Via: Deadline (what an unfortunate name given the circumstances)
âNorm Macdonald, whose laconic delivery of sharp and incisive observations made him one of Saturday Night Live's most influential and beloved cast members, died today after a nine-year private battle with cancer. He was 61.
Macdonald's death was announced to Deadline by his management firm Brillstein Entertainment. The comedian's longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with him when he died, said Macdonald had been battling cancer for nearly a decade but was determined to keep his health struggles private, away from family, friends and fans.
"He was most proud of his comedy," Hoekstra said. "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."
Usually, when I'm at work, my phone is welded to my hand, but today I just so happened to be explaining what the three branches of government are to a bunch of freshmen when I saw that I had five missed texts in a group chat. At 2:29 PM, I learned of both Norm Macdonald's passing and the fact that he had cancer the last nine years.
I don't want it to seem like I keep tabs on who does or doesn't have cancer, but I was stunned by this news. Usually, that isn't something people can keep secret for obvious reasons, but apparently, not even Norm's best friends in the biz or even his own family knew; I can't imagine their shock and heartbreak.
I'm still fucking shocked, so sad, so relatively young. Norm Macdonald was the same age as my dad, so you know it hits harder. Norm was one of the funniest comedians of all time who was an absolute badass. He didn't take shit from anybody. An NBC exec wanted him to lay off the O.J. material on Weekend Update (which he hosted from 1994-98), which only made him rip into The Juice harder. He was utterly fearless as a performer who lived for awkward moments. Moments that make our skin crawl made his heartbeat. He didn't need our laughs to be hilarious. No performance does a better job explaining that than his appearance at the Bob Saget Roast in 2008. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds.
Andy Samberg tried to intentionally bomb at the Roast of James Franco (which I thought was funny) but paled in comparison to what Norm Macdonald said in '08.
There'll be plenty of obits that can tell you about his entire career and credits, but what I think best explains Norm's gift was the opinion of fellow comedians. This man hosted Weekend Update, so it's not like he was a nobody, but he certainly didn't have the fame, name recognition or W-2 as a Dave Chappelle, Richard Pryor, or Louis C.K.
What Norm had was the respect and love of fellow comics, which I think says a lot more than total tickets sold. He's like an indie band revered by more commercial, mainstream artists for being a truly better musician who just doesn't get the recognition he deserves. Norm Macdonald was beloved, and it just blows my mind that he kept his cancer a secret for so long. I hate to speculate at a time like this, but it almost makes you wonder if he had said something to someone if they could've helped?
My earliest memories of Norm are as Adam Sandler's buddy in Billy Madison. Sooooo fucking funny, man. What's today?.......October?
I was fortunate enough to be exposed to SNL at a very young. While I didn't watch him in real-time, thanks to a bunch of Best of DVDs and reruns, I saw my fair share of Bert Reynolds/Turd Ferguson, which IMO (along with Darryl Hammond's Sean Connery) is what made Celebrity Jeopardy one of the best reoccurring SNL skits of all-time.
The news of Norm's passing comes as an absolute shock. Terms like "G.O.A.T." or legend get passed around too freely in all fields, but they would be appropriate when talking about the legacy of Norm Macdonald. That made was a comedy legend and will be sorely missed. He didn't lose his battle with cancer; it was a draw.
R.I.P. Norm Macdonald
This made me LOL for five minutes.