Welcome to The Graham Norton Show! Now, there’s a line we all love to hear from our favorite celebrities as they sometimes shout out when kicking off the show! This Friday evening treat had taken the chat show world by storm when it first made its debut on BBC Two in 2007 and continued its rise by moving to BBC One in 2009. And now that it’s already been more than 13 years since Graham Norton and his entourage of celebrity friends have regaled us with their stories and antics, we cannot believe we’ve had the comedy chat show around for so long and still haven’t had enough of it. With more than 470 shows locked in as of Nov 26, 2021, and the pilot that got the journey going, the show is one of the longest-running successful chat shows in television history.
Well, as much as the show has entertained us with unabashed humor through the years, it has also been responsible for some rather awkward and cringeworthy moments. Hey, if you have the world’s most prominent celebrities coming in and sharing the couch along with their stories, you know there’s bound to be at least a step or two amiss. Whether it is an overexcited guest who goes too far with the stories, a glass or two in excess — you do know that Graham’s show serves liquor to its guests — or simply the end of a long day of those neverending press tours, there have indeed been moments where celebrities have made things uncomfortable and weird, yet hilarious.
So, without further delay, let’s begin this show on the side, shall we?
10. Greg Davies and His Escapades
Well, we’ve all been drunk and a few of us even have some great stories to tell, but we doubt many of you out there can beat this story from Greg Davies. Well, it sure made us all laugh but we just couldn’t miss those awkward groans in the audience, let alone the awkwardness of having to imagine Greg in his mother’s knickers. Not to mention that as weird as all this sounds already, the story just kept on getting weirder. A hilarious incident that had the other guests on the couch — Jodie Foster, Russell Crowe, and Ryan Gosling — tearing up laughing, this one remains a favorite for many. Well, when it’s Greg, we know we can’t expect anything less but this one was easily a story that seemed a bit too much even for him!
9. Mark Wahlberg Gets Drunk
The liquor that Graham serves his guests is clearly one of the top reasons that make even the most uptight celebrities let their hair down once they are seated on that couch, but sometimes, the booze starts doing what it does best and makes things a little weird for everyone! One such episode was when Mark Wahlberg put down a glass too many and just couldn’t resist behaving, well, as Mark is sometimes known to behave! It began slowly with the Ted star interrupting the other guests’ stories — Sarah Silverman and Michael Fassbender were on the couch with him. Finally, it was time for everyone to look at one another with those hey-what-do-you-think-is-happening-here eyes when Mark got off the couch, climbed into Graham’s lap, and just cozied up to the host! Graham was clearly uncomfortable but let it slide, just the way Mark continued his weird behavior and later let everyone slide off the red chair without reason! At one point, the Boston star had even dozed off!
8. The Inimitable Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp‘s appearances on The Graham Norton Show have always been entertaining. Lending his eccentric air to every episode he has been in, the stories with Ricky Gervais are the ones that clearly stand out. However, the episode that we’d like to make place for on this list is the one that had just been recorded after the whole Amber Heard fiasco. With Johnny’s reputation still in limbo, there were already whispers doing the rounds as to why Graham had agreed to host the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise star. The ensuing conversations on Twitter became even more uncomfortable when in his monologue, Graham made a joke about Kevin Spacey‘s own tryst with sexual allegations, only to introduce a few moments later another star making headlines for the same reasons. Add to this Johnny’s own behavior on the episode that was a tad more questionable than usual, and you sure had a weird moment on your hands.
7. John Cleese on Taylor Swift’s Cat
John Cleese seemed to have something against Taylor Swift that one day on The Graham Norton Show, and as much as Graham tried to come to the rescue, the awkwardness did hang in the hair throughout the show! “How did it have the accident?” began John, in his trademark delivery style that would otherwise seem quite enchanting, But knowing that this was directed towards a photo of Taylor’s cat that Graham was showing on the screen only made the ensuing interaction weirder. Well, it didn’t end there either! “They’re unpredictable and cussed, like women!” John says at one point, referring to cats and directly looking at Taylor. To the singer-songwriter’s credit, Taylor took on the misogynistic comment head-on, with a brave face and a sassy retort, “Oooooo, we don’t wanna do that!”.
6. Taylor Swift’s Double Whammy with Richard Gere
Remember how sweetly awkward Taylor Swift can herself get sometimes? Well, Graham, the inquisitive little brat that he is, managed to dig up a story that didn’t quite touch the notes we’re sure he must have hoped for. With the ever so handsome Richard Gere on the couch, Graham casually brought up the topic of how Richard and Taylor had met each other at the Golden Globes earlier that year. Richard, looking rather disappointed, mentioned how Taylor had failed to recognize him. To make things worse between them, she had met Richard’s then-wife Carrie Lowell the same evening and had another awkward encounter. The story clearly made Richard, Taylor, Graham, and all those watching at home feel more than a little weird. We are sure the show could’ve done without this interaction!
5. Miriam Margolyes and Her Colorful Stories
Miriam Margolyes narrating an incident that is decent enough to watch in front of your parents or children is unheard of, and every appearance of Miriam’s on The Graham Norton Show stands testimony to this. From statements such as “I’m just fascinated by you because, unfortunately, I don’t know many black people,” to rapper Will.i.am’s face, to “It was a dreadful film!” to Graham’s question on whether she had seen Mamma Mia, Miriam has quite the lineup of weird yet endearing moments. The one that takes the cake, though, is the story of Miriam giving a “helping hand” to a Scottish soldier who happened to be masturbating in a tree! “You have to help the troops!” she exclaimed! Easily one of the hilarious stories from the show, this made even the most uncomfortable viewers eventually laugh out in admiration of Miriam’s unmatched humor.
4. Whoopie Goldberg Discusses Pubic Hair
Everyone loves a Whoopie Goldberg story. Funny and quirky in every way, any anecdote that Whoopie shares make for a great listen. So, imagine the shock on everyone’s face when instead of discussing something that was hilarious enough to get a few laughs on one of the most popular chat shows on earth, Whoopie decided to discuss — wait for it — pubic hair! Well, if this story is already making you feel awkward, imagine how Keanu Reeves and Jamie Dornan felt sharing the couch with Whoopie that evening. Particularly cute were Keanu’s reactions!
3. Eddie Redmayne’s Sexual Awakening Story
Alright, so one reason why this awkward moment is so close to the top of the list is simple. We all love Eddie Redmayne, and we all love how he somehow looks even more endearing when he’s embarrassed! And that’s exactly how things went down in one particular episode of the show. “I loved the Lion King when I was younger, and I had a weird obsession with Nala,” blurts out Eddie, looking absolutely flustered, and we know that revealing this particular fact must have felt even weirder than it showed on his face. Well, the ever so wonderful Anna Kendrick, who was sharing the couch with him, did try and come to his rescue with a story of her own, but we all know that seeing Eddie red-faced over his confession was funnily weird indeed.
2. Madonna Disses Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen is an actor whose impressive career spans an even more impressive six decades. He is often referred to as a national treasure by the English. He has the title of Sir to his name, which says a lot about him to even those who may not know of his career. His brilliant acting skills have seen him take on roles from the science fiction genre to drama. He is one of the most loved actors of his generation and beyond. Well, you get the gist of what we want to say! So, when a person behaves weirdly aloof with the actor and, at the same time, disses a person of his caliber with a blunt, “Well, what do you do?”, you know there’s something terribly wrong about it. Well, this person was Madonna, and to think that all this went down on Graham’s show gives us further jitters! Let alone the absolutely awkward air that Madonna’s cold behavior towards Ian throughout the show brought. It also gave many viewers reason to point out how American celebrities could be so very rude and obnoxious. Certainly not helping the simmering animosity that anyway exists between celebrities from the two sides of the pond, this particular incident sure drew a lot of flak.
1. When Graham Norton Missed a Step or Two
If you thought only celebrities lost their calm, nerve, or poise on The Graham Norton Show, think again! The host of the show and we all know how this one’s as enthusiastic as they can get, has also been known to fumble and stumble into cringeworthy or embarrassing territory. While it is natural to get carried away, given how some of the chatterboxes on the show end up discussing some of the weirdest stuff, things become especially awkward when the host goes haywire! Although rare, this has indeed happened a few times. So, we reserved our first spot for our very dear Graham Norton and even cleared out some space for not one, not two, but three interesting fumbles!
The Wrong Elizabeth
This confession came out of Graham’s own mouth! Not one to take his role as the host lightly, we all love how Graham goes the extra mile to learn as much as he can about his guests. Well, there was this one time when things were quite the opposite — repeatedly failing to get Elizabeth McGovern‘s name right, confusing it with Elizabeth Montgomery. Well, the Elizabeth on the couch took this in her stride and never did correct Graham, but we are sure the award-winning talk show host must have kicked himself quite a few times over this mixup.
Another Mistaken Identity
We all know how Noel and Liam Gallagher do not quite get along with each other. Well, imagine the horror when Graham mistakenly points out that Jack Black had worked with the Gallagher on the couch before. The only problem was that this was the wrong Gallagher! While Graham meant the other Gallagher brother Liam, the mention put everyone on the couch who knew about the feud in an awkward situation. Thankfully, the ever-charming Noel helped Graham out of a tight spot and even coaxed everyone on the couch to look at the camera and wave out to his brother.
The Wrong Sinead O’Connor CD
When Sinead O’Connor appeared on the show, she was already giving out vibes that she was feeling out of place. Whether it was nerves or that heady feeling you sometimes get when you’re doing something you’re scared of, we do not know for sure, but Sinead sure seemed a little on edge throughout the episode. So imagine when Graham added to the awkwardness by announcing Sinead’s new album to the audiences in the studio and at home — with the wrong CD cover! When Sinead pointed this out and grabbed the CD cover, it turned out that the case was empty to boot! Something tells us one of Graham’s staff members must have received a thorough dressing down after the show!
Hey, but we can completely understand how there are bound to be some glitches and faux pas moments after hundreds of hours of filming! So, it’s all good, Graham!
The Show Remains Everyone’s Favorite, Though!
Don’t let some of the weird happenings on this list throw you off! The Graham Norton Show remains one of the best shows ever, and if it weren’t for these few incidents, it wouldn’t have that surprise or imperfectly perfect factor in it either! A show where the talk show host, unlike most other shows, allows guests to speak their mind and share their experiences without interrupting, and indeed a show that lines up the creme de la creme of the global entertainment industry, this one’s a winner all the way. Hey, even Matt Damon guarantees that the show is the most fun!
Add to it Graham’s warm hosting skills and unmatched British dry humor, and you have a show that’s way better than most out there. We all know the battle between US and UK shows is a neverending one, but no matter how you look at it, a spot on The Graham Norton Show‘s bright red couch remains a more coveted prize than any other! Here’s to more amazing episodes from an entertainer who is a favorite on both sides of the pond and beyond!