Graham Norton Reveals The Celebs Who Surprised Him The Most
Throughout 27 seasons of The Graham Norton Show, the talk show host has seen the world’s biggest stars sitting on his couch.
There are fan-favourites, like the hysterical Miriam Margolyes who stops by to regale Norton, his celebrity guests and live audience with her surprisingly filthy tales, and there are guests who always deliver the goods like the reliably charming Tom Hanks.
But speaking to 10 daily via the phone, Norton said there was one guest who really surprised him when he stopped by the couch.
“Chris Pratt… you'd think he’d probably be a bit of a knucklehead but he was so funny and charming and self-deprecating,” Norton said, “I really, really enjoyed him so I look forward to him coming on.”
Pratt’s career really took off when he starred in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer, but when he stepped into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Guardians of the Galaxy frontman Star-Lord, he debuted a very different, chiseled physique.
Pratt has appeared on Norton’s couch a handful of times, showing off his Only Way Is Essex accent as well as attempting a six-minute magic trick for Will.I.Am.
The way Norton’s show curates a couch of celebs -- rather than the traditional talk show format where guests appear in-turn siloed from each other -- means the dynamic is a lot looser, with guests interacting with each other. Often, Norton admits, it means they have to carefully think about how the couch is put together.
“We juggle it as much as you can,” he told 10 daily, “for instance if we’ve got someone like Miriam Margolyes we think, ‘Hmm who might enjoy Miriam?’ Or you have a couch and you’re thinking, ‘You know what would help that couch? Miriam’.
As much as they try to plan, Norton said there’s no way you can guarantee a couch is going to work. Thankfully, there are some guests that are reliable enough to turn any group of celebs around.
“Helen Mirren’s very good when she’s on the couch,” Norton said.
“All the other guests really respect her because she’s this great actress, but then what she’s very good at is she shines her light on them, she asks them questions,” Norton said.
“A funny thing is they'll open up to her in a way they won’t open up to me, like ‘Dam Helen Mirren’s asking me questions!’ She can turn a dullish couch around, she’s very good.”
The couch also has the magical properties of revealing more about a celeb than you’d think, Norton explained. Though many talk shows rely on celebs telling anecdotes, Norton said watching how they interact with each other in a more casual setting like his show can tell you everything you need to know about a celeb.
“Interview questions are just a tool, in a way, to get people to talk. But people reveal far more in how they react with other people -- not the host -- but other people on the couch.
“The stories that make them laugh, the things that interest them, the big stars who just stare at themselves in the monitor who don’t look at the other people on the couch, versus the big stars who absolutely turn away from me and are really interested in their fellow actors.”