Norm Macdonald, who was 61 years old, died Tuesday after suffering from cancer for nine years but kept it private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, its Los Angeles management company.
Life and Family of Norm Macdonald
Norm Macdonald never reached the same television heights after his release from “SNL” in 1998, but was a tireless stand-up comic and a popular talk show guest, the death of which caused a shock among comedians.
“Norm was in its own comedy genre,” tweeted Sarah Silverman. “Nobody likes him on this planet. Please do yourself a favor and take care of his things.”
Macdonald, the son of two teachers, grew up in Quebec City, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences to him, calling him “a comedic genius and a great Canadian”.
He was a stand-up comic and briefly writer of the sitcom “Roseanne” when he was inducted into the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1993.
Macdonald became known for his esoteric impressions, including Burt Reynolds who grieved Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek character in “Celebrity Jeopardy”. He also played Bob Dole, Larry King and David Letterman.
His dry style and writing skills made him a choice to host “Weekend Update”. Simpson was a popular destination. Norm Macdonald opened the fake newscast the week the former soccer star was acquitted of murder by saying, “Well, it’s finally official. Murder is legal in the state of California.
Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels, speaking for the show, called MacDonald “one of the most influential comedic voices of his generation or another.
“There are so many things we will miss about Norm – from his unwavering integrity to his generosity to his constant ability to surprise,” he said. “But above all, he was just plain funny. Nobody was as funny as Norm.”
Macdonald was fired in the middle of the season in 1998 by Don Ohlmeyer, a friend of NBC Entertainment, a friend of Simpson who allegedly disliked the “SNL” star who made Simpson an almost constant joker.
“I was never bitter” Macdonald said “Live From New York” in Oral History, published in 2002. SNL gave me a chance. “
He said in the same book, “I just like to make jokes that I like, and if the audience doesn’t like them, they’re wrong, not me.”
Ohlmeyer said that was his problem.
“If ‘Saturday Night Live’ is really good they don’t care what the audience thinks,” he said. “And if ‘Saturday Night Live’ isn’t really good, do it for you and your pals.”
MacDonald went on Letterman’s show to announce he was fired. During a commercial break, Letterman asked him, “This is like an Andy Kaufman fake wrestling thing, isn’t it?” Macdonald remembered. But it wasn’t.
Letterman was a fan who made it Macdonald one of the guests on the CBS presenter’s last show “Late Show”.
In 2016, Letterman told the Washington Post that the show would have had Macdonald on every week “if we could”.
“It’s funny in a way that some people breathe in and out,” Letterman told the Post. “With others you notice the comedy, the humor is taken into account. With Norm it exudes it … There may be people who are as funny as Norm, but I don’t know anyone who is funnier.”
The story of the Post was headlined: “Will Somebody Please Give Norm Macdonald Another show? “
In response, Netflix aired 10 episodes of the “Norm Macdonald Has a Show” interview series two years later. Guests included Letterman, Lorne Michaels, Jane Fonda, and Judge Judy Sheindlin.
He had limited success on other TV projects. He created and starred on the ABC sitcom “The Norm Show,” later abbreviated to “Norm,” and played a former NHL player who was kicked out of the league and forced to do community service as a social worker for gambling and tax evasion.
A Comedy Central Show, “Sports Show Featuring Norm Macdonald, “Lasted only a handful of episodes, but he was busy in comedy clubs.
“In my opinion, I’m just a stand-up,” he told the New York Times in 2018. “But other people don’t think so. They think, ‘Oh, the guy from’ SNL ‘is standing up until now,’ “
In a 2011 comedy special Macdonald Said it was wrong to say you lost your battle with cancer when you died. “I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that if you die, the cancer dies at the same time,” he said. “This is not a loss for me. This is a draw.”
Jim Carrey tweeted this Macdonald was “an honest and courageous comedy genius”. Seth Rogen said he essentially ripped off his delivery by the time he started acting.
“Nobody could let you break like this Norm Macdonaldsaid Jon Stewart on Twitter. “Hilarious and unique.”