Norm Macdonald: Rest in Peace

Last week, Norm Macdonald passed away. For those who may have forgotten, Norm was on Saturday Night Live back in the late 90s. He was the anchorman of “Weekend Update” and his sardonic, wry humor made it part of the “must-see” part of SNL. And his dead-pan imitation of Senator Bob Dole was priceless.

And who can forget his rendition of Burt Reynolds on “Celebrity Jeopardy”. Together with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek and Darryl Hammond as Sean Connery, “Celebrity Jeopardy” was (in my humble opinion) the absolute apogee of SNL‘s hillarity.

What is not as well known was that Macdonald was a devout Christian, which no doubt made his professional life rather difficult. He was booted from SNL in 1998, ostensibly because he “wasn’t that funny”. (The real story was that Macdonald made a career of mocking O J Simpson, who was a personal friend of Don Ohlmeyer, the show’s producer.) A few years later, he got his licks in when he guest-hosted SNL and ripped his earlier firing, when, during the opening monologue, he asked “if I wasn’t that funny in the first place, ehen why did they ask me to come back?” In his best, dark-witted way, he said “I guess it’s because this show isn’t so damn funny anymore.”

Like Bob Newhart (one of Macdonald’s inspirations), that’s one of those things that you had to see it when it happened to get the hilarity of it.

What was not so well-known was Macdonald’s intellectual brilliance. He was quick on the draw when it came to retorts and even when he stepped on another guest’s lines, the resulting hilarity made even his critics laugh. Nor was he shy about defending Christianity (as can be seen in first part of the clip below).

Regardless, he was able to continue his profession as a comedian/media personality and carve out a niche for himself on the public stage. In time, he became more open about his Christianity even while he was publicly reviled for doing so.

I highly recommend this piece by Rob LeDonne, published the day after Norm’s death: “Remembering Norm Macdonald’s Heart” (

I also recommend this video montage of some of Norm’s greatest appearances:


  1. Gail Sheppard says

    OK, I know the sister of someone who slept with Ted Ferguson. Not appropriate?! “Oh, I’m sorry. Nevermind.” – Missing Gilda Radner, too.

  2. I considered Norm to be my secret shameful indulgence. He could break down my delusional piety in about 5 minutes and even in his more vulgar moments he still seemed like a mischievous kid.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    That’s Turd Ferguson!