Norm Macdonald was the funniest guy I ever met. On stage and off, he had a dry delivery and always sounded like he was just figuring out the joke (or whatever he was saying) as he went along. Norm, who died Tuesday at 61, often wore a leather jacket when he performed, always smiled and made the audience love him. He created a sense of intimacy that left you feeling like he was talking only to you.
A testament to the greatness of his delivery: During a Friars Club roast for Bob Saget, he came out with a hokey, old joke-book, read one corny joke after the other, never veered from that and had a critical audience of comedians convulsing with laughter.
He even seemed to joke with reality, namely with one cryptic joke he spat out in during a 2011 interview with the New York Times.
“When I hear a guy lost a battle to cancer, the term really bothers me. It implies that he failed and that somebody else, who defeated cancer, is heroic and courageous,” he said.
Here are some of Norm’s great jokes, which he crafted with care and delivered beautifully.
“My friend Richie, he has the disease of alcoholism. And he came to me … and he told me, and I’m the kind of guy that likes to look at the bright side of things. So I told him, I said, ‘Richie, it’s true that you have a disease and everything, but I think you’ve got the best one.’”
“They say that if you’re afraid of homosexuals, it means that deep down inside you’re actually a homosexual yourself. That worries me, because I’m afraid of dogs.”
“People know I go to Las Vegas a lot and they always ask if I saw the white tigers at the Mirage. I say, ‘Only if they were sitting at the Let It Ride table.’”
“ID is a strange abbreviation. I is short for I, and D is short for dentification.”
“Dali Lama said that killing for religion is unthinkable. Thanks a lot, Dali Lama… Nobody ever listens to the Dali Lama.”
“The hardest drug I ever did: LSD. I was told to be careful because in 20 years I can have a flashback. I thought that sounded like a good deal … But 20 years have passed with no flashback. What a gyp that turned out to be.”
“What are odds that a terrorist will attack and kill you? Almost zero. But what are the odds that you will be attacked and killed by your own heart? About 100 percent.”
“My wife dresses up like a nurse. Then I dress up like a nurse also. And then, we don’t even have sex. We just sit behind this huge, semicircular wooden desk and get annoyed when people buzz us for juice.”
“Comedy is surprises. So if you’re intending to make somebody laugh and they don’t laugh, that’s funny.”
“Violent people usually express their love of a thing by their hatred of its opposite.”
“I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Steampunk. But I will say, it’s the healthiest way to prepare punk.”
“You know, with Hitler, the more I learn about that guy, the more I don’t care for him.”
“Many people are skeptical about marriage of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. They say, Lisa Marie is more of a sit-at-home type, while Michael Jackson is more of a homosexual pedophile.”
Here’s what I learned from Norm Macdonald: “Germans love David Hasselhoff.”
That, for me, was the classic off-kilter Macdonald remark during his remarkable, too-short run on “Saturday Night Live” where, from 1993 to 1998, he was one the brightest stars on a show already nearing its 20th season — and going through one of its sporadic “dark times.” (Translation: It was rarely funny . . . save for Norm and a few others including Will Ferrell, Kevin Nealon, Tim Meadows and Cheri Oteri).
Macdonald, who died Tuesday at the age of 61, was reportedly battling cancer for the past decade but never wanted to go public with his diagnosis, for fear people would laugh with him because of his personal situation — and not because of his jokes, which more often than not, hit the comic bullseye. You waited for Norm to fire off another gem in his trademark biting, dry, snarky style — with a glint in his eye that said, “Pay attention. Master at work.”
“He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” Macdonald’s producing partner and friend, Lori Jo Hoekstra, told Rolling Stone. “Norm was a pure comic.”
He sure was, and if you need validation of his cutting-edge comedy style, go back and watch him behind the “Weekend Update” anchor desk on “SNL,” where he ruled that roost for several years.
Or segue to one of his on-target celebrity impressions, whether as an angry Bob Dole or a flippant, bored, gum-chewing Burt Reynolds, harassing Alex Trebek (Ferrell) on those classic “Jeopardy!” takeoffs — including changing the name on his podium to read “Turd Ferguson,” just to make a flustered, too-polite Alex repeat the name on national television.
Classic stuff. And it never gets old, which is just one indication of Norm’s comedic television legacy.
He kept a lower profile after leaving “SNL” on bad terms; a network sitcom, “The Norm Show,” ran for three seasons on ABC but failed to capture Macdonald’s acerbic style — like Don Rickles, he wasn’t meant to be a sitcom star — but he was always a welcome late-night guest.
However, that format didn’t work for him during his 10-episode Netflix series, “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” which ran one season in 2018. To be fair, it hasn’t worked for anyone else on Netflix, either. Just ask Chelsea Handler.
The great advantage of the digital age is that, with a keystroke, you can watch Norm Macdonald in the many genres in which he left his mark — but, if you ask me, his death leaves a major void in the world of “smart” comedy, the kind of humor that makes you think — and laugh — at the same time.
Norm Macdonald didn’t just perform in this style — he owned it.
“American Pickers” star Danielle Colby is sharing the wealth of her television success with her cam-girl daughter, Memphis.
Mom, 45, spread the love to her 233,000 followers on Instagram (now try to keep up here) by re-sharing a clip from her 21-year-old daughter’s TikTok account, in which Memphis is seen promoting her own racy Instagram page — which provides a link to her subscribers-only OnlyFans site — while lip-syncing to Greta Van Fleet’s “Light My Love.”
The 11 seconds of footage depicts the young woman mouthing the words, “Your mind is a stream of colors, extending beyond our sky,” as a filter pulses a graphic of glowing hearts from behind her head.
The caption attached to Memphis’ TikTok update reads, “To be spoken to like this….. a dream. #CurameChoreo #ShowYourGlow #fypシ #fyp #36SecondsOfLightWork.”
Colby is one of the prime “pickers” on the long-running History channel series that sees junkyard and flea market enthusiasts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz travel the country in search of rare and antique American memorabilia.
The mother of two republished the video as an Instagram Story without comment on Tuesday — though it’s safe to say she’s bursting with pride, as Danielle’s multiple careers include performing burlesque.
“Memphis was born an old soul,” Danielle wrote in a May Instagram post, and shared about the bullying her daughter endured in school.
“Memphis learned to fiercely protect herself at a young age,” she continued. “She protects her space, her friends, her family and she shares what she has without a second thought. She is a warrior.”