Norm Macdonald Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death & More | Who was Comedian Norm Macdonald?

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Who was Norm Macdonald?

Norm Macdonald, October 17, 1959 – September 14, 2021, was a Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor known for his deadpan style.

Early in his career, he wrote for the sitcom Roseanne. Macdonald was then a cast member on Saturday Night Live (SNL) for five years, including anchoring the Weekend Update segment for three seasons, during which time he also made guest appearances on shows such as The Drew Carey Show and NewsRadio. After leaving SNL, he starred in the 1998 film Dirty Work and in his own sitcom, The Norm Show, from 1999 to 2001.

Paste magazine ranked him number 31 on their 50 Best Stand-up Comics of All Time.

Norm Macdonald, Comedian and ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum dies at 61

Norm Macdonald, a comedian and former cast member on Saturday Night Live, died Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, after a nine-year battle with cancer that he kept private.
Norm Macdonald, a comedian and former cast member on Saturday Night Live, died Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, after a nine-year battle with cancer that he kept private.

Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former Saturday Night Live writer, and performer who was Weekend Update host when Bill Clinton and OJ Simpson provided comic fodder during the 1990s has died.

Macdonald, who was 61, died Tuesday after having cancer for nine years, but keeping it private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.

He never reached the same television heights after being fired from SNL in 1998, but was an indefatigable stand-up comic and popular talk show guest whose death provoked an outpouring from fellow comedians.“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald.

Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today,” Conan O’Brien wrote on Twitter.

Other tributes came in from, Seth Rogen, Patton Oswalt, Steve Martin, and Jon Stewart. “Today is a sad day. All of us here at SNL mourn the loss of Norm Macdonald, one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation. There are so many things that we’ll miss about Norm — from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise. But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm,” Saturday Night Live said in an emailed statement.

Comedian Norm Macdonald Biography, Wiki

MacDonald was born Norman Gene MacDonald in Québec City, Québec on October 17, 1959. He began his career in stand-up comedy. MacDonald’s first job was writing for The Dennis Miller Show (1992) and then Roseanne (1988). While writing for Roseanne (1988), he was noticed by Lorne Michaels, who liked Norm’s stand-up and gave him his job on Saturday Night Live (1975).

MacDonald became widely popular when he became the Weekend Update anchor with his trademark line “Now the fake news.” He lasted from September 24, 1994, to December 13, 1997, when he was fired by Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC on the west coast.

MacDonald’s last weekend update was December 13, 1997, and he left the show in March 1998. His movie Dirty Work (1998), which he began working on in the summer of 1997, came out 2 months later. In March 1999, his show, called Norm (1999), came out on ABC and had a 3-season run. During the time, he starred in the movie Screwed (2000), opposite Dave Chappelle.

Norm Macdonald Biography
Norm Macdonald
BornNorman Gene Macdonald
October 17, 1959
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
DiedSeptember 14, 2021 (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
NationalityCanadian
Years active1985–2021
Spouse(s)Connie Vaillancourt​​(m. 1988; sep. 1999)​
Children1
RelativesNeil Macdonald (brother)
Joyce Napier (sister-in-law)
Comedy career
MediumStand-uptelevisionfilm
GenresBlack comedy, deadpan, non sequitur, observational comedy, political satire, shaggy dog story
Notable works and rolesSaturday Night Live, Weekend Update, The Norm Show, Norm Macdonald Live, Norm Macdonald Has a Show

Comedian Norm Macdonald Career

Norm Macdonald entered the world of comedy by performing stand-up acts at Ottawa clubs and then started performing all over Canada as his confidence grew.

In 1987 he got a chance to perform at the ‘Just For Laughs’ Comedy Festival. Realizing that he needed to be on a bigger platform to further his career, he went to Los Angeles in order to try his luck. There he found work as a writer for the sitcom ‘Roseanne’.

In 1993, he joined NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL) television program as a writer and a cast member. There he performed impersonations of different celebrities like Larry King, David Letterman, and Burt Reynolds which had the audience rolling in laughter.

He was made the anchor of the segment ‘Weekend Update’, a fake news section of the SNL after the departure of the previous host Kevin Nealon. As an anchor, he often made references to topics like prison rapes, crack whores, etc. He often made scathing remarks about celebrities like Michael Jackson and Marion Barry.

Comedian Norm Macdonald on 'Saturday Night Live'
Comedian Norm Macdonald on ‘Saturday Night Live’

He was fired from SNL in late 1997 as the anchor of the ‘Weekend Update’, ostensibly the reason being that MacDonald was “not funny”. However, it is widely believed that some tensions had been brewing between him and the management which resulted in his being fired.

He made the last of his appearances on SNL in 1998. He appeared as the host of a fictitious TV show called ‘Who’s More Grizzled?’ and asked questions to the host and the guest played by Garth Brooks and Robert Duvall, respectively.

After being kicked out of SNL, he starred in the comedy buddy film ‘Dirty Work’, in 1998. The plot revolved around a group of friends who start a revenge-for-hire business. The film became a cult classic in spite of getting negative reviews.

In 1998, he voiced the character of Lucky the dog in the remake of ‘Dr.Dolittle’ starring Eddie Murphy. He reprised the role in the sequels ‘Dr. Dolittle 2’ (2001) and ‘Dr.Dolittle 3’ (2006).

He played Norm Henderson on the television sitcom ‘The Norm Show’ that ran from 1999 through 2001 on the ABC network. The show focused on the life of a former NHL hockey player who faces a life ban because of gambling and tax evasion.

He appeared on the Celebrity Edition of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in November 2000 and won $500,000 for Paul Newman’s Charity Camp.

In 2003, he appeared as Stan Hooper in the sitcom ‘A Minute with Stan Hooper’ in which he played the ‘straight man’ among a cast of eccentric characters. The show, however, was not a success and had to be canceled after one season.

He voiced Norm the Genie in ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’ (2004-05), Join Twosomes Penguin in ‘Farce of the Penguins in 2006, and ‘Buster the Fox’ in ‘Christmas is Here Again’ in 2007.

He was a frequent guest on ‘The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien’ during 2009 and 2010. He made appearances on the show during its initial as well as final episodes. His performances became the highlight of the show.

He has appeared in four episodes of the sitcom ‘The Middle’ as Rusty Heck starting from 2010. The story revolves around the lives of a Midwestern woman, her husband, and three children.

What was Comedian Norm Macdonald Famous for?

Comedian Norm Macdonald was best known for being a cast member of ‘Saturday Night Live’ for five years and for anchoring the ‘Weekend Update’.

During his time with SNL, he became both popular and notorious for his sarcastic and mocking comments on celebrities and political issues.

Norm Macdonald Personal Life

In 1988, Norm Macdonald married Connie Vaillancourt, with whom he had a son, Dylan, born 1993. The couple separated in April 1999.

Norm Macdonald with his wife Connie Valliancourt
Norm Macdonald with his wife Connie Valliancourt

Macdonald said his past gambling addiction had been initiated by a six-figure win at a craps table in Atlantic City. In an appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast in 2011, Macdonald revealed that he lost all of his money gambling three times, and the largest amount he lost at once was $400,000. 

As a poker player, his best live result was cashing for $20,915 in the $1,000 Bellagio Weekly Tournament, in July 2006. In the 2007 World Series of Poker, he came in 20th place out of 827 entrants in the $3,000 No-Limit Texas Hold ’em event, winning $14,608. 

He also frequently played live cash games, as well as online poker. Macdonald stated in a 2018 interview that, prior to the ruling in the United States v. Scheinberg, he would play up to 20 online limit hold’em games at once. “Since they went offline, it kind of saved my life. Because I was just grinding out and couldn’t even sleep.”

Some Lesser Known Facts about Comedian Norm Macdonald

  • Norm Macdonald dropped out of high school when he was 15.
  • During an interview on the Late Show with David Letterman (1993) a few days after he was fired from Saturday Night Live (1975), he told Dave that the NBC execs fired him because they thought he wasn’t funny.
  • He won $500,000 for his charity on the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999). He guessed the right answer to the million dollar question but was talked out of answering in case he got it wrong.
  • His childhood celebrity crush was Ann-Margret.
  • He was the son of Ferne (Mains) and Percy Lloyd Macdonald, who were teachers. His father was in the Canadian Military.
  • Despite being fired from Saturday Night Live (1975), he was asked to host the show a year later.
  • NBC received two complaints after he used a curse word live on Saturday Night Live (1975).

Norm Macdonald FAQ’s

Who was Norm Macdonald?

Norm Macdonald, October 17, 1959 – September 14, 2021, was a Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor known for his deadpan style.

How did Norm Macdonald die?

Macdonald, who was 61, died Tuesday after having cancer for nine years, but keeping it private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.

Who is Norm Macdonald’s wife?

In 1988, Norm Macdonald married Connie Vaillancourt, with whom he had a son, Dylan, born 1993. The couple separated in April 1999.

At what age did Comedian Norm Macdonald die?

Norm Macdonald died at an age of 61.

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