Some truly sad and stunning news is coming out today about Saturday Night Live alum Norm Macdonald: He has died at the age of 61.
The comedian’s passing was confirmed this morning (per Deadline) by management firm Brillstein Entertainment. Macdonald had been battling cancer for the past decade, but chose to keep most of the fight private and away from his fans and even some close to him. Here is what friend and producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra had to say to the aforementioned website:
“He was most proud of his comedy … 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 should be known as one of the best Weekend Update anchors in the show’s history, consistently afraid to go bold and political with some of his jokes. His dry style made him a fan favorite, and we love very much what he did as Burt Reynolds/Turd Ferguson on Celebrity Jeopardy for so many years. He even revived the bit for the 40th anniversary special.
After his time on SNL in the nineties Norm went on to have an extremely successful comedy career, while also doing a number of TV gigs along the way. Most recently, he had a Netflix program in 2018 entitled Norm Macdonald Has a Show. We think that his impact is going to be enormous and widespread on the entire comedy community; he was well-regarded for his intelligence, his wit, and also his bravery. There was controversy aplenty throughout his time at SNL, in particular when it came to his willingness to go after OJ Simpson. We imagine that the tributes will be coming in throughout the day, and we also anticipate that Howie Mandel, a contemporary of his and someone Norm greatly admired, will be speaking about him on tonight’s America’s Got Talent.
Our thoughts go out to Macdonald’s family and loved ones during this extremely difficult time. (Photo: NBC.)