Norm Macdonald (1959 – 2021)

Canadian comedy giant Norm Macdonald passed away yesterday.

THR (with video) “Seth Rogen, Jon Stewart, Whitney Cummings Remember Norm Macdonald: “We Lost a Comedy Giant Today” – Steve Martin, Ken Jeong and more comics praised the comedian and ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum’s wit and charm after learning of his death at age 61.

(CTV video) (source: tweet) //Worth watching the entire interview. Norm is hilarious, but he’s also whip smart and politically insightful. It was producer @Gray_Mackenzie ’s idea to book Norm on @ctvqp knowing he would never say no to his beloved sister-in-law.//

(source tweet) Love this bit of Tom Power sharing the story behind Norm doing ‘the moth joke’ on Conan.

The Story Behind the Greatest Joke Ever Told

NYT, “Norm Macdonald, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Comedian, Dies at 61 – Acerbic and sometimes controversial, he became familiar to millions as the show’s “Weekend Update” anchor from 1994 to 1998.

Mr. Macdonald had a deadpan style honed on the stand-up circuit, first in his native Canada and then in the United States. By 1990 he was doing his routine on “Late Night With David Letterman” and other shows. Then, in 1993, came his big break: an interview with Lorne Michaels, a fellow Canadian, for a job on “Saturday Night Live.”

“I knew that even though we hailed from the same nation, we were worlds apart,” Mr. Macdonald wrote in “Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir” (2016), a fictional work with occasional hints of biography mixed in. “He was a cosmopolite from Toronto, worldly, the kinda guy who’d be comfortable around the Queen of England herself. Me, I was a hick, born to the barren, rocky soil of the Ottawa Valley, where the richest man in town was the barber.”

In any case, he got the job, and by the next year he was in the anchor chair for the “Weekend Update” segment. In sketches, he impersonated Burt Reynolds and Bob Dole and played other characters.

Mr. Michaels, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said that Jim Downey, the show’s head writer at the time, had first brought Mr. Macdonald to his attention.

“Jim just liked the intelligence behind the jokes,” he recalled.

And Mr. Michaels saw it, too.

“There’s something in his comedy — there’s just a toughness to it,” he said. “Also, he’s incredibly patient. He can wait” — that is, wait for a punchline.

That, Mr. Michaels said, made Mr. Macdonald different stylistically from other “Weekend Update” anchors.

“I think it took some getting used to for the audience,” Mr. Michaels said. “It wasn’t instantly a hit. But he just grew on them.”

Rolling Stone (with video “Moth Joke”), “Norm Macdonald, Stand-Up and ‘Saturday Night Live’ Star, Dead at 61 Comedian had been privately battling cancer for nearly a decade

“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.”

Deadline (with video), “Norm Macdonald Dies: Influential Comedian & Former ‘SNL’ Weekend Update Anchor Was 61

THR (with video), “James Corden Pays Tribute to Norm Macdonald: “There Was Nobody Quite Like Him” – During the ‘Late Late Show’ segment, Corden said that he felt privileged any time he got to be in Macdonald’s orbit.

UK Guardian, “Norm Macdonald was pure funny – he made you laugh by doing almost nothing

Love this heartwarming segment: Seth Meyers Remembers Norm Macdonald

Fascinating to learn about what Norm had been trying to do with his craft and pushing the boundaries of the creativity of how to be funny. I’m going watch Norm’s shows on Netflix in this light to see how he was trying to achieve. Norm will be missed but his shows, jokes, etc will live on.

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