Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
voa

Norman Macdonald appears at KAABOO 2017 in San Diego, Sept. 16, 2017

NEW YORK - Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer who was "Weekend Update" host when former U.S. President Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson provided comic fodder during the 1990s, has died.

Macdonald, who was 61, died Tuesday after having cancer for nine years but kept it private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.


He never reached the same television heights after being fired from "SNL" in 1998 but was an indefatigable stand-up comic and popular talk show guest whose death provoked an outpouring from fellow comedians.

"Norm was in a comedy genre of his own," tweeted Sarah Silverman. "No one like him on this planet. Please do yourself a favor and watch his stuff."

Macdonald, the son of two schoolteachers, was raised in Quebec City, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences, calling Macdonald "a comedic genius and a great Canadian."

Colin Quinn, from left, Chevy Chase and Norm Macdonald appear onstage at The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York, April 28, 2012 Image source: voa

Macdonald was a stand-up comic and briefly a writer for the sitcom "Roseanne" when he was picked to join the cast of "SNL" in 1993.

He became known for his esoteric impressions, including actor Burt Reynolds, who gave comedian Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek character grief on "Celebrity Jeopardy." He also impersonated former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, television and radio host Larry King, and comedian and talk show host David Letterman.

His deadpan style and skills as a writer made him the choice to host "Weekend Update." Simpson was a favorite target. Macdonald opened the fake newscast the week of the former football star's acquittal on murder charges by saying, "Well, it's finally official. Murder is legal in the state of California."

"SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels, speaking for the show, called Macdonald "one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation."

"There are so many things that we'll miss about Norm — from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise," he said. "But most of all, he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm."

Macdonald was fired in the middle of the season in 1998 by NBC Entertainment executive Don Ohlmeyer, a friend of Simpson's who reportedly didn't appreciate Macdonald making Simpson the near-constant butt of jokes.

"I was never bitter," Macdonald said in the oral history "Live From New York," released in 2002. "I always understood that Ohlmeyer could fire me because he was the guy who owned the cameras. So, that didn't bother me. I was always happy that 'SNL' gave me a chance."

He said in the same book, "I just like doing jokes I like, and if the audience doesn't like them, they're wrong, not me."

Ohlmeyer said that was his problem.

"When 'Saturday Night Live' is really good, they do care what the audience thinks," he said. "And when 'Saturday Night Live' is not really good, they're kind of doing it for themselves and their pals."

Host Norm Macdonald removes a pancake from a spoof "swag-bag" at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, Ontario, March 2016 Image source: voa

Macdonald announced his firing on Letterman's show. During a commercial break, Letterman asked him, "This is like some Andy Kaufman thing with fake wrestling, right?" Macdonald recalled. But it wasn't.

Letterman was a fan who made Macdonald one of the guests in the CBS "Late Show" host's final run of shows.

In 2016, Letterman told The Washington Post that the show would have had Macdonald on every week "if we could.''

"He is funny in a way that some people inhale and exhale," Letterman told the Post. "With others, you can tell the comedy, the humor is considered. With Norm, he exudes it ... There may be people as funny as Norm, but I don't know anybody who is funnier."

The Post's story was headlined, "Will Somebody Please Give Norm Macdonald Another Show?"

As if to answer, Netflix two years later aired 10 episodes of an interview series, "Norm Macdonald Has a Show." Guests included Letterman, Michaels, actress Jane Fonda and Judge Judy Sheindlin.

He had limited success in other TV ventures. He created and starred in the ABC sitcom "The Norm Show," later shortened to "Norm," playing a former professional hockey player kicked out of the league for gambling and tax evasion and forced into community service as a social worker.

A Comedy Central show, "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald," lasted only a handful of episodes, but he kept busy in comedy clubs.

"In my mind, I'm just a stand-up," he told The New York Times in 2018. "But other people don't think that. They think, 'Oh, the guy from 'SNL' is doing stand-up now.'"

In a 2011 comedy special, Macdonald said it was wrong to say you "lost your battle" with cancer when you died. "I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time," he said. "That, to me, is not a loss. That's a draw."

Comedian Jim Carrey tweeted that Macdonald was "an honest and courageous comedy genius." Actor and comedian Seth Rogen said when he started acting, he essentially ripped off Macdonald's delivery.

"No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald," comedian Jon Stewart said on Twitter. "Hilarious and unique."

Keywords: Norman Macdonald, Saturday Night Live, Comedy


Popular

Unsplash

Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal.

"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."

Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.

Keep Reading Show less
wikimedia commons

Yakshi statue by Kanayi Kunjiraman at Malampuzha garden, Kerala

Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.

The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.

Keep Reading Show less
Pinterest

Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.


The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.

Keep reading... Show less