Comedian Norm Macdonald was mourned by friends and loved ones on Tuesday after news broke that the 61-year-old had died following a lengthy battle with cancer.
According to sources close to the late Saturday Night Live alum, Norm Macdonald had kept his cancer diagnosis a secret for the past nine years.
Fellow comics and co-stars took to social media to post videos of what many called “one of the greatest comedians who ever lived,” remembering their fondest memories of his quick-witted humor and deadpan delivery.
“Norm was an original! He defined American humor with honesty and blunt force,” said DPN Talent President Jeff Danis, who confirmed Norm’s passing to Variety.
Getting his start as a writer on Roseanne after touring comedy clubs in Canada, Norm Macdonald joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1993, where he went on to host “Weekend Update” for the next five years.
“My dear friend Norm MacDonald passed after a brave 10 year battle,” said Jim Carrey. “He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him.”
After SNL he created The Norm Show on ABC, and was known for his impressions of celebrities such as Burt Reynolds and David Letterman.
“No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald,” The Daily Show host Jon Stewart said. “Hilarious and unique. Fuck cancer.”
“I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting,” comedian Seth Rogen wrote on Twitter. “I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the the all time greats. RIP.”
“Oh my God. We lost a legend,” said Jim Gaffigan. “Norm was punishingly funny. A unique special point of view and completely organic.”
“That twinkle in his eye and cockeyed smirk when he knew he was going to say something that would crack himself up,” recalled The LEGO Movie director Christopher Miller. “I always knew would crack me up too.”
“I saw him perform live when I was in college. It was one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen,” said comedian Mike Birbiglia. “A complete mastery of standup comedy performance and an unparalleled passion for the art of writing jokes.”
Macdonald was also well-known for his impressions of Western stars such as Clint Eastwood and Twilight Zone host Rod Serling. As Burt Reynolds, he would famously anger Will Ferrell on SNL playing Alex Trebek for “Celebrity Jeopardy!”
Toward the end of his SNL career, Norm Macdonald claimed that he was fired for refusing to call O.J. Simpson anything but a “murderer” on “Weekend Update” segments, joking after the trial that, “It is finally official: murder is legal in the state of California.”
Norm Macdonald also made appearances on television sitcoms The Middle, My Name Is Earl, The Drew Carey Show, and Adam Sandler films such as Grown Ups, Funny People, and Billy Madison, which featured many Saturday Night Live actors and comedians.
He was also a famous late night host, where he would tell long, convoluted jokes with exceptional punch lines. One joke, known as “The Moth Joke,” took over four minutes to tell before sending late night host Conan O’Brien into a laughing fit.
“I am absolutely devastated,” said O’Brien. “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.”
“I’ve done [talk shows] for 20 years, and 20 years ago, when you went on a talk show, you would talk and it would just evaporate into nothingness,” Norm Macdonald told Howard Stern on his radio show back in 2016. But now, because of the internet, “now it’s forever.”
What’s your favorite memory of Norm Macdonald? Let us know in the comments section below.