Comedy Central Roasts are known for their raunchiness, where the gutter is the starting point for the A-through-D-list roasters, so when Comedy Central took aim at former Full House dad Bob Saget, the gloves were off. But it was Norm Macdonald’s set that became the most infamous, as he took the stage in front of his longtime friend and told squeaky clean, completely cornball jokes, absolutely bombing in the most hilarious way. In the wake of the beloved comedian's death at age 61 of cancer, Bob Saget shared the heartwarming story behind that particular performance.
Norm Macdonald was just 17 years old when he first met Bob Saget. The two became friends while doing standup and went on to work together on the cult classic Dirty Work in 1998. Saget posted an emotional tribute to his friend, who died September 14 after a long, private battle with cancer. The comedian got choked up as he shared the story behind Macdonald’s hilarious fail at The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget in 2008, which was so objectively — and intentionally — bad that it’s now remembered as one of the funniest moments of Macdonald’s lauded career. According to Saget:
Norm Macdonald’s jokes that night may have come straight from a book, but it was the deadpan delivery and perfect comedic timing that drove home the hilarity. From making fun of Cloris Leachmann’s car to saying Greg Giraldo was “for the birds,” Macdonald went on for about 20 minutes to a mostly silent room, Bob Saget said in his tribute. Comedy Central cut Macdonald’s set down to around 7 minutes for the telecast, which is all anyone outside of that venue got to see. But Bob Saget loved that on a night that was full of “horrible dick jokes" and "really wrong stuff,” Macdonald “chose the path of dignity.”
In his candid 37-minute tribute to Norm Macdonald, Bob Saget struggled to use the past tense when talking about his friend, chastising himself for slipping back into present tense and not being able to accept reality.
Norm Macdonald’s set on The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget remains my favorite moment of all of the Comedy Central roasts. Macdonald didn’t go over the top or try to out-raunch the other comedians; he did something unexpected that has aged far better than a lot of those dick jokes have. Hearing Saget give the story behind that night makes it even more special. Our thoughts go out to all who are mourning Norm Macdonald’s passing, and our hopes go to Comedy Central releasing the entire 20-minute set.
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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.