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HomeEntertainmentNorm Macdonald, comedian and 'SNL' actor and writer, dies at 61

Norm Macdonald, comedian and ‘SNL’ actor and writer, dies at 61

Norm Macdonald, the actor and comedian finest often called a author, performer and three-season “Weekend Replace” anchor on “Saturday Night time Stay,” has died of most cancers. He was 61.

Macdonald’s dying Tuesday morning was confirmed by his supervisor, Marc Gurvitz. Macdonald had battled most cancers privately for 9 years.

Longtime producing companion Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline that her good friend was “most proud” of his comedy and saved his analysis personal as a result of he didn’t need it to alter the best way folks noticed him.

“Norm was a pure comedian,” she mentioned. “He as soon as wrote that ‘a joke ought to catch somebody unexpectedly, it ought to by no means pander.’ He definitely by no means pandered. Norm will probably be missed terribly.”

“To so many individuals in comedy, me included, there was no person funnier than Norm MacDonald,” “Household Man” star Seth MacFarlane tweeted, one in every of several tributes from peers and admirers. “You all the time hoped he would grasp round after the work was performed, simply so you possibly can hear his tales and get fun. So hilarious and so beneficiant together with his persona. I’m gonna miss him.”

“Norm, I didn’t similar to you. I cherished you,” tweeted fellow “SNL” alum Rob Schneider, sharing a number of images of them collectively. “You didn’t simply make me snicker. You made me cry with laughter. I’m nonetheless crying at this time. However once I consider you, my tears will run down my face with all of the reminiscences of all of the laughter and all the fun that you simply delivered to all of us. Relaxation.”

Macdonald wrote about his “SNL” expertise in “Based mostly on a True Story,” his 2016 memoir.

“I feel lots of people really feel sorry for you if you happen to had been on ‘SNL’ and emerged from the present something lower than a celebrity. They assume you should be bitter. However it’s inconceivable for me to be bitter,” he wrote. “I’ve been fortunate.”

Macdonald was born in 1959 in Quebec Metropolis, Canada, northeast of Montreal, and grew up watching fellow Canadian Chevy Chase carry out.

“I didn’t know there have been comedy golf equipment,” Macdonald recalled in a December 1995 chat with The Instances. “I didn’t assume there have been working comedians who did comedy. They simply appeared on tv, and so far as I knew there have been solely about six of them.”

However throughout a 1987 go to to a comedy membership with mates, whereas he was working as a rubbish collector, Macdonald on a whim discovered himself onstage winging it. The viewers’s response to his impromptu shtick — “I assumed it was the best factor,” he mentioned in ’95 — was optimistic sufficient to get him began in stand-up.

By the late ’80s, he was perfecting his deadpan supply model and had gained a fame as a comedy standout. He married Connie Vaillancourt Macdonald in 1988 (that they had one son and would divorce 11 years later) and competed on “Star Search” in 1990.

“He’s so acerbic,” Nicole Odekirk, then-general supervisor of the Irvine Improv, told The Times in June 1995. “He’s similar to David Spade in his supply. He’s very mental. His pacing is a little bit off, and if you’re not anticipating a joke, it’ll be proper there.”

After writing for “The Dennis Miller Present,” a short-lived syndicated providing from one other “SNL” performer, Macdonald broke into big-time showbiz in 1992 as a author on “Roseanne.”

He left the hit sitcom the subsequent yr for a writing job on “Saturday Night time Stay,” the place he would keep from 1993 to 1999. He was in entrance of the digital camera for 5 of these years, together with three because the anchor of “Weekend Replace” after he changed Kevin Nealon in mid-1994.

Norm Macdonald, left, on “Weekend Replace” in Might 1995 with actor Michael McKean dressed as Batman.

(Al Levine / NBCUniversal through Getty Photographs)

Macdonald gained over critics and pumped some life into what was then a 20-year-old present together with his cruelly humorous impressions of a cantankerous then-Sen. Bob Dole and his oft-disturbing takes on present occasions throughout “Weekend Replace.” He additionally was well-known for taking potshots at O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of two murders in late 1995.

“In case you don’t imagine within the joke, why do it within the first place?” Macdonald requested The Instances in 1995, talking within the understated method through which he delivered a few of his finest punchlines. “Don’t let the viewers be the decide of what’s humorous. You both assume it’s humorous otherwise you don’t. That’s the issue with comedy — it’s so subjective that you simply actually can’t take different folks’s opinions critically.”

Macdonald left “Saturday Night time Stay” quickly after being changed by Colin Quinn on “Weekend Replace.” Whereas gossip circulated for years about his departure and NBC community head Don Ohlmeyer‘s opinions about his comedy — Ohlmeyer, who died in 2017, was a Simpson good friend and supporter — the comedian would say in later years that he believed he was changed for being too insubordinate.

After “SNL,” Macdonald starred within the sitcom “The Norm Present” — later renamed “Norm” — for 3 seasons beginning in 1999. He went onerous into voice performing with roles on “Household Man,” “Skylanders Academy” and “The Orville.” Film credit included 1995’s “Billy Madison” with Adam Sandler and 1998’s “Soiled Work” with Chase, Artie Lange and the late Don Rickles.

A man in a hat and sweatshirt waves at the camera.

Norm Macdonald attends a celeb charity poker occasion in Las Vegas in June 2019.

(Gabe Ginsberg / Getty Photographs)

The actor emerged in more moderen years on social media as a sports activities fanatic, live-tweeting golf tournaments in beautiful element and amassing 1.1 million followers on Twitter. (“I do know nothing about golf however I’m in some way comforted when @normmacdonald compulsively dwell tweets it,” actor and podcast host Marc Maron tweeted in 2012.)

Macdonald confirmed in his memoir that he had “misplaced all of it” greater than as soon as whereas playing. “However,” he wrote, “that’s as a result of I all the time took the lengthy shot and it by no means got here in.”

Additionally in his memoir, the comedian lamented that he could be remembered, all the time, for what he did on “Saturday Night time Stay.”

“Don’t let the viewers be the decide of what’s humorous. You both assume it’s humorous otherwise you don’t.”

Norm Macdonald

“It may be tough to outline your self by one thing that occurred so way back and is gone ceaselessly,” Macdonald wrote. “It’s like the man on the finish of the bar telling nobody particularly in regards to the silver medal he gained in highschool observe, the one he nonetheless wears round his neck. …

“However trying again now, I can see that my life since ‘SNL’ has been a full dash, making an attempt with all my may to outrun the wolves of irrelevancy snapping at my heels. It has all been in useless, after all, as they caught and devoured me years in the past.”

“The factor about Norm, is typically his comedy was fairly obtuse,” actor Jennifer Tilly tweeted Tuesday. “However he by no means defined a joke. He delighted in the truth that typically just one or two folks knew why it was humorous.”

Macdonald is survived by his son, Dylan Macdonald.

Former Instances workers author Anthony Duignan-Cabrera contributed to this report.

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