab, and hope he’s doing better. The other two performers on the debut episode were relative youngsters Anthony Jeselnik and Whitney Cummings. They both did well, as they usually do. As I wrote after watching two of the other episode tapings, it really does come across as a white, suburban, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Not that that’s a bad thing. It will be interesting to see what Norton does next with the series.
The next new episode airs between 11:59 p.m. Friday and 12:01 a.m. Saturday.