The iconic “Saturday Night Live” star Norm Macdonald died recently, at age 61, and it was one of the greatest losses in the comedy world.
During his lifetime, the actor, comedian and writer made a name for himself across many platforms.
From film to TV, the stand-up comedian also worked as a judge on the reality show, “Last Comic Standing.” He brought his unflinching honesty to the show and didn’t hold back when it came to criticisms.
In the Hollywood Reporter‘s exclusive video, Macdonald admitted that he loved the idea of being a judge because he was a “judgemental person.”
Although he was a tough critic and didn’t mince words about their performance, Macdonald brought new energy to the stellar show.
For example, Asian-American comedian KT Tatara had a great set in which he spoke about the difficulties of living with his heritage and the ways that the public often perceives him. At one point, he told a joke about Asian-Americans and math.
While the other judges watered down any criticism they might have had, Macdonald kept things spicy. He not only let some performers know when he disliked their set but suggested really inventive ways to improve them.
His Reasons For Slamming Them
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, MacDonald revealed his biggest turn-off during the audition process.
“I like fewer people than the other judges for some reason. I don’t know why. Sometimes it’s easy to critique someone. Like, if you see that they steal,” he said.
“We had a little thing where someone was accused of stealing. And I said, ‘Oh, we should find out. It’s easy enough to prove. And then we could call the person a thief when they’re up there, in front of the crowd’. Which I think they deserve. But the producers didn’t want to do that.”
He also added; “They were like, ‘Oh, we told the person that that material shouldn’t be done next time.’ And I was like, ‘No, there shouldn’t be the next time. That’s a bad person. That person should be exposed.’ She was voted off immediately. Because that’s a big thing in comedy, stealing material.”
Norm Macdonald Dies After Private Battle With Cancer
Macdonald, who was known for his laconic delivery and witty observations, died on Tuesday after a nine-year private battle with cancer.
Macdonald’s death was announced to Deadline by his management firm, Brillstein Entertainment.
The comedian’s longtime friend and partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra explained that the late comedian always wanted to keep his health struggles private.
Hoekstra, who was at Macdonald’s side when he passed, shared that the comedian 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,” he concluded.
Although Macdonald’s career spanned stand-up comedy, television series and talk shows, he’s best known for his stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
“If I am remembered, it will always be by the four years I spent at ‘Saturday Night Live’ and, maybe even more than that, by the events surrounding my departure from that show,” he wrote in his book “Based On A True Story,” which came out in 2016.
Norm Macdonald Was a Seasoned Comic
In the same interview with THR, MacDonald mentioned how he used to bomb on stage. In this context, to bomb was to crack jokes that don’t get any reaction from the audience.
Even as an iconic comedian, MacDonald admitted that he used to bomb jokes on stage.
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“I used to bomb all the time. Once you’re famous you never bomb. They just forget you’ve been sucking for 20 minutes. They just accept it. When I started, I used to bomb about 90 percent of the time,” he concluded.
How Did He Recover from Bombing?
To get back on his feet gracefully, he confessed to announcing he’d have a drink. This would send the crowd into a frenzy and they would cheer. Ironically, he didn’t have a drink and never has.
So, to salvage the situation, he’d ask the waitress to bring him, fake shooters. By the end of the night, he became the biggest hero ever because “I wasn’t down on my hands and knees barfing like a normal human would be doing.”
He also admitted that the ploy got him, girls.
“I’d be in a bar and for some reason when you’re drunk, girls will put up with it if you try to grope them or whatever,” he concluded.