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September 14, 2021

Comedy Legend Norm MacDonald Dies at Age 61, After a Long and Private Battle With Cancer

A huge loss for comedy. And for clear-thinking.

I know many will disagree, but I think he was the funniest man alive, and the funniest man of the late 20th century.

The comedian's longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with him when died, said Macdonald had been battling cancer for nearly a decade but was determined to keep his health struggles private, away from family, friends and fans.

"He was most proud of his comedy," Hoekstra said. "He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that 'a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.' He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly."

He gained a lot of weight the past eight years or so, which I now realize was probably due to being periodically weakened and rendered inactive by chemotherapy.

Norm MacDonald's SNL parody sketch of West Side Story.

Norm MacDonald was sexist and/or honest about the small number of women who are funny at a professional level. That assemblage of clips has an interview with James Downey (SNL writer) at around 5:00, wherein Norm does one of my favorite bits: Forcing people to agree with un-PC things.

He does that in this interview with SNL castmate David Koechner. That show has one of my very favorite jokes he ever did.

A related bit is Norm constantly accusing other people of being racist or sexist or having some other type of un-PC belief, when he's really the instigator of all that.

Norm on white privilege.

Norm turned to vegetarianism later in life, but not strict vegetarianism.

Norm always believed that teachers are the real heroes.

Norm MacDonald talking about the pitches he did for SNL that were rejected.

I was just listening to another comic talk about Norm's "Fake Pitches." Apparently there was some tactical thinking in pitching at each show's pitch meeting. If you pitched a sketch in the pitch meeting, people wouldn't laugh when you read the sketch's script at the next day's table read. So Norm MacDonald (and Kevin Nealon) would just offer fake pitches at the pitch session and then write up new material for the table read.

Norm MacDonald was famously fired from Weekend Update, and then SNL entirely, because he kept saying that OJ Simpson was a murderer. And the head of NBC's Sports and Variety Programming (which oversaw SNL) was Don Ohlmeyer, who considered himself to be one of OJ Simpson's best friends.

He famously -- infamously, to the Hollywood Left -- roasted Bill Clinton to his face at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

And this wasn't a fake Hollywood compliment roast. This was a real roast.

Norm MacDonald talking about 9/11.

Norm MacDonald talking about religion for 13 minutes.


That's not a real tweet, but I think Norm would have chuckled.

This one is real, from 2016:

Screenshot (465).png

At about two minutes in, the crowd starts to get it and starts laughing.

That's when I got it. When I first saw this, I thought Norm had been in a car accident or had had a stroke, and they were humoring him during his recovery by giving him this slot. I was kind of sad about it.

Then I started to appreciate what he was doing.

He later revealed that he got all of these terrible jokes from an old "Toastmaster's" book of bad jokes from the 1950s. I think it was his dad's book.

From last year: Norm talking about covid.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:27 PM

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