"That's right - it's a funny name."
September 14, 2021 12:11 PM   Subscribe

 
oh fuck
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:14 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]




I'm in shock. He was (I think) the best of all Weekend Update anchors, and that's the least weird thing he did. Class of his own.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:18 PM on September 14 [13 favorites]


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Macdonald died after a nine-year, private battle with cancer, a rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:18 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


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posted by djseafood at 12:20 PM on September 14


Comedians aren't supposed to laugh at their own jokes, I know. Norm did often, but I didn't mind: it just got me laughing along with him.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:20 PM on September 14 [12 favorites]


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posted by detachd at 12:24 PM on September 14


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Just heard it on the CBC this hour. He was a "comedian's comedian." All the comedy people I know are taking this one hard.
posted by armeowda at 12:25 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Norm's last stand up appearance on Letterman

I think that was the last stand up appearance on Letterman.
posted by hwyengr at 12:26 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


"And that's the way it is."

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posted by j_curiouser at 12:26 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by dsword at 12:26 PM on September 14




My fantasy dinner party always featured Norm and his brother Neil.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:29 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


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posted by briank at 12:29 PM on September 14


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posted by Splunge at 12:29 PM on September 14


shit goddamn.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:29 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I'm sad about this one. Norm had a strange and wonderful mind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:29 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea he was ill. RIP. That Sagat roast always astounds me and showcases how unique his comedic abilities were, that he can intentionally use the worst, corniest material and still get laughs from the delivery.
posted by star gentle uterus at 12:32 PM on September 14 [8 favorites]


fuck cancer.
posted by DigDoug at 12:32 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


Absolutely stunned - he kept his cancer secret for nine years. One funny mofo, that guy.

RIP

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posted by dbiedny at 12:33 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


The light is off.

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posted by tommasz at 12:33 PM on September 14 [21 favorites]


A nine year battle with cancer? Jesus.

One of the best ever. Fuck cancer.
posted by ZaphodB at 12:35 PM on September 14 [12 favorites]


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posted by Thorzdad at 12:36 PM on September 14


There is only one better comedian on Earth. You guessed it: Frank Stallone.
posted by Diskeater at 12:41 PM on September 14 [26 favorites]


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posted by notyou at 12:45 PM on September 14


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posted by little onion at 12:45 PM on September 14


There is only one better comedian on Earth. You guessed it: Frank Stallone.

Message on Frank's Stallone's official Instagram today: "I was saddened to hear that Norm MacDonald passed away today at 61. He had a lot of fun with me on weekend update with, You Guessed It Frank Stallone. I thought it was funny. My only regret was that I never got to do the show with him. I thought he was an original and very funny. My condolences go out to the MacDonald family."
posted by riruro at 12:45 PM on September 14 [37 favorites]


Norm joking about cancer battles, as we've now found out, when he had cancer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMRd-n_s4c8
posted by Damienmce at 12:49 PM on September 14 [20 favorites]


fucking hell that sucks.

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posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:49 PM on September 14


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posted by TedW at 12:50 PM on September 14


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I feel lucky I got to see him perform standup once.
posted by medeine at 12:50 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Norm's last stand up appearance on Letterman

Maybe the only commedian who would tell that LSD joke and then not pretend to have a flashback later in his set?
posted by straight at 12:53 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


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posted by Laura in Canada at 12:56 PM on September 14




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posted by Mitheral at 12:57 PM on September 14


God damn what a shock. He was a classic. One of those guys you could see being funny to a ripe old age.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:57 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


it's funny because it's bigger than a normal hat.

Not on the internet, but my favorite Norm sketch, Who is More Grizzled:
"Robert Duvall as Wayne: Damn right it is, Sonny! I lost Adeline in childbirth 40 years ago! Every Spring, when the dogwoods bloom and the posies take a first step, I think of the way she.. [ buzzer ]

Norm as Jim Greer: I'm sorry, that's wrong. No, no that wasn't grizzled, that was wistful. [ Tate buzzes in ] Mr. Mitchum, you can take a commanding lead here!

Garth Brooks as Tate Mitchum: I've buried wives, but a father should never bury a son. It was the flood of '52, we were all caught on the levee, but.. I don't want to talk about this no more.
"
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:58 PM on September 14 [16 favorites]


Aww, jeez, too young. Fuck cancer. Class act, McDonald, rest well.

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posted by theora55 at 12:58 PM on September 14


Dammit. I remember he seemed dark and introspective during that Comedians With Coffee episode.

Time to get drunk and watch Dirty Work.

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posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:00 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Here's one of my favourite appearances of his, Norm on Conan's Tonight Show during the fraught last week when Conan was being pushed out after his brief tenure.
posted by Superilla at 1:00 PM on September 14 [10 favorites]


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posted by hypnogogue at 1:03 PM on September 14


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posted by ZeusHumms at 1:03 PM on September 14


christ I'm so so sad about this one. Here's him telling a hilarious story about scrabble and a bed and breakfast in Victoria, BC. we'll miss you Norm.

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posted by thebots at 1:06 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


His Bob Sagat roast is one of the greatest bits of all time.
posted by brundlefly at 1:09 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Interesting story about the time his act got him disinvited to a University of Iowa golf tournament.

His reaction to the story on its initial publication in 2017: "Oh, that was a very well written piece, Mike. It's funny, I remember the night vividly. The good sets you forget, because they're not funny."
posted by carrienation at 1:12 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


What I just remembered about the Saget roast is that it caused Jim Norton (Jim Norton!) to make a reference to On Golden Pond at a Comedy Central roast.

He gets up there and says, "Norm, watching that set was like watching Henry Fonda pick blueberries"

The camera cuts to Norm who looks confused and then he eventually says, "I can't imagine there's anybody in this room who wouldn't love to watch Henry Fonda pick blueberries."

It turns out later he had no idea what Norton was talking about because he hadn't seen the movie, his confusion was genuine, and just decided if people were going to say strange shit to him he'd play along.
posted by East14thTaco at 1:26 PM on September 14 [30 favorites]


I was astonished at how much I loved Based on a True Story -- it's not entirely un-problematic, but it's a brilliant book in a lot of ways; serpentine, metatextual, funny as hell.

I think he falls in the category of "made it look easy, so nobody knew how hard he was working" -- his delivery just felt like he was riffing 100% of the time, but when you really look hard at what he's doing, there's a lot going on there.
posted by Shepherd at 1:27 PM on September 14 [25 favorites]


Truly a comic giant. The moth joke is one of the best shaggy dog bits ever.

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posted by OHenryPacey at 1:28 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


One of the only Conservative comics I could stomach. Gone too soon.

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posted by parmanparman at 1:32 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


"it's funny because it's bigger than a normal hat."

It's NOT APE TIT!
posted by thoughtful_jester at 1:32 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


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So many I-really-need-a-good-laugh nights spent dropping down Norm rabbit holes on YT in recent years, especially during covid.
posted by Lyme Drop at 1:34 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


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posted by lazaruslong at 1:34 PM on September 14


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posted by Silvery Fish at 1:34 PM on September 14


RIP Norm, a true master.

I can't find the clip, but his delivery of this line was one of the funniest things I ever heard in all my years on the planet:

"So this guy Hitler - you know, the more I read about him, the less I like him."
posted by fortitude25 at 1:37 PM on September 14 [26 favorites]


His bit about suicide has always been a favorite -- "cotton candy house" has entered my lexicon because of that one.
posted by jabes at 1:37 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


So sad, I don't like this news at all. I finally saw him about 5 years ago, but he's been an idol of mine forever.

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posted by rhizome at 1:37 PM on September 14


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 1:38 PM on September 14


Farrel: Okaaay...Turd Furgeson?
Macdonald: [hehehe] Yeah, whaddaya want?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 1:47 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


They say it was the cancer that killed norm, but I think it was hypocrisy.
posted by interogative mood at 1:49 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:51 PM on September 14


Here's a previously that I've always loved that doesn't show up in the tags. RIP Norm
posted by How the runs scored at 1:52 PM on September 14


I don't even know what to say. This is a gut punch. So much of his delivery really made me laugh out loud, and I'm one of those people who usually "appreciate" funny rather than laugh at it.

I'm glad you linked to the clip of him telling the moth joke, because it's what I would have posted here. That's how you tell a joke.
posted by Mchelly at 1:55 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by sydnius at 1:56 PM on September 14


Even if everything else he did in his life had been horrible, the moth joke alone would have made him a favorite of mine. RIP
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:56 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Sean O'Neal posted images of a couple of pages from Norm's book over on Twitter, which - there's no other way to put it - reads like a eulogy.
posted by nubs at 1:56 PM on September 14 [14 favorites]


Bad and wrong.

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posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:59 PM on September 14


I like how he closed his show with the Wayne and Shuster outro.

Good-bye ’til when we meet again.
posted by No Robots at 2:00 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


In another thread, shakespeherian gave one of my favorite descriptions of him:

What I like about Norm MacDonald is that he's totally deadpan and yet grinning like a loon the whole time. How does he even do that?
posted by straight at 2:02 PM on September 14 [35 favorites]


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posted by sammyo at 2:02 PM on September 14


There have been so many times where I've gone down the Youtube rabbit hole watching different clips of Norm. I guess I'll always still have that but there isn't going to be anything more.

I had a friend in law school whose voice sounded to me a lot like Norm's. I told him that once, meaning it as a compliment, but I don't know how it was received.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:04 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 2:10 PM on September 14


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posted by phrits at 2:12 PM on September 14


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posted by From Bklyn at 2:12 PM on September 14


I’m just sorry we never got to see him and Nicholas Pryor play father and son.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:14 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


He had a book club for a while, I think.
posted by Beholder at 2:15 PM on September 14


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posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 2:32 PM on September 14


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posted by jim in austin at 2:37 PM on September 14


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posted by vverse23 at 2:42 PM on September 14


Damienmce: Norm joking about cancer battles, as we've now found out, when he had cancer

"I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure, if you die from cancer, the cancer dies too, at exactly the same time. That's not a win, that's a draw."

posted by chavenet at 2:44 PM on September 14 [16 favorites]


Mod note: A couple comments deleted. It's fine to be critical of shitty stuff someone did in their life, but make a basic effort to not do so in the tersest and crappiest possible way, and just talk about what you don't like in a straightforward way instead. Rooting for cancer isn't gonna hurt Norm McDonald's feelings, he's already dead; there's lots of people on this site for whom cancer is actively a terrible aspect of their lives.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:07 PM on September 14 [73 favorites]


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True or not, in my mind a bridge between Farley and Ferrell on SNL. Always felt like the funniest guy in the room and one all the other comics would be overjoyed to work with. The Conan bits show how much they worked together on delivery and setup, and Conan can barely contain himself.

Sad day.
posted by glaucon at 3:12 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


People who liked him also know about the stuff he said that was retrograde or hurtful. In spite of his occasional reactionary impulses Norm was more interesting and thoughtful and more capable of empathetic insight than any drive-by sniping would suggest. I don't think, up to the end, he was someone who could be slotted cleanly into a woke or anti-woke bracket.
posted by anazgnos at 3:23 PM on September 14 [25 favorites]



I'm in shock. He was (I think) the best of all

at making me laugh. Certainly lately.

David Letterman and Conan Talk About Norm Macdonald

posted by philip-random at 3:25 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


he made me do many lols in life
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:27 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I thought he was hilarious, and I'm not into comedians or standup comedy in the least. His joke about the moth at the psychiatrist is a longtime favorite of mine. And the Bob Saget roast still makes me laugh just thinking about it. And I HATE celebrity roasts! All about the delivery.

I'm sure he said some "bad" stuff at some point or another. I've said some bad stuff more than a few times myself. I'd bet every one of us has. RIP.
posted by SoberHighland at 3:42 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I feel so sad. I didn't see this coming at all but he looked pretty ill when I met him. He was down to write Dirty Work 2 for Bob Saget so I was looking forward to that.

Norm was my favourite comedian. I loved him that much that I travelled to the states from the UK very recently just to sit in the audience to see him on "late night". Beautiful man. He was kind (to me). If you want to see the best of his comedy, watch the podcast with Adam Eget. Norm Macdonald Live is the best work he has ever done.

He has outlived his mother. Thoughts are with her, his son, Dylan, his brother and his producing partner/rumoured-to-be life partner, Lori Jo.

Such a sad night.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 3:42 PM on September 14 [9 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 3:47 PM on September 14


Sure everyone talks about the moth joke and the roast but "Albert Fish" is my favorite bit to this day.
posted by anazgnos at 3:48 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by nikoniko at 3:51 PM on September 14


In 2000, he was the very last contestant to pass the Fastest Finger round in the celebrity version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but the only one to make it to the million dollar question.
posted by riruro at 3:58 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


One of the funniest people I ever got the chance to see do comedy live. My cheeks hurt the next day.
posted by chaz at 4:01 PM on September 14


Bob Saget roast still makes me laugh just thinking about it. And I HATE celebrity roasts! All about the delivery.

It's pretty clear he does too which makes the meta-joke so great. He gets up on national TV and does the opposite of what they asked him to. Just straight gives them the finger, but he's still being funny and so what can anyone say about it? Say what you will about his weird conservative views (and please do, they're real and part of his legacy) but that's a punk rock move that few people would have the cojones to pull off.
posted by East14thTaco at 4:03 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


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posted by Rapunzel1111 at 4:08 PM on September 14


Hmm, will Lorne allow a Best of Norm episode this weekend?
posted by rhizome at 4:12 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Norm's interview show is worth catching if you haven't already on Netflix.

I know his work best from Weekend Update. He is not my favorite anchor, but he is definitely up there and I certainly appreciate his style.

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posted by Fukiyama at 4:22 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


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His approach to Norm Macdonald Live was a thing of beauty. The first episode dynamic with Super Dave Osbourne is hilarious. His wilful pushing of the envelope was a sure fire reason that he'd never quite translate into the mainstream.

That's why he is so funny though.
posted by Tasmanian_Kris at 4:35 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


If anyone wants the full footage of all of the Norm Macdonald Live podcasts, they are kept here:

https://archive.org/details/Norm_Macdonald_Live

The best one IMO is with Todd Glass (series 2 episode 6 & 7). Norm keeps messing with him but he does it with such love and affection.

Adam Eget was a great sidekick for Norm too and it's worth watching all of the intros just for that relationship.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 4:49 PM on September 14 [12 favorites]


Rooting for cancer isn't gonna hurt Norm McDonald's feelings, he's already dead; there's lots of people on this site for whom cancer is actively a terrible aspect of their lives.

Norm would remind us that at least it isn’t Frank Stallone.

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posted by dr_dank at 4:55 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by Celatone at 5:07 PM on September 14


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:08 PM on September 14


Thoughts also to trans folk whose thoughts went to some truly shitty transphobic jokes Norm made. Those were awful and I am sorry if you are reliving those again. My hope is that he reconsidered those and how they hurt people, as he did seem to be a reflective person. But they need to be mentioned, even today. And if a person doesn't want to forgive him, let alone celebrate him, we should make room for that, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:18 PM on September 14 [29 favorites]


Norm MacDonald was a comedic genius, he also spent a lot of time on really toxic jokes about trans people.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:39 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]




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posted by jquinby at 5:44 PM on September 14


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posted by kjh at 5:47 PM on September 14


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posted by badbobbycase at 5:57 PM on September 14


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posted by dogstoevski at 6:00 PM on September 14


He might have even appreciated a cutting joke or two at his own expense at this moment.
posted by No Robots at 6:12 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Lorne Michaels originally wanted a woman from the cast to sit on the Weekend Update desk with Norm MacDonald. Norm was prepared to walk away from the job if he had to do it with a woman. He consistently devalued women's voices and their contributions to comedy. I hope the women of SNL rest peacefully after today, knowing there's one fewer man to question whether or not they're funny.
posted by gladly at 6:24 PM on September 14 [19 favorites]


Picasso was getting discussed a while back in one my Facebook groups.

"He was a foul man who treated the women in his life terribly, and that's the truth," said somebody.

"It's also the truth that he might just be the greatest painter who ever lived," said somebody else.
posted by philip-random at 6:28 PM on September 14 [10 favorites]


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posted by Otherwise at 6:34 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I'm sure he said some "bad" stuff at some point or another.

He said he was happy a trans person was murdered. As a joke. On the largest comedy platform in the world.

That's not "bad" in scare quotes. It's genuinely odious, and my trans friends are feeling the sting of a universal hagiography for a man who contributed to a climate of violence that still leads to trans people being brutalized and murdered.

If you said something like that in a public way, you'd better god damn well expect people are going to bring it up when you die.
posted by maxsparber at 7:00 PM on September 14 [33 favorites]


This book "Intellectuals" is a fun set of takedowns largely about what dickheads famous art 'n science people (mostly dudes) were.
posted by rhizome at 7:21 PM on September 14


He said he was happy a trans person was murdered. As a joke. On the largest comedy platform in the world.

Oh but see that was an ill-timed joke we should forgive/ignore just like we should forgive his caping for Louis C.K, Roseanne Barr, his comments on Trump, 1/6, MeToo and so on.

But if we say the same joke he did, that he should die, you get your comments deleted. Because I guess Metafilter only has cancer survivors here and no trans/non-binary people, rape survivors, survivors of hate crimes?

I can't wait for another Metatalk thread trying to figure out why this place is dying and how we can be more inclusive. While not saying anything bad about shitty people.
posted by asteria at 7:29 PM on September 14 [20 favorites]


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posted by porpoise at 7:33 PM on September 14


Someone on Twitter found a clip of the "hilarious" bit in question for those you don't care for transcripts. (Not that you can read them because they were deleted.)
posted by asteria at 7:36 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


I remember watching a special of his 10 years ago or so (I am not familiar with his SNL work or anything else so this was brand new to me) and his delivery was SO perfect and hilarious. I would compare it to Tig Notaro's style. I was laughing out loud.

Then he got to a section of jokes about women or maybe specifically his girlfriend or wife or something. I realized from listening that this hilarious and talented man hated women. I haven't watched any of his material since and I am sorry to hear that he was far worse to the trans community.

Lorne Michaels originally wanted a woman from the cast to sit on the Weekend Update desk with Norm MacDonald. Norm was prepared to walk away from the job if he had to do it with a woman.
And Norm won. Yet another reason to be skeptical of the weird worship all of these SNL alums have for Lorne Michaels.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:37 PM on September 14 [17 favorites]


Really enjoyed the standup I saw him do on Letterman and Conan but couldn’t believe what an over-the-top, “..you changed my life, sir!” fanboy he was of Jordan Peterson on Twitter.
posted by brachiopod at 7:50 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


But if we say the same joke he did

His joke was shitty and odious! It's exactly the case that we need to try to do better here than being as odious as someone else's shitty, rightfully-criticized behavior. I don't want MetaFilter to be a tit-for-tat of "well, they were shitty first so it's justified" place. Criticize and link to stuff, I said above that that's fine. I personally think he was funny and also frustratingly assholish and retrograde in some of his defense-of-comedy shit in general and see no reason people shouldn't talk about that stuff. But we shouldn't do it in a race-to-the-bottom way that's shitty to each other to spite a dead guy who isn't in the room.
posted by cortex at 8:11 PM on September 14 [35 favorites]


Don’t confuse the persona of Norm MacDonald on SNL Weekend Update with Norm MacDonald the human being. The stage persona existed in the context of a satire of a news program where the anchor / host says terrible things that shock the audience. Past examples included the famous Dan Aykroid / Jane Curtin Point - Counterpoint.
posted by interogative mood at 8:15 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


His joke was shitty and odious!

Right, I could tell that was the sentiment when you deleted the link to transcript the first time I posted it.
posted by asteria at 8:47 PM on September 14 [8 favorites]


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posted by Joey Michaels at 8:50 PM on September 14




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posted by EatTheWeek at 9:16 PM on September 14


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It wasn't aware of a lot of the negative things people have posted here, so for the moment I'm mourning the Norm MacDonald whose comedic voice was an important one to me growing up. The rest I will have to unpack at a later date, after I have processed my shock and sadness at his passing.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 9:41 PM on September 14 [11 favorites]


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posted by ageispolis at 10:00 PM on September 14


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posted by Dokterrock at 10:51 PM on September 14


On the subject of problematic comedy, shame there was never a FP for Trevor Moore, who seemed like a pretty nice guy outside of his characters.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:05 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I realized from listening that this hilarious and talented man hated women.

I must say I agree and I forgot I had this feeling about him initially because I was in such awe of his comedy.

I got the same feeling about his male fans. I'm on a Norm-related forum and I had to leave a few times due to the misogyny and casual racism. I know Norm wasn't particularly nice to Cheri Oteri on SNL (and yes SNL mafioso Lorne Michaels let that happen). I think Steve Martin had the same view as he did about presenting with a woman (he confided in Norm). Belushi was not good to female writers either. It is terrible. I don't think Norm continued to be this way but you're right, it is important to acknowledge the history of a person's character.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 11:18 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!
posted by belarius at 11:52 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]


I just learned that he wrote my favorite scene from Roseanne, which was apparently based on a real-life incident that happened with his own mother. So damn funny!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:16 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


The more I read about this Norm guy, the less I like him.

Seriously though, I saw him do standup comedy and it was hilarious. I hadn't heard any of the other stuff, and haven't kept up with his career or podcast. I appreciate people sharing this information, even or perhaps especially in this context.
posted by chaz at 1:32 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


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Farewell Norm, you're with the Crocodile Hunter now.
posted by fairmettle at 2:50 AM on September 15


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posted by MythMaker at 3:00 AM on September 15


My friend Adam on Facebook:

"Anyone who placed a bet on Artie Lange being able to attend Norm MacDonald's funeral just hit it BIG."
posted by Optamystic at 5:06 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


Norm joking about cancer battles, as we've now found out, when he had cancer

Thanks for that link. I can't say I was ever a big fan, but I have cancer, and this cracked me up. I really hate all the "battle" and "warrior" stuff. Sounds like maybe he did too.

Also, I love that he didn't say anything about it. I've taken a few writing classes where I decided to just never mention my cancer, and it's been so freeing to be with people who have no idea.
posted by FencingGal at 6:10 AM on September 15 [19 favorites]


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posted by kneecapped at 6:11 AM on September 15


Wow, I had no idea he was ill. RIP. That Sagat roast always astounds me and showcases how unique his comedic abilities were, that he can intentionally use the worst, corniest material and still get laughs from the delivery.

One of the things I loved about Norm Macdonald was his use of nominally stale, hacky comedy tropes (to my mind, many of them still funny) as a set up for something very different. This is a great example.

RIP + thank you - as David Letterman said, "There may be people as funny as Norm, but I don’t know anybody who is funnier.”
posted by ryanshepard at 6:40 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


/me removes my lucky stabbing hat for a moment of silence.

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posted by whuppy at 7:19 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


his use of nominally stale, hacky comedy tropes (to my mind, many of them still funny) as a set up for something very different. This is a great example yt .

one of my faves. The stuff in question, I think, kicks in at around the 1:50 point.
posted by philip-random at 7:23 AM on September 15


I'm not sure I have this right, but would it be accurate to say that after a series of 1930s-ish jokes about his wife (a set-up establishing how a particular kind of misogyny is outdated), the modern and different kind of joke is that instead of sexually assaulting his unconscious wife in the manner a doctor intended he sexually assaults her in an unexpected way--that is, rape is the punchline and an audience is supposed to laugh at it because it's even more transgressive than the 1930s-ish jokes?
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:14 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


. not perfect but still a loss
posted by adekllny at 8:22 AM on September 15


an audience is supposed to laugh at it because it's even more transgressive than the 1930s-ish jokes

And because it was funny. At least that's why I laughed.
posted by FencingGal at 8:23 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


I won't say anything about McDonald. But here are a couple things to consider:

* More than one in four (27 per cent) trans young people have attempted to commit suicide and nine in ten (89 per cent) have thought about it.

* Two in five (41 per cent) trans people have been attacked or threatened with violence in the last 5 years.

(link to sources)
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:34 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Many good bits here, but my favorite is his Scrabble story about Harold Delaney.
posted by Phreesh at 8:35 AM on September 15




Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.


There's no denying that someone who could make a room full of comedians laugh with jokes out of a Reader's Digest joke book was a funny person.

I am disappointed to learn that he took the oppressors' side on numerous occasions. Though it is fraught to bring it up when others are mourning, leaving his unacceptable behavior out of this conversation would have allowed me to forget all about what a reactionary crank he was. So I appreciate asteria's voice being here.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:16 AM on September 15 [13 favorites]


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posted by vert canard at 9:42 AM on September 15




This is a great write-up: Norm MacDonald Loved Jokes
. It’s a funny book, but it is also a refusal. Norm did not do political material, and he did not talk about his life. The “I” who appeared in his act — the one who said of Adolf Hitler that “the more I learn about that guy, the more I don’t care for him” — was a stupider, vaguely maniacal version of himself he played for laughs. Now that version of Norm is all we have.
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posted by Space Coyote at 9:48 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


I tried listening to Norm's podcasts awhile back, but he was often bitter and mean-spirited. I knew about his misogyny and transphobia, but it's worth reminding ourselves of those sorts of things when we mourn public figures. (I am disappointed but only mildly surprised to hear he was a Jordan Peterson fan, I would have thought/hoped he was too smart to fall for that sort of self-serving bullshit).

However, he was, in my opinion, an often brilliant comic and storyteller. His appearances on other people's podcasts are usually top episodes, and his appearances on Letterman/Conan are among their top moments too. I think his stand-up was ragged and undisciplined over the last 5-10 years, his older material was much more practiced and sharp. I noticed that both Conan and Letterman allude to this in one of their discussions of him linked here; they seem to agree that he was not among the hardest working comics, but still a master of the form. Anyway, I'm sad to see him go, he had such an unique style and voice.
posted by skewed at 9:52 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Norm's SNL host monologue from 18 months after he got fired is a brilliant and scathing.
posted by skewed at 9:59 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


I think his stand-up was ragged and undisciplined over the last 5-10 years, his older material was much more practiced and sharp. I noticed that both Conan and Letterman allude to this in one of their discussions of him linked here; they seem to agree that he was not among the hardest working comics, but still a master of the form.

Well, he spent the last 9 years fighting cancer. I don't think his work ethic was really the issue here.
posted by ZaphodB at 10:20 AM on September 15 [12 favorites]


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the more I read about Norm MacDonald the more I like him.
posted by lathrop at 10:21 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


It's the opposite with me. I follow a lot of female comics and word is that his misogyny was a well-protected secret in the comedy community, and that it included sexual harassments and at least one case of assault.
posted by maxsparber at 10:56 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]




after a nine-year private battle with cancer

…or so the Germans would have us believe.




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posted by erniepan at 11:17 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]




It would have been nice if Norm had lived long enough to apologize for his shitty jokes but honestly I doubt he ever would have, he seemed very much on the Comedian to Anti-Woke Crank pipeline. His tone and style made him a brilliantly funny, but it also helped him get away with saying and doing a lot of shitty hurtful things while cracking that earnest loony grin.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:01 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the sexual harrassment discussion. That's really awful for those girls. No wonder he was quick to defend Louis CK.

There was a guy on Reddit a while back who said that Norm harrassed his girlfriend back in 2010 or something. He was adamant that he was going to sue, so not sure what happened there.

Chris Kattan also made a comment about Norm allegedly hitting his assistant Lori Jo because she turned up to work with a black eye. She denied it.

It might also be worth mentioning that he was rumoured to have been sexually assaulted as a boy. That's not an excuse for anything at all. There's just a lot going on there.

He also spoke a lot about having no interest whatsoever in sex, so it's all power. After all, this is a man who fucked his best friend's girlfriend inside the guy's own house while looking out the window at him mowing the lawn. He seemed remorseful about that incident, though and of course it's not comparable to assault.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 12:04 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by filtergik at 12:07 PM on September 15


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posted by hap_hazard at 12:45 PM on September 15


As if this news couldn't get any sadder: Norm Macdonald Sent To Hell For Mocking God’s Friend O.J. Simpson
posted by riruro at 2:02 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


There was a guy on Reddit a while back who said that Norm harrassed his girlfriend back in 2010 or something. He was adamant that he was going to sue, so not sure what happened there.

Can we please not do this? "A guy on reddit said" is not a source.

This isn't a "don't speak ill of the the dead" point here so much as it's a "let's not be Facebook" point.

There are demonstrable examples of MacDonald's misogyny without "just asking questions."
posted by East14thTaco at 3:10 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]


Can we please not do this? "A guy on reddit said" is not a source.

Compared to everything else, it's a source. It's the same thing. They're all people on the internet talking about things that happened to them or in front of them, so if everyone else gets to post the same thing then I do too. You don't get to police that or be a dick about it. If the mods want to do that then that's up to them.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 3:59 AM on September 16


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