RIP – the amazing Norm MacDonald

He was a personal favorite, and he died much too young.

He would hate to hear that I wrote that. If Norm wrote this obituary, he would begin it with, “I never really cared for the man.” As for the “dying young” thing, I’m pretty sure Norm would have pointed out that 61 is a ripe old age for somebody who angers OJ. I also believe that Norm would have been disappointed to die this way, quietly, a victim of cancer. I think he would much rather have been slain by one of the many people he offended, preferably by either OJ or a relative of the crocodile hunter.

Or an actual crocodile.

But not “some fruity fish.”

As others described him:

“One of the greatest comedians ever to have lived.”

As Norm described himself:

“I was a hick, born to the barren, rocky soil of the Ottawa Valley, where the richest man in town was the barber.”

Norm never held back, never pulled a punch. As a host, he never let the world forget that OJ was incredibly guilty. As a guest, I still credit him for arguably the greatest talk show appearance of all time, not just because of what Norm said about the beloved, recently deceased and widely mourned crocodile hunter, but also because of the way he frustrated Jon Stewart and the audience, and his brilliant piece of unscripted improv at the end when Stewart put him in the hot seat. His last line, a perfect example of using callback for comedy, completely surprised me (and Jon), and had me laughing out loud.

That appearance was my quirky preference among Norm’s guesting duties. Most people prefer his appearance with Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan.

He was so successful in comedy that he came very close to becoming the richest man ever to come out of the Ottawa Valley. He would have made it to #1, but as luck would have it, he died before the barber.

But the best thing about Norm is that he was more than just a fearless comedian. He was fearless in all his endeavors. He would try anything in life, just as in comedy. In fact, one time, on a dare …

He fucked a crocodile.

10 thoughts on “RIP – the amazing Norm MacDonald

  1. It’s impossible to believe. He always seemed so young and full of life. Those two clips you posted are arguably the funniest talk-show moments not just of Norm, but of anyone ever.

    Usually the first guest sits there quietly (or leaves) when the second guest comes out, but Norm constantly interrupted. He played by his own rules. One of a kind.

    1. Actually, I think Ed Ames tomahawk throw might have to be tied for the best talk show appearance with the Norm MacDonald clips. Not as brilliant as Norm’s banter and stories, but probably the all time funniest accidental humor on a talk show.

  2. Easy as pie trivia question: Name that comedian:
    “In order to prove how much he loves his kids, O.J. pointed out, ‘Hey, they’re still alive, aren’t they?'”
    Speaking of trivia, I remember watching Norm kill it on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” He won $500,000 for his charity, and he guessed right on the million-dollar question but got cold feet and retired. He may not have flaunted it like Dennis Miller, but the guy had a head full of facts.

  3. I don’t think I had seen either clip before. He was hysterical and a genius. But, Sorry Scoop, I definitely laughed harder at Chairman of the B-O-R-E-D. I think it was the way Conan challenged him to do something with the title that elevated it from from funny to hysterical.

  4. Norm was truly a comedic genius. His time at SNL doing Weekend Update was not only hilarious, but was totally unlike any other host’s take on the job. As usual, he was totally unafraid to do things differently, and never shied away from jokes that either upset the audience or made them uncomfortable. Truly one-of-a-kind.

    1. Also, watching the Daily Show clip reminds me of how much I’m looking forward to Jon Stewart’s upcoming new show. I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since the brilliant “Jon Stewart Show” that aired on MTV back in the early 90s.

  5. Dammit, I watched that Stewart clip and now I’m laughing so hard I’m literally weeping and coughing.

    “I ever tell you that story?”

    “Oh, only a million fucking times, Bill.”

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