Macdonald, who briefly wrote for “Roseanne” before working on SNL, returned to sitcoms when he co-created and starred as a former NHL player in “The Norm Show” from 1999 to 2001. He began a video podcast called “Norm Macdonald Live” in 2013 — on which he interviewed other celebrities — and carried the concept to Netflix for 2018′s “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.”
The comedian also made notable guest appearances on multiple talk shows hosted by Conan O’Brien as well as “The Late Show With David Letterman,” performing the latter show’s final stand-up set in May 2015. The choice may have seemed unconventional at the time, but Letterman told The Post soon afterward that “if we could have, we would have had Norm on every damn week.”
“He is funny in a way that some people inhale and exhale,” Letterman said. “With others, you can tell the comedy, the humor, is considered. With Norm, he exudes it. It’s sort of a furnace in him because he’s so effortless. The combination of the delivery and his appearance and his intelligence. There may be people as funny as Norm, but I don’t know anybody who is funnier.”
Similar sentiments poured out on Twitter after the news of Macdonald’s death. “In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best,” Letterman wrote. “Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you.” O’Brien said he was “absolutely devastated,” and that Macdonald “had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny.”
Actor Jim Carrey referred to his friend as “one of our most precious gems,” while comedian Jon Stewart noted, “No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald. Hilarious and unique.” Sarah Silverman said “Norm was in a comedy genre of his own. No one like him on this planet.” Fellow SNL cast member Darrell Hammond wrote “there was no one funnier,” and that the “hardest I ever laughed was with him.”
“They assume you must be bitter,” he continued. “But it is impossible for me to be bitter. I’ve been lucky. If I had to sum up my whole life, I guess those are the words I would choose, all right.”
Additional tributes below:
Emily Langer contributed to this post.