Comedian Norm Macdonald breathed his last on September 14, 2021, after a long battle with cancer. He has reportedly been fighting the disease in private for nearly nine years. He was 61 at the time of his passing.
The news of his death was confirmed by his management company Brillstein Entertainment to Deadline. The SNL star’s longtime friend and producer Lori Jo Hoekstra told the outlet that the comedian never wanted his diagnosis to affect his career or personal life:
“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.”
Norm Macdonald rose to fame as a Saturday Night Live cast member and became one of the most-loved comedians of all time. However, his most important career highlight came during a 2017 appearance on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
His iconic "moth joke" about a moth's visit to a podiatrist turned into an overnight sensation. After news of his demise came out, several celebrities and admirers recalled the joke to remember the comic legend.
Twitter remembers Norm Macdonald's moth joke as comedian passes away at 61
Norm Macdonald was a Canadian comedian, writer, and actor. He was known for his unique dry humor and deadpan style of jokes. Norm began his career as a writer for the American sitcom Roseanne in 1992.
The following year he bagged a gig on SNL and catapulted to fame. He was associated with the show for five years and served as a Weekend Update anchor for three seasons. He is now considered one of the most prominent SNL cast members of all time.
He is remembered for his impressions of other artists in the show, including Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Mr. Bean, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino, and Clint Eastwood.
Following his stint on SNL, Macdonald starred in the 1998 cult comedy film Dirty Work and launched his own sitcom called The Norm Show in 1999.
Over the years, he made several guest appearances on prominent talk shows like Conan, Late Night With David Letterman, The Larry Sanders Show, and The Howard Stern Show. Perhaps his most famous act came during an episode of the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.
The “moth joke” is considered the finest example of Norm Macdonald’s distinct comedic style. The joke revolved around a moth visiting a podiatrist to express his disappointment in his daily life, including his job and family.
The nearly four-minute piece creates an intense buildup and slowly progresses towards an almost predictable conclusion with a Macdonald-style punchline.
However, the depth of the joke lies in its Dostoevskian undertones. The comedian’s genius comes out through the way the joke resonates with people in general.
Following the artist’s death, several fans took to Twitter to remember him through his iconic joke:
Besides his memorable comedy acts, Norm Macdonald also appeared in several TV shows and animation series. He had a recurring role in ABC’s The Middle and Netflix’s Girl Boss. He lent his voice to animated shows like Mike Tyson Mysteries, Dr. Dolittle, The Orville, and FairlyOddParents.
Norm even had guest roles in films like Grown Ups, Funny People, The Animal, and Jack and Jill. He served as a judge in 2015’s Last Comic Standing.
The Quebec City native also hosted Netflix’s Norm Macdonald Has a Show in 2018 and launched the Norm Macdonald Live podcast on YouTube.
He also released several comedy albums like Ridiculous, Me Doing Standup, Hitler’s Dog, and Gossip & Trickery. Macdonald’s memoir, Based on a True Story, came out in 2016 and documented his life as a stand-up comedian.
Comedy Central included Norm Macdonald in the 100 Greatest Stand-Up of All Times in 2004. He also earned a place in Paste magazine’s 50 Best Stand-Up Comedians of All Time.
Many celebrities and colleagues took to social media to mourn the loss of the legendary comedian:
Norm Macdonald is survived by Dylan, his son with former wife, Connie Vaillancourt. The comic will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and industry associates, and contemporaries and future generations alike will always cherish his legacy.
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