I’m still in shock about the news that Norm MacDonald died today, at the age of 61. He died of cancer, which he had been battling for nine years.
Norm MacDonald was the funniest man alive, though he often didn’t seem to get the appreciation that he truly deserved. There are so many comedians who claim not to care what people think about them and their jokes but, when it came to Norm, it was no act. He would joke about anything and anyone, delivering his punchlines with deadpan but savage nonchalance.
Like a lot of people, I first knew Norm MacDonald as the anchorman of SNL‘s Weekend Update. He was the last great Weekend Update anchor, which unfortunately led to him losing his job when NBC president Don Ohlmeyer took offense to his frequent jokes about OJ Simpson.
Personally, I liked Norm MacDonald’s takes on the movies:
After he was fired from Weekend Update, Norm MacDonald appeared on David Letterman’s show and said that he had been told that he would still be allowed to be a performer on Saturday Night Live and that he would still be doing celebrity impersonations but “I suck at that.” However, anyone who ever saw Norm MacDonald plays Burt Reynolds knows that MacDonald was being too modest.
After Saturday Night Live, Norm MacDonald continued to be a popular and beloved talk show guest. His appearances on Conan O’Brien were legendary.
My personal favorite Norm MacDonald talk show appearance was when he showed up on The Larry Sanders Show, along with special guest Henry Winkler. Though everyone on the show was concerned about a missing Hank Kingsely sex tape, Norm kept the audience laughing.
Norm MacDonald, Rest in Peace.