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A good laugh is always needed at a time of great loss and, unfortunately, the world recently lost one of the best in the business of laughter. Canadian actor and comedian Norm Macdonald passed away at the age of 61 on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, after a private nine-year battle with cancer, leaving behind an influential legacy of subversive, deadpan humor that made him a standout in some of the best comedy movies (or the best part of his movies, at least). Following the countless tributes that have poured out from fans and his celebrity peers online, we pay our respects with our favorite Norm Macdonald movies and TV shows with a tip of how fans can watch in his honor, starting with the legendary series that made him a legend.
Saturday Night Live (Peacock)
Some of the most influential, controversial, and unforgettable moments in the history of comedy TV shows came from this long, long-running sketch comedy series from creator Lorne Michaels that jumpstarted many of the greatest careers in entertainment.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: One such person whose career took off during his time as a ‘90s Saturday Night Live cast member (Seasons 19-23) was Norm Macdonald - who might be the best “Weekend Update” host ever, especially for his merciless roasting of O.J. Simpson, which is said to be a reason he was fired, only to see him come back as host a year later where he roasted the decision.
Billy Madison (Amazon Rental)
In order to prove to his wealthy father that he is worthy of inheriting his hotel empire, a drunken, lazy man-child (co-writer and star Adam Sandler) must go back to school and repeat grades 1-12 two weeks at a time.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: In his feature film debut, Norm Macdonald starred alongside his Saturday Night Live co-star Adam Sandler in the 1995 cult favorite comedy Billy Madison, in which he occasionally steals the show as the title character’s equally childish friend, Frank.
Funny People (Starz)
A famous comedian turned actor (Adam Sandler) takes a deli employee struggling to make it as a stand-up (Seth Rogen) under his wing and hires him as a personal assistant after learning he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Norm Macdonald would share the screen with his friend Adam Sandler in several more movies, with 2009’s Funny People - writer and director Judd Apatow’s insightful and emotional meta commentary on the entertainment industry told from the perspective of humorists - being one of the few times he played himself in his brief appearance.
Dirty Work (HBO Max)
Desperate to keep a job and an even more desperate for money, an aimless, immure man (co-writer and star Norm Macdonald) and his best friend (Artie Lange) come up with an idea to start a business that specializes in the one thing they know best: revenge.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: In his first leading role in a feature film, Norm Macdonald was the key as to why director Bob Saget’s otherwise crass and childish 1998 comedy Dirty Work is remembered today as a charming cult classic that was actually released just a few months after his infamous SNL exit.
Screwed (Amazon Rental)
Sick of his job and desperate for money, a clueless chauffeur (Norm Macdonald) and his best friend (Dave Chappelle) come up with an idea to turn the tables on his horrid employer (Elaine Stritch) by kidnapping her dog, only to see the scheme inevitably blow up in their faces.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Norm Macdonald’s next big leading role was in another crass, childish, but still somewhat charming 2000 comedy about revenge called Screwed, in which he also had the honor of working with fellow stand-up legend Dave Chappelle and award-winning actor Danny DeVito as an eccentric mortician who also gets wrapped up in their dognapping plot gone wrong.
Dr. Dolittle (HBO Max)
An esteemed medical doctor and family man (Eddie Murphy) rediscovers his ability to communicate with animals and becomes their personal physician.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: In the same year that Dirty Work came out, Norm Macdonald (sort of) shared the screen with fellow Saturday Night Live cast legend Eddie Murphy in his fun, modernized reimagining of Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle stories, in which he hilariously lent his unmistakable voice to Lucky - a stray who eventually becomes the title character’s family dog.
Mike Tyson Mysteries (Hulu)
With the help of his intelligent adoptive daughter (Rachel Ramras), a foul-mouthed, mean spirited pigeon (Norm Macdonald), and the flamboyant ghost of John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry (former Community cast member Jim Rash), retired boxing champion Mike Tyson attempts to investigate very strange phenomena.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Many years after Dr. Dolittle, Norm Macdonald would also lend his voice to the role of the aptly named Pigeon from 2014-2020 on Mike Tyson Mysteries - Adult Swim’s extremely bizarre and surprisingly funny Scooby-Doo send-up that also really stars co-creator Mike Tyson as himself.
The Orville (Amazon Purchase)
An aspiring space explorer (Seth MacFarlane) finally achieves his dream of leading an intergalactic expedition on a high-tech ship, only to butt heads with his second-in-command (Adrianne Palicki), who also happens to be his ex-wife.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Many years after casting him as the voice of the Grim Reaper on Family Guy Season 2, star and creator Seth MacFarlane cast Norm Macdonald on The Orville in the recurring voice role of a sentient blob called Yaphit, who would later take human form in Macdonald’s first onscreen appearance on the acclaimed sci-fi comedy series.
Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup (Amazon Rental)
The comedian riffs on everything from alcoholism, Tiger Woods, and his all-time favorite topic to poke fun at (O.J. Simpson) in front of a live audience at The Fillmore theater in San Francisco, California.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Directed by former Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm writer David Steinberg, 2011’s Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup is (believe it or not) the comedian’s own first-ever, feature-length stand-up comedy special after decades already in the game.
Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (Netflix)
The comedian provides more blunt, subversive commentary on topics that range from his experience with psychedelics, how strange an abbreviation “ID” really is when you think about it, and why he is afraid of Germany to a live audience in Boston, Massachusetts.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: Directed by Liz Plonka (known for helming Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, and other similar programs), 2017’s Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery is the comedian’s first-ever Netflix original stand-up comedy special and one of the first of his many collaborations with the streaming platform.
Norm Macdonald Has A Show (Netflix)
Accompanied by his co-host Adam Eget (former manager of the Improv comedy club in Tempe, Arizona), the comedian shares jokes, stories, and philosophies with a rotation of diverse guests, including David Letterman, Michael Keaton, and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: From 2013-2017, Norm Macdonald found success and a new audience with a visual podcast called Norm Macdonald Live, which would later evolve into his own Netflix original talk show aptly titled Norm Macdonald has a Show, which would last one 10-episode season in 2018.
Sports Show With Norm Macdonald (Amazon Purchase)
The comedian brings his signature deadpan delivery and unique point of view to his own weekly updates from the world of sports entertainment.
Why it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Norm Macdonald: One of the first times that Norm Macdonald hosted a non-fiction series was in 2011 on Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, which would last one, 9-episode season on Comedy Central and also featured a young, pre-Saturday Night Live Kyle Mooney as Norm’s fake “Nephew Kyle” on a few episodes.
Whenever this binge is over, if you are still itching for more of Norm Macdonald’s comedic brilliance, I recommend getting lost in the hours of footage from his legendary late night talk show appearances on YouTube. It never fails to put a smile on your face, even if this time you may also shed a tear.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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