“Oh, America, you love the clapping,” British comedian and BBC chat-show host GRAHAM NORTON said once the Tuesday-night crowd at the CORONET THEATER settled down from his stage entrance for his one-man show, RED-HANDED. “That’s why you rule the world!” Eschewing the local comics’ standard water bottle for a plus-size glass of white wine, Norton sussed out his fellow British/Irish expats before admitting his outfit made him look like “Liberace meets the priesthood.” That led him to the current fascination with gay priests. “Where I grew up in Ireland, there was only one gay bar — the altar rail,” he said to big guffaws and a few groans. “Nothing fancy, really — just red, white and bar stools.” Comedian BOB SMITH was among the many yukking it up as Norton explained he was fine with the fact that he didn’t have a boyfriend. “Being single is a choice,” he said bravely. “It’s my second choice.” He then went on to note that mindless sex from star fuckers is hardly a bad thing. “Oh no, that blow job feels really shallow,” Norton said with mock disappointment. Pulling up a copy of the gay rag Frontiers, he wondered if anyone read the first 30 pages of the magazine, which got a big laugh from audience member and Frontiers editor MIKEL WADEWITZ. Norton then proceeded to page through the rag, looking for a sex line to call. With the audience listening, Norton got “Alfred” on the line; the comedian told the hapless fellow that he was 5-foot-2, 220 pounds and suffered from a botched circumcision. Alfred was still up, so to speak, for meeting. That would have been some finale.
Hollywood & Vino
JIMMY KIMMEL gets everything he wants. He wanted his own talk show — he got one. He wanted L.A. to have its own re-creation of NYC’s re-creation of Italy’s Feast of San Gennaro Festival — he got that, too. The second annual PRECIOUS CHEESE FEAST OF SAN GENNARO L.A. took over the parking lot next to what we’ll always call the PALACE, otherwise known as the AVALON, Clear Channel’s umpteenth attempt to rule the world (don’t get us started — oops, too late!). And lo and behold, it wasn’t an idea that went over like a lead zeppole. Speaking of the fried, doughy, powdered-sugary Italian street treat, should KATHY GRIFFIN be eating those? Having turned herself from perfectly cute and spritelike to a va-va-voomish walking advertisement for body augmentation, we were surprised to see our favorite comic dash off with a plateful and a sheepish grin at the festivities’ kickoff “Prima Notte” — that’s “first night” for all you non-Guidos and Guidettes — benefit for youth charities. Not riding the Ferris wheel were DOM DeLUISE, FRED TRAVALENA, JOE MANTEGNA, PETER FALK, RUTH BUZZI, FRANK STALLONE, TOMMY LASORDA, TONY DANZA, ADAM CAROLLA, VINCENT SCHIAVELLI, and virtually any celeb the organizers could find whose last name ends in a vowel (what, Valerie Bertinelli was busy?). DEANA MARTIN (Dean’s bambino) performed, and even though the vibe wasn’t exactly Mulberry Street, watching dressed-up people try to eat a plate of lasagna and hold their wine while walking is always good fun. The free-flowing wine may have had something to do with our bidding $150 on a family-portrait session, which, much to our surprise, we won. And hey, Jimmy — can you get L.A. a football team and maybe a running of the bulls while you’re at it?