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.”
“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.”
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.
President & CEO
Had it not been for an incredible stretch of bad luck and an unfortunate series of largely unsubstantiated mishaps that resulted in a half dozen felony convictions, Steve Hannah would most likely be President of the United States today.
Instead, much to the eternal chagrin of his late mother, for the past seven years he has been President & CEO of The Onion: America’s Finest News Source and Relentless Self-Promoter.
Nevertheless, The Onion is a multi-platform (VC’s like people who talk like that, right?) media company that reports the news to a largely gullible public in print (newspapers and magazines), on a strange thing called the Internet (10 million unique visitors), on all manner of mobile devices, by way of exceedingly fancy apps, via web video (its Onion News Network has collected more Webbys than any other legitimate news organization and in 2009 won the prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting along with Saturday Night Live and Sixty Minutes) and most recently on television, where its Onion Sports Network debuted on Comedy Central and the Onion News Network show (and was renewed) launched on IFC.
Today, the Onion and its subsidiary organizations constitute the biggest, scariest, most powerful, most omniscient, most virulent, most vindictive news gathering organization in the world. For example, if he chose to do so-which he would not because he has learned to use his influence judiciously-he could wreck every single one of your personal and professional lives. Read the rest of this entry »
If you haven’t seen this speech yet, check it out, worth your 15 minutes. Here is a quote,
“If there is any real advice I can give you, it is this. College is something you complete. Life is something you experience. So don’t worry about your grade. Or the results. Or success. Success is defined in myriad ways. And you will find it. And people will no longer be grading you but it will come from your own internal sense of decency.“
“In Conversation With: Ustinov Award for Comedy Winner Chuck Lorre
Join us to celebrate this year’s Ustinov Award winner, Chuck Lorre — award-winning television creator, writer and producer known for such hit comedy series as “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly”. For the past 20 years, Lorre has delivered such hit shows as “Grace Under Fire,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Roseanne” and “Cybill.” He co-created the blockbuster comedy series “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” – which both rank as the #1 and #2 comedies among total viewers on all of U.S. television. The Ustinov Award recognizes a creative talent that has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry, and Lorre is a natural fit. Past recipients include: John Cleese, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, Rick Mercer, Ricky Gervais and James Burrows.”
LIVE comedy recording for CBC TV & Radio in Calgary
7pm Sat June 2nd, 2012
Check out my Comedy Central and Just For Laughs Comedy Festivalfeatured stand-up comedian friend Carmen Stockton’s performance at a LIVE recording for CBC TV and Radio in Calgary 7pm Sat June 2nd! See the poster for more info. Visit Carmen’s website for bio, comedy clips, and more.
“But when it comes to food vloggers — that is, bloggers who post videos — it’s the new order. Vlogging requires crazy commitment and passion. Sure, cellphones and pocket cameras can easily capture video, but scripting, shooting, editing and uploading is another thing. It takes a sizable bite out of one’s life and exquisite patience. Ouch!
One such local vlogger, Mijune Pak, of Richmond, posts on YouTube and on her blog, Follow Me Foodie. “I know the food blogging community is very saturated right now but vlogging hasn’t been touched,” she says.
Here’s the reason in a nutshell. She and her two-man crew shot for three hours, then edited for six hours to produce a 1.5 minute video. Who’s got that kind of time or expertise?
“We’re doing it because we’re passionate and it’s a good way of getting exposure,” says Pak, 25. One video, The Things Foodies Say [note: see below], “went crazy,” she says. “It’s very challenging because most viewers click off after two or three minutes. To lock in a recipe in two or three minutes is very challenging.”“
Also check out her FollowMeFoodie YouTube channel and this really funny 90 seconds clip. If you love food, I bet you will laugh at recognizing things you or your friends say! Enjoy.
“Though most time zone adjusted numbers aren’t yet available, the 2012 Golden Globes look likely to retain much of its audience from last year’s show. Sunday’s Globes were broadcast live across the country, with a 8:00 p.m. encore in the Pacific Time Zone, so current stats on total viewers and adults 18-49 are subject to likely revision and are expected to go up.”
* Post-show comments: Check out, very good show reviews from
“The trouble with the Golden Globes telecast this year was simple — it was egregiously boring. The Oscars and Emmys can’t get here fast enough to erase this three-hour dud.
Does Gervais deserve some of the blame? Well, in so much that he led a lot of people to believe he was going to be a very naughty boy, then yes. Otherwise, he was funny enough. He did his bit. And let’s remember that the host at the Globes is often absent for vast stretches of time — last year’s running internet joke was that the Globes had fired Gervais mid-show and he’d never return. But it was just how the show has evolved. The host is, essentially, a minimal presence. No, the Globes were boring all on their own.”
“Ah, but there’s something clever afoot when you think about Gervais’ underwhelming performance. Think about it. Think still more. And now consider this: Ricky Gervais just Punk’d the Globes. He exacted revenge for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association making such a stink last year and taking the moral high ground, lambasting him for being cruel and petty, a bitter outcast comic among real actors and stars. It could be that Gervais’ skin really is that thick and he didn’t suffer their angry arrows. Or it could be that when the Globes realized it really did need Gervais because controversy breeds ratings and ratings keep you viable, that Gervais plotted his revenge. And Sunday night he took it. He wasn’t merciless. He wasn’t outraged. Hell, he didn’t even seem very involved or even committed. It’s as if he said, “You hired me last year knowing what you’d get, then you fired me when you got it. Well, this year you get what you truly wanted. And you definitely get what you deserve.” Cheeky, that. Oh, you clever, clever bastard. Well played, Ricky Gervais. You got the Globes but good.“
* “Gervais tells me that when he wrote The Office, he wanted it to be a million people’s favourite show rather than 10 million people’s 10th favourite show.”
* “… I think you’ve got to assume that as many people are going to hate you as love you. You want a strict door policy on your pub. You want to turn people away. I remember an advert I saw when I was six or seven, where there was a pyramid of tinned salmon. A hand came along and knocked them all over except for one, and the voice-over said ‘it’s the salmon John West rejects that makes John West the best.’ It’s the things you discard that make it.”” Read the rest of this entry »
Accounting for time difference and a little bit of cheating, I want to wish The Office a happy 10th anniversary! Thanks Ricky and Stephen for being true to your own sense of what is funny and what is not! For breaking path and redefining what is funny! It will definitely be one of the “classics” that I remember.
“Ricky, 50, is still fond of his iconic comedy creation but admits growing Brent’s trademark goatee for these pictures made him instantly recognisable.
He said: “It feels good to be Brent again – although I left the facial hair to the last minute.
“I get spotted more when I’ve got it – it’s like people need that visual aid to work out where they know me from.
[…] “None of my characters have been as much fun to play as David Brent. People say he was a b****** and the ‘boss from hell’, but he wasn’t. He was just a twit.
“He was a man whose biggest mistake was confusing popularity with respect.”
When The Office first aired on BBC2 on July 9 2001, it was panned by several critics. Read the rest of this entry »
I had a great time and learned a lot from attending Mike Farah, President of Production Funny or Die, and his teammates director Jake Szymanski and producer Chris Bruss’ Banff World Media Festival 2011 panel discussion. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike.
I had a great time and learned a lot from attending Mike Farah, President of Production Funny or Die, and his teammates Jake and Chris’ Banff World Media Festival 2011 panel discussion. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike.
It will take me some time to write the article and process & upload the video after Banff. Stay tune.