I first discovered Jim Norton through watching Louie on FX. He was completely himself, and that's what I love about him. There is no stone un turned (or whatever the phrase is) in his life.
Everything in his life has come out through his humor some shape or another. From misadventures with prostitutes to other misadventures with prostitutes. He gives everything he has to his audience in hopes for inevitable laughter.
I fell in love with his stand up, but for the past few years or so I have been indulging in his work on The Opie and Anthony Show. Out of all the stand up comedians, Jim Norton has to have the widest range of astounding characters. Lyle 'Chip' Chipperson with his hilarious tsts commas. Ted Sheckler's vast variety of money making emporiums. Uncle Paul's many misunderstandings with children. Edgar Mellencamp's dry teeth. Turk February. And of course Helen Bergeron's amazing tag lines and telling it how it is. He creates plenty of other characters through combining characteristics and his ability to commit and hang onto key phrases that define them.
One thing in particular that makes his characters so concrete, is the language he uses for each of them. And the catch phrases he gives them. He can even overlap them and/or use them both in the same bit. But the phrases he gives for them are so individually unique and incredible.
He also has an amazing ability to twist the language of any characters including himself. Simple pronunciations like "Ahppie" and "Remahtley" for "Opie" and "Remotely", for Edgar. He has such a good grasp on the nuances of human dialect and he makes me gut laugh in admiration.
He is truly fearless in his opinions, and his ability to point out his own flaws allows him to compare himself to humanity's ridiculosus behavior . His troubled upbringing really does not display a future for success. But his intelligence and his comedy are too good to prevent from the world.
I can't get enough of his characters, but he has never had to do a stand up special as one of them... He has used them for the stage to make them better characters, but he still has the capacity to create new material in his own voice. Of relevant and necessary issues from Donald Trump to Bill Cosby. I for one would love to see a 'Chip Chipperson' stand up special, but Jim Norton doesn't need them to succeed, he is an amazing comedian.
American Degenerate (2012), Please be Offended(2013), and Contextually Inadequate (2015), are his newest specials, and so close together. He's insanely prolific and these all hold up as great Comedy Specials.
I read his book Happy Endings, it was amazing. I've never laughed so many times reading line after line. Every page is jam packed with funny comparisons and one liners. The whole book is laced with cringe worthy and offensive jokes.
He is a necessary force for giving politically correct douche bags a kick to the groin on any topic. His complete honesty is extremely noble, which makes him a Stand up superhero.