Norm Macdonald was best known for his stand-up comedy and his stint as the Weekend Update host on “Saturday Night Live”. But the comedian, who died on Tuesday at age 61, has also been praised over the years for his hilarious and unpredictable appearances on late-night shows, with several hosts remembering him Tuesday as one of their funniest guests.
Where most celebrities and public figures appear on talk shows with mundane anecdotes in order to promote something, Macdonald always came prepared with quirky jokes and stories that elicited laughter from the hosts. as well as the public (and home viewers), and he was faster than anyone. on the couch. (Just ask Carrot Top – the clip for Macdonald’s improvised prop comic dig on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” was shared widely on Tuesday.)
Macdonald’s stories and tracks were occasionally peppered with sticky topics and feelings for network television, and some of his more derogatory jokes didn’t age well. He also briefly had hot water for his support of disgraced friends Louis CK and Roseanne in 2018, which resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show”.
Fallon was among the comics that praised Macdonald following news of his death, calling him “one of the greatest comedians of all time.”
“My God, we will miss him,” Fallon continued. “He was a friend of the show – family, really, to us.” Most of the other hosts felt the same. Here are some of Macdonald’s best late-night moments.
With David Letterman
Macdonald made his network television debut on Letterman’s NBC show “Late Night” in 1990 and has become one of Letterman’s favorite comics. As Letterman wrapped up his long late-night run in 2015, Macdonald was the last stand-up to perform during Letterman’s tenure. (“In all important respects, in the stand-up world, Norm was the best”, Letterman tweeted on Tuesday.)
But perhaps his most memorable appearance was on CBS’s “The Late Show” in 1998, just after Macdonald was fired from the “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update desk. Macdonald had risen to fame for anchoring the segment for three seasons, but was abruptly removed, apparently because NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer became enraged by Macdonald’s biting jokes about Ohlmeyer’s friend OJ Simpson.
Shortly after his layoff was announced, Macdonald appeared on “The Late Show,” where Letterman lambasted Ohlmeyer, calling Macdonald “one of the funniest men working on television today.”
Macdonald was a frequent guest at O’Brien’s various shows. One of his most famous tracks told meandering, convoluted stories that often ended with intentionally cheesy punchlines heightened by Macdonald’s impassive delivery.
While he was generally great on his own, Macdonald was also reliably hilarious when appearing alongside other guests, including in a standout cooking segment with O’Brien and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, in 2009.
In “The show tonight”
Macdonald was also a favorite on “The Tonight Show” from the 1990s. Macdonald’s knack for turning dark moments into comedy was never more evident than in a 1997 appearance with Jay Leno, which was largely filming around a story about her cat having a heart attack.
Despite the 2018 installment, Macdonald was also a frequent guest of Fallon. In 2017, he appeared on the show to promote his largely fictional book “Based on a True Story: Not a Memoir”. He also shared a meta diary entry for the next book he was working on, “A Sequel to My First Book”.
Macdonald’s reputation as a comedian and long career made him a favorite performer of other comics, and his appearances with friends like O’Brien were often memorable.
Arguably the best episode of “Lights Out,” David Spade’s short-lived Comedy Central show, came when Spade brought Macdonald back with Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon for a weekend update reunion. .
Macdonald’s friendship with Jon Stewart was palpable in his appearances on “The Daily Show,” such as an appearance in 2003 to promote his Fox sitcom, “A Minute With Stan Hooper.” As was often the case with late night hosts, Stewart poked fun at Macdonald’s well-documented gambling addiction.
But Macdonald thrived on most late-night panels, regardless of the host or additional guests. Macdonald and Craig Ferguson bonded over their mutual addictions, overlapping each other with tales of drunken getaways and time spent in rehab. During a 2016 visit to James Corden’s “Late Late Show”, Lea Michele’s story about going to Disneyland for her birthday turned into a much more twisted story by Macdonald about Mickey. Mouse.
As Stewart said in his 2003 Daily Show interview, “TV is better when Norm Macdonald is on it.” This has never been truer than when he was on a couch late at night.