On each episode of WE tv’s new game show Most Popular (Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET), seven women face an audience of 100 females who, after each revealing round of questioning, must vote for the lady they’d like to leave the stage. The audience members then tell host Graham Norton why they gave the contestant the boot. “Having it be all women gives it an edge,” says Norton, who admits that occasionally he’s appalled by what he hears. (“I did ask,” he says in their defense.) “As a man, I find it fascinating the way that women judge each other. I suppose because women are used to feeling like they’re being judged all the time – when they leave the house, they think about what they’re wearing, how their hair is, they wonder how other people are responding to them in a way that, perhaps, some men don’t – they feel free-er to give opinions about seven women who’ve walked on stage and gone, Yeah, do you like me? It’s a popularity contest, and you can’t explain it: Some people are just likable. A hundred women sit there thinking, Yeah, we like you. Even though you’ve run over your dog or you’ve slept with married men. We just like you.”
How popular will Norton – best known for his hilarious and outrageous chat shows on British TV – be after he takes the EW Pop Culture Personality Test? Let’s find out.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Have you ever written to fan letter to someone?
GRAHAM NORTON: I wrote a fan letter to Rupert Everett once. He was in the Noel Coward play The Vortex in the West End and I’d read in the newspaper that someone wrote a letter to him of complaint saying that they’d enjoyed the show but they couldn’t hear him. They’d wished he’d spoken up a bit. And he wrote them a letter back saying, “Glad you enjoyed the show. I’m sorry your enjoyment was marred by my performance being inaudible. I hope these few enclosed pubic hairs make up for some of the disappointment.” [Laughs] You can imagine this lovely suburban woman was appalled to open this letter and find Rupert Everett’s pubic hair inside. I thought it was hilarious, so I wrote him a letter to tell him I thought it was so funny. I was still at drama school, so this would have been back in 1988.
The piece of pop culture memorabilia from your childhood you wish you still had?
I was a big collector when I was a kid because I grew up in Ireland. There was very little to do, so collecting was almost an activity. I had my David Cassidy scrapbook. But then have you ever met David Cassidy? [Laughs] Yeah, I shed fewer tears about losing my David Cassidy scrapbook than I once did.
Your geekiest possession today?
I have a Carrie Fisher Pez dispenser. Well, it’s a Princess Leia Pez dispenser. I sort of know her a bit, so I see it as Carrie. She came into my house, and that’s just embarrassing that you’ve got a really dusty Pez dispenser of somebody on a shelf in your kitchen.
Your position on karaoke?
Now, my position on karaoke is no, no, no. Honestly, trust me, I have been very drunk very often, and I’ve never done karaoke. Ever. I’ve been drunk enough to dance – well, there’s a long list of stuff that I’ve been drunk enough to do – but on that list is not karaoke. However, if I was going to, I would do The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. I’ve seen a lot of karaoke and this guy got up one night and did “Mr. Brightside” and I thought Ooh, that’s quite easy to sing, and it’s quite effective. What’s odd is, I used to say, “I can’t sing. I’m not a singer.” But then this year I did four months in the West End in a musical [La Cage aux Folles], so I now can’t say that I can’t sing anymore. So my new excuse is, “I am not familiar with the arrangement.” [Laughs] If they could play me the track and then I could do it afterward, I might be happier with it.
The movie you have to watch every time you spot it on cable?
E.T.: I just think it’s one of the best films ever made and really stands up. I still cry. I’ve seen Splash an awful lot. And weirdly, I’ve seen Porky’s seven or eight times. I don’t know why that is. I think because when I was in America as a kid, I’d never seen HBO before and they had it in the house where I lived, and HBO appeared to only own three films at the time, back in the early ’80s, and one of them was Porky’s. Since they showed movies without commercials, I felt obliged to watch it.
The movie that makes you cry, besides E.T.?
Loads of movies make me cry. If I watch a movie on a plane, invariably I cry, but then I think that’s because I’m drunk. I sobbed though Hotel for Dogs. Have you seen Hotel for Dogs? You’re laughing at me. Don’t laugh at me until you’ve watched it. It’s very, very moving.
The chick flick you’ll admit to liking?
I’m very fond of Sandra Bullock. I’ve met her once, and I warmed to her enormously, so if she’s in something, I like it even though I’m not – well, I suppose being a gay man I am her demographic. [Laughs]
The person or band you’ve seen most often in concert?
Dolly Parton. It must be over 10 times by now, which is so far ahead of anyone else. Madonna would be next. I’ve seen her about four times. Dolly is always fabulous: I’m there, stuck to my seat. Madonna comes and goes: One tour is great, one tour there’s lots of toilet breaks.
Last question: Name something in American pop culture you think is overrated.
Gossip Girl. I tried to watch it, and I just didn’t understand it. Normally in a series, you know who you’re supposed to like, it’s kind of clear. And also, normally in a series, it’s clear who it’s about. [Laughs] I didn’t know who it was about, I didn’t know who I was supposed to like, and all the guys in it seem gay. They all seem gay. So it’s really hard to believe any of the machinations of the plot. Because you kinda think, surely, at the end, they all leave high school, go to university, and discover they’re big raging f–s. And it just makes the rest of the show a bit redundant, because you kind of know as an old man that that’s coming.