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I recently pulled out my trusty old copy of Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller, who fed my fan appreciation for Saturday Night Live. The pages are dog-eared and yellow from use and age at this point -- as is often the SNL criticism “not what it used to be” -- but this time I brought it out following the death of Norm Macdonald after a private battle with cancer at age 61.
His fellow SNL co-stars and other people whose lives he touched already weighed in after the actor and comedian's passing, but just in case you haven’t been able to read Live From New York yet, I did want to share some stories from Norm himself.
Norm Macdonald On Why SNL And ‘Weekend Update’ Was A Good Job For Him
The thing about Norm is that he was always coming at jokes or even everyday concepts from his own perspective. An old-fashioned way of describing that trait might be something like a “true original” though that makes me think of art or sassy older ladies. When Norm got the job at Saturday Night Live, it was actually Adam Sandler who “liked” Macdonald and was a key person in helping him land the role. But was he nervous? No.
Norm Macdonald on Dropping An F-Bomb Live From New York On Saturday Night
Over the years a variety of celebrities and cast members have accidentally said things they shouldn’t have on the air on SNL. I remember one memorable episode Live From New York in which paired "Weekend Update" chairs Michael Che and Colin Jost managed to drop both an f-bomb and the word "shithole" in one broadcast. So, it happens. Norm was no exception, and recalled in Live From New York that he did once drop an f-bomb on the air.
On Getting Fired From SNL Right After Chris Farley Died
Norm Macdonald famously was replaced with Colin Quinn on ‘Weekend Update.’ There was an awkward transitional period that happened on the show after he broke the news during a Letterman appearance, and Macdonald stills seems bummed to recount what happened with his ultimate exit from the NBC late night show. He recalled to Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller that he found out he was being fired three hours after finding out his co-worker and pal on the show Chris Farley had died. He later said he actually had to call Ohlmeyer to ask if he was being replaced, since no one would tell him.
David Letterman would later call Norm Macdonald one of the three funniest comedians he'd ever encountered.
So, Did Norm Macdonald Regret His Time On SNL?
Norm Macdonald’s the guy who can get away with moth jokes and get away with monologues about being fired from SNL after you get fired. He also had no regrets about his time on the show, noting he “was never bitter” about how things ultimately played out.
Saturday Night Live will return on October 2 for Season 47 with Michael Che and Colin Jost in the ‘Weekend Update’ chairs and a slew of planned guests already in the works. If you haven’t picked up the 2002 behemoth Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live yet, you can and should do so (opens in new tab).
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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