So I says to the guy I says to the guy I says...
What happens when a Deadpan Snarker
and a Cloudcuckoolander
have a kid. Oh, and they're both nihilists
. Well, that or The Joker
. Wait, Norm MacDonald is The Joker!
Norm MacDonald (October 17, 1963-) is a Canadian-born comedian who started on Saturday Night Live
has had a lot of Canadian cast members, like Phil Hartman
, Dan Aykroyd
, Paul Shaffer
, and Mike Meyers
, Norm is the only one who was not born in Ontario. Norm was born in Quebec) during the show's 19th season (1993-1994). Though he appeared in sketches on the show (his impressions of Burt Reynolds and Larry King were hilarious), he was most widely known for the "Weekend Update" segment, which was considered by many critics and viewers alike to be the only reason to watch Saturday Night Live
when it was limping to the barn with Seasonal Rot
during the show's 20th season and rumors spread that NBC was going to cancel SNL
After a rather ignominious split from the show (and when the show was starting to become popular again thanks to the likes of Will Ferrell
, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan), he did some movies and TV shows, none of which met or exceeded the success he had on SNL
. His appearances on late night talk shows are quite popular, for he has a tendency to lampshade the tropes of whatever medium he is currently operating in.
Known as a comedian for comedians, he's foremost a master of Anti-Humor
. His comedic method can usually be distilled down to a three step process:
1. Tell Joke.
2. Joke is so cheesy, it's bad.
3. It's so bad, it's good
His most recent series was a sports show on Comedy Central
called Sports Show with Norm MacDonald
, essentially a sports-themed version of his "Weekend Update" performances, which was cancelled after one season despite regularly having over a million viewers an episode. His current project is a weekly podcast on Youtube
called Norm Macdonald Live
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Had one of the most memorable runs on the celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, where he won half a million dollars for charity, after spending the week as the Butt Monkey in the Fastest Finger contestant row (he was the last contestant to play the main game and the correct order to his solo FF question spelled out his name). He wanted to go for the million dollars, but admitted he was Wild Mass Guessing and was talked into walking away by Regis so that he wouldn't cost the charity the money he had banked in case he was wrong. Had Norm chosen the answer he was thinking about, he would have been correct.
- Captain Obvious: An essential ingredient of his style and the point on which most people's mileage will vary. Part of what makes it work is what he chooses to be obvious about.
- He's obvious about things that are so obvious that we just don't even think about them anymore. Like saying that scientists should start focusing on this death thing.
- Cloudcuckoolander: His take on Larry King. To be fair, this applies to Norm himself.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Don't Explain the Joke: The less a joke needs explaining, the more likely he'll explain it, especially in his Comedy Central Roast bit.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He titled his 2011 comedy CD Me Doing Stand Up.
- The Gadfly: Much like Andy Kaufman, Norm has a history of making truly biting, smart ass remarks in such a way that people aren't sure if he's joking. Doubtless this contributed to his firing from SNL.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Trope Namer, one of his Running Gags on Weekend Update.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Norm is often involved in projects with by Adam Sandler, Dennis Miller, and Artie Lange (who was a cast member on SNL's rival show, MADtv, until Lange was fired for his cocaine abuse).
- It Will Never Catch On: The accusations from NBC that Norm simply wasn't funny come off this way when you consider this: his first appearance on SNL after the Weekend Update debacle (note that Norm was only fired from the sketch, not the show, so he had infrequent appearances for months afterwards) was during guest host Sarah Michelle Gellar's monologue. He was immediately greeted by a massively positive audience response - interrupting the skit for several moments. And just to hammer it home, Norm wound up hosting an episode himself a year-and-a-half later.
"How did I go in a year-and-a-half from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building to being so funny that I'm now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so goddamn funny?"
- Non Sequitur: Nearly every week one of his news stories would "support" the conclusion that Germans Love David Hasselhoff. The only exception to this was when he got Hasselhoff to appear on the set and read a card saying "Germans love me," which quite reasonably supported his theory.
- Personal Arcade: Once on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Norm was showing some photos while joking about selling his home in Los Angeles. One photo was an exercise room with a Family Guy pinball machine, and Norm comments that the buyer can have the exercise equipment, but not the pinball table.
- Running Gag: Several on Weekend Update. The most memorable ones being Norm MacDonald's relentless insistence about OJ Simpson being guilty (ending with "This just in, murder is now legal in California"), his weird story of the week which involved, you guessed it, Frank Stallone, and his "Notes to Self" reminding him to shamelessly exploit stupid things happening in the news.
- Screwed by the Network: Norm's removal from Weekend Update. Now, it was claimed that it was simply because he wasn't funny (which ran counter to the opinions of critics and the studio audience). However, as noted above, OJ Simpson was a frequent source of material for Norm on Weekend Update and Simpson happened to be a friend of Don Ohlmeyer, NBC's West Coast Executive. Many suspect that Ohlmeyer was angered by Norm's jabs at Simpson and subsequently demanded his removal.
- Summed by Norm when he hosted:
"I had sort of a disagreement with the management at, uh, at the NBC. Uh, I wanted to keep my job, right? And they felt the exact opposite."
- So Unfunny It's Funny: Again, the Roast.
- Too Soon: As a guest on The Daily Show, he unapologetically cracked jokes about the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin just after it happened. Jon Stewart practically begged him to stop... while fighting back fits of laughter.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In the Celebrity Edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, part of his strategy was trying to find Regis' tell for a correct answer, like in a poker game. Regis didn't know the answers either, though Norm did end up winning $500,000.