The Crazy Saturday Night Live Secret Norm Macdonald Learned From Chris Farley

norm macdonald saturday night live

A veteran of Saturday Night Live that has never been shy or quiet or unfunny in front of an audience, Norm Macdonald has been a wealth of info about the long-running sketch series over the years. Just recently he dropped an info-bomb that was shared with him by the late Chris Farley upon the two meeting for the first time. If you don't mind everything you knew about early 1990s SNL going up in flames, read on.

Farley, he'd never met me before in his life, and he took me in back and said, 'I gotta tell you a secret about SNL.' . . . He made sure it wasn't bugged or anything and said, 'I got a secret to tell you.' I was very honored to have this, and his secret was, "This doesn't go past these walls. a woman!'

Somebody call the spoiler police, because Norm Macdonald needs to be locked up for that one, and maybe Chris Farley should have something posthumously applied to his permanent record. Well, not exactly.

Fans will recall Pat O'Neill Riley, the office worker whose androgynous appearance was the entire crux of every sketch the character appeared in, as well as It's Pat: The Movie. Played by actress Julia Sweeney, Pat showed up on Saturday Night Live between 1990 and 1994 , the year the film was made, and not once during that point nor any other has there been an official stance on whether Pat was a man or a woman. And Chris Farley telling Norm Macdonald is hardly unbreakable proof, but it's something.

Norm Macdonald told this story on Thursday night's episode of Conan for an interview segment that also included Adam Sandler, Tim Meadows, David Spade and more. And Chris Farley apparently shared this secret with him as the cast was watching Conan O'Brien's first night as the host of Late Night on NBC, which is a nice touch. And for what it's worth, Conan and everyone else on stage laughed quite loudly when Macdonald was finished, which usually happens after the comedian's stories, but here there was the addition of "this might all just be a bunch of bullshit."

When you have a bunch of comedians on a stage, it's always going to be hard to tell when someone's words are genuine in spirit, and Macdonald has built up a career on stretching the line between serious and sarcastic. As such, that can be used as a reasonable defense for anyone out there who wants to cling to the idea that Pat could possibly still be a man or someone genderless entirely. After all, it's Pat!

Coming off of a highly rated post-election episode with Dave Chappelle as the host, SNL airs every Saturday night on NBC. Check out our updated list of hosts while you wait.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.