On September 14, we lost possibly the funniest comedian of our lifetimes, when Norm Macdonald passed away at age 61. And as Norm himself might put it, he and cancer battled it out for almost a decade — and it ended in a draw.
RedState has shared some of Norm’s bright moments over the years, including not caring what others think of him poking fun at the Chinese flu, but most recently we remembered his comedy on the VIP Gold Chat show.
Now, Deadline reports, “Saturday Night Live,” the TV show that made Norm famous, has given him a send-off — and it was in the classiest way possible. I like to think it’s the way he would have wanted to be memorialized, just as he lived and died, on his own terms.
During a segment of this week’s Weekend Update, current anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che reserved the end of the skit for a tribute to Norm.
Jost opened the segment by calling it “a bittersweet night for us,” adding after Che mentioned Norm’s passing away, that Norm’s tenure as anchor was “the reason that [he] ever wanted to do ‘Weekend Update.'” Then he introduced a series of clips from Norm.
But these aren’t just randomly chosen jokes culled from the year-and-a-half span Norm did “Update.” Two of them in particular were especially gutsy to include, and serve as a classy goodbye for the comedian — because they likely were part of the reason Macdonald was fired from the anchor chair.
The video below begins with one of them (about Bill Clinton), and there’s an O.J. joke a bit later. NBC execs, in particular Don Ohlmeyer, the head of the network’s west coast division, was thought to have been peeved at Norm’s continued needling of his lefty pals. But if you told Norm not to do something, that was the surest way to get him to double down. Ohlmeyer fired him.
As the comedian joked on January 7, 1998 (the day after SNL fired him), he had to make a call to Olhmeyer to get the official news.
Norm told David Letterman:
“He goes, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m firing you there from the show.”
And I said, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ You know. Then I said, ‘Why’s that now?’
And he goes, ‘Oh, you’re not funny.’
And then I said, ‘Holy Lord, that’s even worse news.’ You know, because I don’t got nothin’ to fall back on.”