Norm McDonald
Comedian Norm McDonald. Photo Courtesy Los Angeles Times

Comedian Norm Macdonald Passes at 61

Comedian and Ex Saturday Night Live Host Norm Macdonald died of leukemia in Pasadena, California, on Sept. 14.

 The news came as a shock, as Macdonald, 61, had made it a point to keep his cancer diagnosis private, fearing it may affect his public image. Macdonald had reportedly been dealing with his diagnosis for nine years leading up to his passing.

Macdonald is most known for his time hosting SNL, where he would often jab at controversial topics such as the OJ Simpson trial.

Norm McDonald finds comedy in the OJ Simpson controversy. Photo courtesy The Daily Beast

“It is finally official. Murder is legal in the state of California.” – Norm Macdonald on Simpson’s acquittal.

Macdonald was soon removed from his Weekend Update Anchor position on SNL in early January of 1998. He remained on the program briefly after before being dismissed a month later. He reappeared on the show on Oct. 23, 1999, where he claimed that the show “had gotten really bad” after his departure.

Macdonald later went on to do voice work for characters such as Lucky the Dog in “Doctor Dolittle” alongside Eddie Murphy in 1998 and later Death in an episode of “Family Guy” in 2000.

Later, on May 15, 2015, Macdonald performed as the final stand-up act on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” He also became a judge on the ninth season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”

He later reprised the role of Colonel Sanders for KFC’s commercials in August of 2015 before being replaced by Jim Gaffigan six months later.

Norm McDonald as the legendary Col. Sanders. Photo Courtesy
  • Late in his career, Norm transitioned his comedy into the more minimalist and deadpan approach that he is most known for. He landed 10 episodes of “Norm Macdonald Has a Show” on Netflix in 2018, where he criticized the #MeToo movement. Because of this, Macdonald’s appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” was canceled.

In Norm’s unfortunately now-relevant stand-up act Me Doing Standup, Macdonald criticized the way the media refers to those who have passed from illness, stating that “losing the battle” to cancer is “no way to go out – like a loser.”

“I wouldn’t have no brave battle when I’m dying . . . because I am not brave.” – Macdonald on Me Doing Standup just a year after his diagnosis.

While Norm believed there was nothing brave about fighting cancer, there is something remarkable about a man that continues to push his career while also dealing with cancer behind the scenes.

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