The world lost a comedy treasure this week when Norm Macdonald passed away Tuesday at age 61, after having privately battled cancer for the past nine years. And as the fans he’s garnered over the course of his decades-long career in comedy came to terms with the loss, television’s current late-night hosts, like Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, had a lot to say about Macdonald, who knew a thing or two about hosting, himself.
Norm Macdonald served as the “Weekend Update” anchor on Saturday Night Live for three of his five years on the longtime sketch comedy show. Post-SNL, Macdonald hosted a number of shows, including Sports Show with Norm Macdonald on Comedy Central and Netflix’s Norm Macdonald Has a Show. Comedians who were influenced by Macdonald’s brilliant comedic timing and bitingly smart humor quickly took to social media to honor the legendary comedian. Let’s take a look at how the late-night hosts paid homage.
Jimmy Fallon did an entire Norm Macdonald bit on Tuesday's broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, following the news of Macdonald’s death. Fallon, who like Macdonald hosted “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, said the late comedian was like family, as he recalled videotaping and memorizing the comedian’s acts from the late 1980s:
He was a comic’s comic, and everyone absolutely loved him, top to bottom, and he will be missed.
Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that Norm Macdonald took him in during Colbert’s short stint as a guest writer on Saturday Night Live. The host said because of that, he ended up writing for “Weekend Update” for the month he was there:
I wish I were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about Norm Macdonald having died. But the only comedian I know who could get away with a ‘Norm Macdonald is dead joke,’ is Norm Macdonald.
Seth Meyers was yet another Saturday Night Live alum who anchored “Weekend Update” on SNL post-Norm Macdonald. On Late Night with Seth Meyers, the host echoed the sentiments of many who remembered Macdonald for telling the jokes he wanted to tell, regardless of the audience’s reception:
He just didn’t care if he was bombing. If he thought the jokes were good, he had exactly as much fun telling them to a dead audience than to one who appreciated them. And I think for so many of us, we came up watching Norm, and we thought that we were on the inside with him, when you were watching him tell these jokes that you thought were great and no one in the room thought was good, and you just felt this connection to him and that ability to just stare into an audience unblinkingly, telling the jokes that he believed in.
James Cordon and his crew on The Late Late Show with James Corden shared their memories of having worked with Norm Macdonald over the years. He said:
There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged anytime I got to be in his orbit. He leaves us as one of the all-time great comics, perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television, I think.
David Letterman, who hosted the Late Show with David Letterman for over 30 years, weighed in on Twitter about Norm Macdonald’s unique style. And like his counterparts, he had nothing but praise for MacDonald:
In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you.
Conan O’Brien, another Saturday Night Live alum and former late-night host lamented that he will never laugh as hard again now that Norm Macdonald has passed. O'Briend said:
I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today.
There’s no denying the impact Norm Macdonald made in the world of comedy over the course of his career, and hearing from those who shared a stage with him or shared some of the same experiences as him on the hosting front proves even further that the world is a little less funny today. Our thoughts at CinemaBlend go out to the family and friends of Norm Macdonald, as well as everyone who is mourning the comedian's death.