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Shout Outs to Norm MacDonald

October 20, 2010

Norm Macdonald is awesome. He is one of those comics that I know will make me laugh no matter what mood I’m in.  I feel like he could read a menu to me and I’d chuckle.  There’s just something about his cadence and delivery that absolutely cracks me up.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s a brilliant jokesmith as well.  When I think back to my favourite era of “Saturday Night Live” when he was the weekend update anchor, I can call to mind so many of his running jokes about the OJ Simpson trial, how Germans love David Hasselhoff, and Michael Jackson jokes:

Norm has had trouble finding his footing with ventures outside of stand-up.  His short-lived sitcom “The Norm Show” kind of bombed, and a couple of movie ventures, “Dirty Work” and “Screwed” failed to earn much at the box-office. (I actually really like Dirty Work, it’s hysterical).  Still, don’t shed a tear for ol’ Norm, he makes good dough, and has had plenty of cameos, including the original voice of death in television show “The Family Guy” and a ton of roles in his buddy Adam Sandler’s films.  He also makes a great living doing what he does best, stand-up comedy.

My buddy Shane Heron recently went to see Norm perform in Toronto and related that it was an hour and a half of wall-to-wall laughter.  Norm even took the time to riff with Shane when he caught him trying to record some of the set on his cell phone.

He is a Canuck like me, which is kind of cool, and even though his material doesn’t reference Canada, I still feel like some of the flavour of our culture shines through, like the self deprecation in this joke:

“I was in my peak physical condition when I was about like, uh. . . one. Oh God, I looked good, young and fresh! You wouldn’t know me now if you’d seen me when I was one, you know? I even looked good for my age. People would come up to me and go, “what are you, zero?” And I’d go, “no, I’m one over here!”

I like this quote from an interview with Express Milwaukee about not selling out:

“I don’t do comedy for audiences; I just do it for myself. I wouldn’t even know how to please somebody, I only know how to please myself. I mean, I certainly don’t want audiences to not like me, that’s not my goal. I always just think, if it makes me laugh, then it will make everybody laugh. Often I’m wrong. [Laughs] I mean, I’ve tried before, when I was working on “Saturday Night Live.” People were writing these really hackneyed sketches and getting these big laughs. So I thought I would try it, but mine didn’t get any laughs. So I think you really have to like the stuff; you can’t just aim it at the audience and say, “this is something I think they’ll get.”

On laughing versus clapping from the same interview:

“[T]here’s a difference between a clap and a laugh. A laugh is involuntary, but the crowd is in complete control when they’re clapping, they’re saying, “we agree with what you’re saying-proceed!” But when they’re laughing, they’re genuinely surprised. And when they’re not laughing, they’re really surprised. And sometimes I think, in my little head, that that’s the best comedy of all.”

This is a funny excerpt which really doesn’t have any educational value from an interview with The comedy Couch:

“My buddy told me he used to get, like, really stoned, you know? He was a comedian. He said, “I always think of this really funny stuff, you know, and the next day I forget it all.” So he had this plan, like he was stoned he was going to write it down, you know? He was really stoned and he wrote it down on this piece of paper and he said the next day when he read the piece of paper, on the piece of paper it said, ‘That’s really funny.'”

5 Fun Facts:

1) Norm was once a writer on the sitcom “Roseanne”

2) Norm is considered one of Conan O’Brien’s favourite guests, as he would often be invited on the show if someone cancelled.  This was while Norm was just upstairs at 30 Rock and could come down.

3) Chevy Chase, the first anchor of the Weekend Update segment on Saturday night live has deemed Norm as the only anchor since him that has “done it right.”

4) He dropped out of high school when he was 15

5) Won 500,000 dollars for charity on the game show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.”  He actually guessed the last question correctly, but chickened out. There’s some highlight footage in the video below.

We’ll end off with this nice “best of” compilation which includes some great comedic Norm MacDonald moments:


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