Comedian Norm Macdonald, known best for his role as Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) “Weekend Update” host from 1993-1998, has died of cancer. He was 61 years old.
RIP Norm McDonald pic.twitter.com/wC4qrGcXsB
— the twink with no name (@postingtwink) September 14, 2021
The deadpan Canadian comic’s demise was confirmed to Deadline by his management firm Brillstein Entertainment.
Macdonald, known for edgy jokes and never pulling punches, had been fighting cancer privately for nine years.
New York City comedy club audiences in the ’90s were frequently treated to Macdonald stopping by unannounced to do “guest spots,” where he would rehearse jokes for the upcoming “Weekend Update” on SNL.
Norm MacDonald’s moth joke is maybe the funniest five minutes of television ever: https://t.co/tXXuzoq6FK
— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) September 14, 2021
Macdonald’s friend, Lori Jo Hoekstra, was with him when he died.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra, who was his friend as well as producing partner, stated. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”
Macdonald moved from Canada to Los Angeles, where he landed a gig writing for the Roseanne Barr Show. He soon snagged the “Weekend Update” gig in New York City. He left SNL to do sitcoms, movies, and his own talk show.
“I would love to stay at SNL forever — but you can’t stay in the same place,” he told TV Guide in 1997. “People think you’re a loser.”
“I was in my peak physical condition when I was about like, uh — one,” he once quipped. “Oh God, I looked good, young and fresh! You wouldn’t know me now if you’d seen me when I was one, you know? I even looked good for my age. People would come up to me and go, ‘what are you, zero?’ And I’d go, “no, I’m one over here!”
If you have never seen Norm Macdonald, I suggest you watch his “Hitler had a dog” joke.