My favorite comedian of all time, Norm MacDonald, passed away from cancer today. He was 61.
He was best known for being the last anchor on Saturday Night Live to be funny, although he also had 2 sitcoms, starred in his own movie, had a show on Comedy Central, made an independent interview show, and wrote a brilliantly funny book.
I'll always remember Norm for his funny and often brutal appearances on late-night television. Conan O'Brien recalled him as the funniest, most exciting and chaotic guest he ever had, and Letterman thought so much of him that he had Norm perform stand-up in his final episode of The Late Show, which ran more than 4,000 episodes.
But the most tragic episode in Norm's career was when he was cancelled for sticking up for his fellow comedians, Roseanne Barr and Louie C.K., against cancel culture.
"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," Norm said at the time, infuriating the left-wing mob.
Jimmy Fallon was the first to throw Norm under the bus, canceling his appearance on Fallon's show that night, and Norm made the worst mistake anyone can make: he apologized to the mob.
Shortly after, he tried to stick up for himself and be funny by saying “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for sexual assault victims. Down syndrome. That’s my new word.”
The joke, of course, is that the left-wing mob will attack anyone for using the term "retarded," so Norm used "Down syndrome" as an absurd euphemism.
The mob, of course, has no sense of humor, and redoubled their attacks. Norm's show on Netflix was canceled.
I read somewhere that sources close to him said he was devastated. I was devastated. I don't know I ever hated cancel culture more than at that moment.
I'm sorry Norm never got the last laugh on them with another comeback.
But I will always cherish Norm's greatest moments: calling out the powerful. On The View he called the Clintons murderers. At the White House Correspondents Dinner, with Bill and Hillary Clinton sitting to either side of him, he opened by joking it was nice to see Democrats served something other than subpoenas for a change. When he began a series of jokes about the president taking bribes, Clinton began sipping wine compulsively. He joked about Alan Greenspan being the most powerful man in the world.
And he closed with an impression of Senator Bob Dole telling the mass media:
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, to hell with all of you, you cost me the damn election. You can kiss my ass, every last one of you."
He got a standing ovation.
Looking around at the countless Norm clips online, I found a comment on one:
"When my mom passed away I wrote a tweet to norm looking for some words of wisdom, he answered two days later saying to take all the love my mom gave me and spread it around to the people I care about. Thats the real norm, answering some random guy like me not only quickly but with some true words from his heart."
Norm MacDonald was a comedic blessing, a genius, a hero, and an extraordinarily kind man.