"The 'D' stands for 'dentification'"
May 16, 2015 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Norm MacDonald performed his last standup routine on The Late Show with David Letterman last night. It was astounding. (slyt)
posted by lattiboy (57 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Who's going to feed the hogs?"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:02 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've never seen MacDonald genuinely emotional before, that was really sweet.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:10 AM on May 16, 2015 [30 favorites]


As I recall, Letterman was none too pleased with MacDonald's impression of him. But, on the other end, you could tell that MacDonald had really studied Letterman.
posted by maxsparber at 10:30 AM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


[Swapped the link so it shouldn't do the desktop-mode thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:35 AM on May 16, 2015


That was literally the last thing I expected. Beautiful. Thanks for posting
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 10:43 AM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Aw. (Jump ahead to 6:30 for the emotional part.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:47 AM on May 16, 2015


Liked how he juxtaposed the idea of his 16 y/o self dreaming of a future acid flashback with the poignancy of the real life 13 y/o self memory.
posted by Emor at 10:51 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Aw. That was a great joke too.

I kinda like how MacDonald was right that Letterman is not one for the mawkish. Letterman just put on a robotic, "Wow, that's really something, oh my goodness" for the cameras. (That's not to say that he won't feel moved once backstage, but there was no way that he'd allow himself to feel and express that in front of everyone.)
posted by painquale at 11:02 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Even after reading how other people were not expecting that, I was not expecting that. That was really sweet, Norm, indeed.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:03 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Holy hell I've been following Norm MacDonald for twenty years and have never seen him more vulnerable. Hardest I've laughed all month and now I'll be weepy all day. Not bad for eight minutes.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, that's what I call "Closing the show..."
posted by mikelieman at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


That was delightful and unexpected.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:51 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I don't know if you guys are history buffs, but..."
posted by Corduroy at 11:55 AM on May 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


"You'd think that the world would win in about five seconds, but it was actually... close."
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:58 AM on May 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


I didn't think I could like Norm MacDonald more than I already did, but that was really touching.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:59 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


painquale, Letterman did get choked up on-air once that I know of, when he introduced his heart surgery team as "the folks who saved my life."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:01 PM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


That was wonderful!
posted by meinvt at 12:04 PM on May 16, 2015


Aw, hell. I'm such a sucker for this mutual-personal-and-professional-respect stuff. Thanks for this.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:28 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


My first impression: when did Norm MacDonald start trying to morph himself into Tom Hanks? (Seriously, there's a solid resemblance).

His bit about Germany was good... nice to see he refused to name THAT GUY... is this the first example of a Reverse Godwin? But historically inaccurate when he said we should've not let it be a country anymore - wasn't that what splitting it in two for 45 years was all about?

The Memorable Joke about the garbage truck was good, but I expected a different payoff: "What are they gonna do if you follow too close? Jettison a few bags into your windshield?" But that's just me overthinking a plate of garbage.

And when Norm got sentimental it was surprising, because I've always ranked Norm MacDonald just a few places behind Letterman on the "Comedians Who Can't Do Real Human Emotions" list. I would've expected a 30-year Acid Flashback first. And you can tell Letterman REALLY doesn't do it well; when he leaned over to whisper in Norm's ear "That was very sweet", it came over his mic loud and clear...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:38 PM on May 16, 2015


Totally didn't expect to get teary-eyed. Thanks, Norm.

That H*tler imitation as a masterpiece of miniaturization. SCHKANKELI KRANKELI!!!
posted by mondo dentro at 12:50 PM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


I love Norm McDonald and never cared for Letterman. This was a delight and made me feel better about letterman.
posted by Fibognocchi at 1:13 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never knew Letterman did stand up. I knew he worked as a weatherman and in radio , but I never thought about how he got from there to late night. To me, he never seemed like the stand-up comic type.

The garbage truck joke is such a Jerry Seinfeld-like observation, too.
posted by riruro at 1:38 PM on May 16, 2015


You may be putting the stink before the truck, there riruro.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:48 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I couldn't sit through it. The beginning bits about the camera---those were amusing but not full on funny or original like Emily Heller or other stand ups I've seen on late night. I used to see him on SNL as a kid, but I felt like I was in for something not original.

So when I spied the Kimmel clip where tiny kids are asked if they love their mom or dad more (nearly all say mom), I had to watch it.

Should I try to watch the rest of Norm? Does he get funnier as it goes on?
posted by discopolo at 1:50 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


World to Germany: "whaddya think you are, Mars?"

ROFL!
posted by spacewrench at 2:04 PM on May 16, 2015


discopolo, most of Norm's jokes are really simple on paper. In my personal opinion, what's so genius about him is his particular delivery, where you can just feel so much bubbling just below the surface. Those pauses where you know what's going to be the punchline, but then he's so sly and restrained about it that you can't help but think, "wait, is it? " and then of course it is, but that strange roundabout makes it land with a huge splash. I see the wheels of his mind spinning during those pauses, probably reflecting on what he just said, the implications of it, the whole situation, and what comes next, and it's just infectious, I'm laughing at the things he's not saying. When he tells these really simple jokes there's always this heightened awareness of how a concept begins to gain different dimensions if you let it linger enough in an audience's mind. It's all very organic, but also very, very calculated. I don't know anyone else who does the same kind of standup comedy.
posted by infinitelives at 2:25 PM on May 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


The phone joke isn't his best. The Germany stuff is pretty great.

His album "Me Doing Stand-up" is a bona-fide classic.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I can sum up his comedy as "Let what I just told you sink in". It takes absurdism to another level, since it invites you to actively do the legwork.

BTW to add this double post, one of the reasons you are not supposed to be close behind a garbage truck is because when it's crushing garbage there's so much compression something can come out flying at you with the speed of a bullet. At least that's what I remember from an episode of TAL.
posted by infinitelives at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2015


I thought the standup was just OK, but it was really powerful to see dry, wry Norm MacDonald so genuinely moved.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:45 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe it's because "Funny Letterman" was before my time and I only knew him as "Stale Talk Show Host Guy", but that did nothing for me. It was an okay standup set and then he cried at the end because his friend is retiring.
posted by bleep at 2:54 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Should I try to watch the rest of Norm? Does he get funnier as it goes on?

Christ almighty, it's only eight minutes. You've burned up more time wondering if you should take the time.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:04 PM on May 16, 2015 [31 favorites]


His album "Me Doing Stand-up" is a bona-fide classic.

"Oh geez, not the woods ...."
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:06 PM on May 16, 2015


Yeah, ok I cried.
posted by xarnop at 3:25 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but Neil MacDonald has all the class in the family. Norm is an overrated lump and this didn't change my opinion of him.

What did was when he rushed to the defense of Jian Gomeishi and tweeted that the serial rapist should "come to the states" because it's so AWESOME to be American and it just reminded me of how embarrassed Norm always is/was about being from a country as lame as Canada. Can't stand him.

This is his last standup ON LETTERMAN. Not his last routine period. He's on fucking tour and he has deigned to do dates in Canada, even.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:26 PM on May 16, 2015


I forgot to mention: I don't know if it's makeup or lighting or maybe added pounds or fillers, but his skin looks fantastic. If it involves photolaser therapy, I want to know where please and as Tina Fey's kid would say, "I want to go to there." There being the dermatologist/plastic surgeon he's going to.

Also, that suit rocks. Looks crazy expensive, but he's looking better than lots of stand up comics his age!
posted by discopolo at 3:32 PM on May 16, 2015


Maybe it's because "Funny Letterman" was before my time and I only knew him as "Stale Talk Show Host Guy", but that did nothing for me. It was an okay standup set and then he cried

Awww don't say that about Letterman. I think he sucks for cheating on his wife and all that, but I enjoy him making fun of Bieber and throwing a drugged out Crispin Glover wearing platform shoes off his show.
posted by discopolo at 3:36 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, making fun of Bieber, now there's some cutting-edge stuff.
posted by bleep at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]




:|
posted by bleep at 4:19 PM on May 16, 2015


Loved his show "wait what?!" - wish it had been more than six episodes...
posted by mmiddle at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


When he tells these really simple jokes there's always this heightened awareness of how a concept begins to gain different dimensions if you let it linger enough in an audience's mind. It's all very organic, but also very, very calculated. I don't know anyone else who does the same kind of standup comedy.

There's some overlap with Stewart Lee, I think. He does a lot of very smart toying with audience expectations.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:13 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Letterman did get choked up on-air once that I know of, when he introduced his heart surgery team as "the folks who saved my life."

And during the episode he devoted to Warren Zevon, his last public appearance before his death.
posted by scalefree at 5:20 PM on May 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


when he introduced his heart surgery team

Can anyone find this? I remember 'THAT WOMAN GAVE ME A SPONGE BATH'.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:06 PM on May 16, 2015


Why is this titled "last standup routine"? This isn't MacDonald's last.
posted by neeta at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2015


Your light was on.
posted by I-baLL at 6:29 PM on May 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


I can't find video of the surgery team intro, but this NYT review mentions the emotions.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:08 PM on May 16, 2015


Your light was on.

That joke is so dang good. We've discussed this before, but I think it's a perfect combination between an aristocrats/shaggy dog type joke and a farside comic.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:17 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]




I couldn't sit through it. The beginning bits about the camera---those were amusing but not full on funny or original like Emily Heller or other stand ups I've seen on late night.

Ugh, Emily Heller is not nearly as good as a comic that I prefer.
posted by skewed at 10:07 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I very much liked this song that Tom Waits did for Letterman a couple of days ago as well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:32 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dave's first show after 9/11 was pretty emotional. I can't remember if Dave actually cried, or if he just held Dan Rather's hand while HE cried.

He used to be a regular guest on Carson's show, then the regular stand in for Carson, then worked his daytime talk show starting in 1979. It didn't work, because the daytime talk show audience was more used to Dinah Shore and Phil Donohue. Dave was a little too weird for the 10.00 AM slot.
posted by faceonmars at 11:36 PM on May 16, 2015


If you don't like Norm MacDonald that's okay, you have plenty of well-wishers.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


But historically inaccurate when he said we should've not let it be a country anymore - wasn't that what splitting it in two for 45 years was all about?

Technically, we split Germany into four parts, one each administered by the Allied forces: UK, US, and USSR, plus France. That one of those administering powers then decided to take their piece and assimilate it wasn't really foreseen at the time, despite a lot of factors that pointed to it being the most likely outcome. The actual debate about what should happen to the country was debated at the Yalta Conference.
posted by hippybear at 6:07 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've watched this video about eight times today, and it passes the "get up and walk across the house to show it to the wife" test.
posted by 4ster at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wept openly several times during the final show. Dave didn't. I cried on his behalf.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:35 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


One lovely thing about Letterman's long farewell is how many men have been openly emotional and loving, including crusty old Dave. Thanks for posting this.
posted by theora55 at 8:53 AM on May 22, 2015




« Older The IPs are coming from inside the house   |   Ask Not For Whom The Blue Bell Tolls Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments