Long before, comedians were known to be courageous in taking shots at leading figures, there was Norm MacDonald.
And on last Tuesday, the world bid adieu to its last gutsy comedian.
So this Tuesday, we recap his 7 most iconic television moments.
1. The Moth Joke
Any fan of comedy would tell you why The Moth Joke ranks first in their lists. Only Norm had the ability to convert a 20 seconds Moth Joke into a 7-minute Moth Joke, on-air, with 0 preparation, 0 room for errors, and still had you laughing throughout. He often said, that the joke never matters. It’s the journey he takes you as you both try to figure out the joke, that matters.
2. The O.J Simpson Trial
'The Weekend Update' of SNL is one of the most important segments helmed by the greatest comedians or comic writers. As you could imagine, that position is lucrative, prestigious, hard-to-get, and not the one to be played around with. But all the rules in the world never applied to Norm. The OJ Simpson trial was going on, during his stint at SNL, so Norm used his platform to change the rules of political satire, and he took a shot at the judicial proceedings every chance he got.
When he was threatened to be fired from his position, he made the jokes even longer. Finally, the network had had enough and issued a final warning. So Norm did what Norm does. Went right out and cracked 7 O.J Simpson jokes in a row.
If you liked that, watch: Norm Macdonald Hates Oscar Pistorius
3. The ESPY Awards
When SNL fired Norm for making too many O.J jokes, he took it elsewhere.
And by elsewhere, we mean he cracked those jokes right in front of O.J himself.
He started the trend of making the audience the butt of jokes at prestigious award functions. But he paid too big of a price for that.
4. The Funniest Talk Show Guest
Regarded in the comedy world, as the ‘Funniest Talk Show Guest’, Norm was often called in Late Night Shows for his humour. He saved interviews by having the audience roll at his jokes.
One of the earliest examples is when Courtney Thorne-Smith appeared at Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Norm at his finest, steals the show, by insulting Courtney’s future projects, making ridiculous puns, and taking jibes at Conan himself. This is regarded as few of the finest interviews, only because of Norm’s quick thinking, wit and delivery.
Delivery reminds us. Norm’s also regarded as the ‘Master of Delivery’ in the comedy world. There are far better clips to show than this, however, this proves the point of his delivery. Norm would often crack Grandpa jokes straight out of a joke-book, and yet still have you in tears. But the beauty lies in how he was the only comedian who could get away with this. If literally, any other comedian consistently told the same jokes as Norm, their careers in comedy would end in shambles. His Bob Saget’s Roast served as an inspiration to many who came after him. As we see in Andy Samberg’s Boom Roasted at James Franco's Roast. But the story in itself showcases how unfazed Norm was when it came to the audience. Norm, never the dude to like TV execs telling him what to do/say, would purposely crack the worst joke possible whenever he was told to conform. The director of the roast had separately called him (aware of his tendencies) and asked him to make the roast as ‘shocking’ as possible.
The good news is that his set was the most shocking one, something Comedy Central hadn’t witnessed till then. The bad news is that nobody laughed at his set. Not that Norm cared. He was the only television personality who didn’t care if he was bombing or not, if he liked the joke he'd deliver it. He was of the belief that the audience will get the joke ‘someday later’ so it was useless for him to ‘wait until then’.
6. The Burt Reynolds
Though not good at doing impressions at all, he did give us the best impressions of Burt Reynolds. Ever.
Oh, I am sorry, I meant Turd Ferguson.
If you liked that, watch: SNL 40 Celebrity Jeopardy
7. His Last Appearance at David Letterman
Norm could make you laugh. And in this particular set, he could also make you cry.
Starting his comedy career in standups, his first big break came by performing at the David Letterman show. So it seemed quite fitting that Norm was the last comedian closing in for the last David Letterman show. If you could manage to skim through his grandpa jokes, in the beginning, you’d witness him at his most vulnerable state at the end. Norm Macdonald, breaking down in public, is absolutely unheard of. But his appearance is one of the most memorable ones because it shows how deeply he cared for and admired the comic legend.
And as David Letterman said, “Nobody funnier than Norm.” We bid adieu to one of the greatest. RIP Norm Macdonalds, you’ll be thoroughly missed.