Norm Macdonald Has a Show season 1, episode 9 recap: Billy Joe Shaver


Episode 9 of Norm Macdonald Has a Show features ‘outlaw country’ singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, who is also one of Norm’s closest buddies.

In a previous episode of Norm Macdonald Has a Show, Norm mentioned that he listens mostly to country music. It’s no surprise that he’d have Billy Joe Shaver as a guest, and he helps make Norm Macdonald’s freewheeling setup work (more so than, say David Spade, who managed to make things seem even more awkward than they probably were).

Of course, awkwardness is part of Norm’s style, so we get to learn strange things like the age at which Billy Joe Shaver lost his virginity. Then, of course, there are hints of unspeakable encounters with watermelons.

More from Netflix

In addition to the live performances, the interview covers a lot of ground. Billy Joe says “You gotta’ lean into pain” when prefacing his story about losing parts of his fingers in a sawmill accident.

He also says he gave the fingertips to a fan but would like them back. Interestingly, this founding father of outlaw country is not the only musician to have damaged fingers.

Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt permanently handicapped his left hand in a fire, but still attained virtuoso status by primarily using the index and middle fingers. Similarly, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi injured his hands in an industrial accident but was inspired by Django to continue on.

He developed thimbles for his injured hands, normally detuned his guitar, used lighter gauge strings, and made more extensive use of his little finger during lead sections.

Drugs and outlaw country

In terms of motivation, Shaver says he’s always tried to beat “Old Five and Dimers.” He seems to have plenty of experience to draw from, too. Born in 1939, he remembers a time when modern toilets were less common. He mentions how outhouses are scary at night, and how he had to empty the trough.

He wrote his tune “Honky Tonk Heroes” in his late twenties. When discussing drugs and country music, he says he likes Johnny Cash’s song “Cocaine Blues,” and admits he did plenty of drugs himself.

He peppers in lines like, “You can inject peanut butter if you want to.” Among other country icons like Waylon, Willie and Cash, he says the common approach was to say, “Give it to Billy and see what happens.” Norm and Billy differentiate peyote from LSD. They agree that, with peyote, you think what you see is real.

It’s also apparent that, at least at one point, Billy punched Norm for telling him to change a line in a song (it’s also claimed that actor Nick Nolte was there).

The two also discussed the poignancy of Glen Campbell’s final song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” about his being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (even for non-fans, it could easily be considered a tearjerker).

Keep it simple, you ol’ chunk of coal

Billy Joe Shaver’s favorite musician is Jimmy Rogers, and he tends to embrace the philosophy of “The simpler the better.” Almost ironically, though, Shaver says it’s hard to be simple.

As opposed to someone who writes whatever they want, you have to try to break things down to the point where anyone could grasp it. Norm compares it to Hemingway, who wrote as he spoke. In fact, the only word Norm Macdonald had to look up from Billy Joe Shaver was “pluperfect.”

Next. 15 Best Netflix original series of 2018. dark

Norm’s favorite term from a Billy Joe Shaver song seems to be “just an old chunk of coal” (which he’s used a few times himself). BIlly Joe says he’s not on best terms with Waylon Jennings, simply because Rolling Stone gave Shaver more praise for their collaboration!

That’s it for this Norm Macdonald Has a Show recap! What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!