Former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Norm Macdonald died on September 14 “after a long and private battle with cancer,” Deadline confirmed. He was 61 years old. Macdonald kept his nine-year cancer battle private.
Macdonald, known for his deadpan humor, was married to ex-wife Connie Vaillancourt Macdonald from 1988 to 1996, according to Celebrity Mirror. They had one son together, Dylan, whom they welcomed in 1993.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner and friend, told Deadline. “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 appeared on “SNL” from 1993 to 1998, where he became best known for his “Weekend Update” skits.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Macdonald Did Voice Acting Until 2020
Even though he had cancer Macdonald didn’t stop working. According to his profile on the Internet Movie Database, Macdonald gave his voice to the animated series “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” where he played Pigeon.
The website claims he was best known for gigs on films like “Billy Madison,” “The Animal,” “Dirty Work” and “Doctor Do Little.”
However, Deadline noted he was most impactful during his time on “SNL.” He then went on to star in “The Norm Show” from 1999 to 2001 and did comedy on Netflix for one season in 2018 with the talk show “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.”
The outlet noted he was slated to appear at the New York Comedy Festival in November.
2. Macdonald Was Active on Social Media in the Beginning of the Pandemic
Macdonald wasn’t active on social media in the year before his death, though he did post several updates on Instagram in the beginning part of the pandemic.
He did skits with fellow comedians like Chevy Chase and Bob Saget.
His final picture was of a burger and fries. “Hypothetically, if there was a restaurant named after me out there, I’d tell them to serve @Pepsi because burgers go #BetterWithPepsi #PepsiPartner,” he wrote on May 26.
3. Fans Mourned Macdonald’s Death
Most fans were shocked to hear about Macdonald’s death. Shortly after his death was announced, his name became a top-trending topic on Twitter where fans mourned the comedian.
“RIP to a comedy legend. Dirty Work was the first DVD I ever bought and it started my lifelong appreciation for Norm’s talent,” Variety writer Joe Otterson tweeted.
“NOOOOO GODDAMIT. Oh my God what is even happening. Good bye, Norm. You were never not 100% hilarious,” comedian Patton Oswalt said.
“We loved Norm Macdonald. One of a kind,” Steve Martin added.
Jim Carrey shared his love for Macdonald. “My dear friend Norm Macdonald passed after a brave 10-year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius,” he said. “I love him.”
4. ‘Roseanne’ Kicked Off Macdonald’s Career
Macdonald was a Canadian who was born in Québec City, Québec on October 17, 1959, IMDb.com wrote.
Macdonald, born Norman Gene Macdonald, got his start writing for “Roseanne” in 1988. He then garnered the attention of NBC executive Lorne Michaels, which helped land him a gig on “SNL,” according to IMBD.
He went on to make the phrase “now the fake news” popular during his “Weekend Update” segment on “SNL.”
He remained close with Bar, who appeared on one of Macdonald’s “quarantine segments” at the beginning of the pandemic.
Macdonald also defended Bar, which drew criticism from critics.
“She was just so broken and crying constantly,” Macdonald told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. “There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”
5. Macdonald Was Slammed for Defending Fellow Comedians
The former “SNL” star found himself in hot water after he defending some of his colleagues, including Barr, Louis C.K. and Chris Hardwick.
“It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 when asked about the #MeToo movement.
“Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there,” he added. “The model used to be admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition, and then we give you a second chance. Now it’s admit wrongdoing and you’re finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny.”
“That’s not healthy — that there is no forgiveness,” the comedian continued. “I do think that at some point it will end with a completely innocent person of prominence sticking a gun in his head and ending it.”
After a backlash ensued Macdonald quickly issued an apology.
“Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years,” he tweeted in 2018. “They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.”