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(Onion AV Club)   Norm MacDonald was easily the worst guest a late night host could have on their show. Which is why he kept getting booked again and again and again   (avclub.com) divider line
    More: Amusing, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien, Norm Macdonald, Jon Stewart, Talk show, night talk TV, Oprah Winfrey  
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3016 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 15 Sep 2021 at 8:04 AM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-09-15 8:21:20 AM  
He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.
 
2021-09-15 8:25:40 AM  
Where else was he supposed to go?

The light was on.
 
2021-09-15 8:27:19 AM  
I thought he was a top guest because they always knew if a guest backed out, Norm would be available even at the last minute.
It isn't like he had much else going on.
 
2021-09-15 8:27:21 AM  
Glad it has the full Cosby joke on Comedians in Cars.

Watching a comedian make other comedians lose their shiat is one of my favorite things.  I'm not sure anyone did it better than Norm.
 
2021-09-15 8:31:48 AM  
It got a little dusty in here watching that last appearance on Letterman.
 
2021-09-15 8:33:44 AM  
He was way better than any of the stars that were there promoting their latest project with their prepared lies and that on so embarrassing story that happened on set.
 
2021-09-15 8:39:38 AM  
You guest it.
 
2021-09-15 8:39:59 AM  

groppet: He was way better than any of the stars that were there promoting their latest project with their prepared lies and that on so embarrassing story that happened on set.


Hell yes. I used to watch talk shows the whole way through, but lately I bail when the interview is just some extended commercial with fake smiles and pre-selected stories hinted at on the little blue card. Zero spontaneity. I miss Craig Ferguson.
 
2021-09-15 8:47:40 AM  
His book is as unexpected as his guest spots.  check out the audiobook for a couple of work days - he narrates it himself.

You can tell he was a reader, it's written in part style like classic Twain-like Americana but he also has a heavy/wordy old Russian novel style.  And he jumps between his different styles depending on the chapter.
 
2021-09-15 8:53:31 AM  

Nana's Vibrator: His book is as unexpected as his guest spots.  check out the audiobook for a couple of work days - he narrates it himself.

You can tell he was a reader, it's written in part style like classic Twain-like Americana but he also has a heavy/wordy old Russian novel style.  And he jumps between his different styles depending on the chapter.


It's too bad he's gone. I would have gladly listened to The collected works of Mark Twain narrated by Norm MacDonald.
 
2021-09-15 8:55:04 AM  
Re-watching that Courtney Thorne-Smith interview last night made me laugh so hard I teared up. What a loss.
 
2021-09-15 8:56:02 AM  
I wonder how Carrot Top is taking this loss.
 
2021-09-15 9:00:40 AM  

azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.


Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.
 
2021-09-15 9:00:47 AM  

covfefe: You guest it.


I was wondering to myself last night how many times he pulled that schtick. Could have been a million and I would still find it cute.

RIP, Norm.
 
2021-09-15 9:01:56 AM  
Norm gave me a lot of hours of laughs.  There is no other comedian I've watched even 10% as much as I watched Norm.
 
2021-09-15 9:04:53 AM  

Nana's Vibrator: His book is as unexpected as his guest spots.  check out the audiobook for a couple of work days - he narrates it himself.

You can tell he was a reader, it's written in part style like classic Twain-like Americana but he also has a heavy/wordy old Russian novel style.  And he jumps between his different styles depending on the chapter.


His style of humor is somewhat Twain-like. In our Internet meme culture, it's his zingers that people tend to remember. However, Twain also had a love of shaggy dog stories and jokes that twist around on themselves. He had a love of jokes where the subject of the joke was the nature of joke telling itself.
 
2021-09-15 9:05:36 AM  
 
2021-09-15 9:10:43 AM  

Superjoe: I miss Craig Ferguson.


Absolutely, His deconstruction of the late night talk show was genius.
 
2021-09-15 9:18:24 AM  

punishmentforshoplifting: Re-watching that Courtney Thorne-Smith interview last night made me laugh so hard I teared up. What a loss.


Lethal. Every word...every pause every glance. A master at work.
 
2021-09-15 9:38:57 AM  
That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.
 
2021-09-15 9:43:47 AM  
I remember watching the Norm/Carrot Top interview when it aired...still the strongest laugh of my life.
 
2021-09-15 9:48:35 AM  
They are playing the Smith interview on the radio now and I am laughing at my desk. Do something with that you freak!

They played a story he did about cancer too which was hilarious.
 
2021-09-15 9:50:19 AM  

Superjoe: groppet: He was way better than any of the stars that were there promoting their latest project with their prepared lies and that on so embarrassing story that happened on set.

Hell yes. I used to watch talk shows the whole way through, but lately I bail when the interview is just some extended commercial with fake smiles and pre-selected stories hinted at on the little blue card. Zero spontaneity. I miss Craig Ferguson.


That was one of the things that made Norm so great - he would utterly derail those pre-selected stories.  I've been watching Norm MacDonald talk show clips for years now...over and over.  They never get old.
 
2021-09-15 9:50:49 AM  

punishmentforshoplifting: Re-watching that Courtney Thorne-Smith interview last night made me laugh so hard I teared up. What a loss.


"Do something with that, you freak."

/ challenge accepted
 
2021-09-15 9:54:17 AM  

cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.


Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.
 
2021-09-15 9:55:33 AM  

phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.


And Cher
 
2021-09-15 10:00:24 AM  
I love the Conan clip where he goes on a long shaggy dog story only to end on a really bad pun. Andy Richter describes it as "having someone say 'you have to take a look at this!' and taking you on a four-mile hike only to show you a dog turd". Norm immediately falls out of his chair laughing, then shakes Richter's hand.
 
2021-09-15 10:02:14 AM  

UberDave: Superjoe: groppet: He was way better than any of the stars that were there promoting their latest project with their prepared lies and that on so embarrassing story that happened on set.

Hell yes. I used to watch talk shows the whole way through, but lately I bail when the interview is just some extended commercial with fake smiles and pre-selected stories hinted at on the little blue card. Zero spontaneity. I miss Craig Ferguson.

That was one of the things that made Norm so great - he would utterly derail those pre-selected stories.  I've been watching Norm MacDonald talk show clips for years now...over and over.  They never get old.


That was always the thing about Norm in those interviews....he was always the one driving and he had no reservations about taking a hard left somewhere and derailing everything.  It was frustrating and maddinging for those doing the interview because it never proceeded or evolved in the way that they're used to.
 
2021-09-15 10:15:48 AM  

phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.


Terri Garr.
 
2021-09-15 10:36:34 AM  

Skarekrough: UberDave: Superjoe: groppet: He was way better than any of the stars that were there promoting their latest project with their prepared lies and that on so embarrassing story that happened on set.

Hell yes. I used to watch talk shows the whole way through, but lately I bail when the interview is just some extended commercial with fake smiles and pre-selected stories hinted at on the little blue card. Zero spontaneity. I miss Craig Ferguson.

That was one of the things that made Norm so great - he would utterly derail those pre-selected stories.  I've been watching Norm MacDonald talk show clips for years now...over and over.  They never get old.

That was always the thing about Norm in those interviews....he was always the one driving and he had no reservations about taking a hard left somewhere and derailing everything.  It was frustrating and maddinging for those doing the interview because it never proceeded or evolved in the way that they're used to.


Like whenever he was on Dennis Miller's show and Norm would make it a point to see how many times he could work the word "cock" into the conversation.
 
2021-09-15 10:37:01 AM  

cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.


Reminded me of this. So absurd it's hilarious. The whole thing is amazing NSFW. 
Roast of James Franco - Andy Samberg - The Roast Gets Dark - Uncensored
Youtube J7Cc4F7Ayno
 
2021-09-15 10:51:15 AM  

Mole Man: phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.

Terri Garr.


Yes. Okay. We're up to 5 people in our list of top 3 Letterman guests. Who else?
 
2021-09-15 11:00:47 AM  

phlegmjay: Mole Man: phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.

Terri Garr.

Yes. Okay. We're up to 5 people in our list of top 3 Letterman guests. Who else?


Harmony Korine.

Until Dave busted him going through Meryl Streep's purse and banned him for life.
 
2021-09-15 11:08:30 AM  

phlegmjay: Mole Man: phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.

Terri Garr.

Yes. Okay. We're up to 5 people in our list of top 3 Letterman guests. Who else?


My "all time top 10 movies" list has like 25 in it....
 
2021-09-15 11:17:50 AM  
Honestly though, his Weekend Update stint on SNL was terrible overall.
 
2021-09-15 11:19:02 AM  
Didn't you account for his loyal army of prostitutes?
 
2021-09-15 11:22:08 AM  

SonOfSpam: Honestly though, his Weekend Update stint on SNL was terrible overall.


You sound like Ezra
 
2021-09-15 11:25:32 AM  
I can't find a clip of him from any appearance on a talk show that DOESN'T have me laughing out loud.

He was a treasure.
 
2021-09-15 11:26:04 AM  

SonOfSpam: Honestly though, his Weekend Update stint on SNL was terrible overall.


In a way, that was kind of the point.
 
2021-09-15 1:01:36 PM  
I forget where I heard it, but my favorite description of Norm MacDonald is "your favorite comedian's favorite comedian," and I think it showed whenever he was on Conan. He never failed to get Conan to crack up laughing, and whatever Norm would eventually say would always be hysterical.

Rest easy, Norm. You will be missed.
 
2021-09-15 1:31:20 PM  
Someone channeling Norm when describing his death...

i.redd.itView Full Size
 
2021-09-15 1:52:27 PM  

phlegmjay: Mole Man: phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.

Terri Garr.

Yes. Okay. We're up to 5 people in our list of top 3 Letterman guests. Who else?


Tom Hanks

"You're bending the shafts!"
 
2021-09-15 2:11:14 PM  

phlegmjay: Mole Man: phlegmjay: azwethnkweiz: He was a top 3 Letterman guest, up there with Robin Williams and Richard Simmons.

Charles Grodin belongs on that list as well.

Terri Garr.

Yes. Okay. We're up to 5 people in our list of top 3 Letterman guests. Who else?


Warren Zevon
 
2021-09-15 2:40:06 PM  

Adebisi: cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.

Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.


It's a genre of humor, not an indication that it's not humorous.  If you don't like the label, call it avante garde humor or something if it makes you feel better(it won't make Norm feel any better anymore)
 
2021-09-15 2:52:04 PM  

Superjoe: I miss Craig Ferguson.


I miss Turd Ferguson.

i1.sndcdn.comView Full Size
 
2021-09-15 3:02:55 PM  

bhcompy: Adebisi: cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.

Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.

It's a genre of humor, not an indication that it's not humorous.  If you don't like the label, call it avante garde humor or something if it makes you feel better(it won't make Norm feel any better anymore)


I get why he felt that way though.

Realistically, there was a burden with his comedy.  I'll be forthright and risk offending possible future readers of this who will get upset and say "I didn't find him funny and resent what you're implying about me because of that", but a lot of his humor took a more sophisticated and complete sense of humor than much other comedy.  Sure he did dumb jokes too. A lot of them, in fact. But a crapload of his comedy was stuff where the humor was him laughing at the expense of the audience. And that's not as negative as it sounds.  People SHOULD be able to laugh at themselves, but often cant.  A lot was "this audience doesn't realize this is funny, and I'll probably point that out to them, and Bob Saget and Bobcat Golthwait in the corner will be set off by that, because fark this audience.". He wasn't Punk Rock, but you could see a kind of comedy parallel to that. HE knew it was funny, and if you didn't, that was your problem, not his or the jokes.  Not that he didn't tweak his jokes based on audience reaction like all comics do, but if something sat well with him, he knew it was good.  Gilbert Gottfried does a lot of this too.
 
2021-09-15 3:06:15 PM  

bhcompy: Adebisi: cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.

Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.

It's a genre of humor, not an indication that it's not humorous.  If you don't like the label, call it avante garde humor or something if it makes you feel better(it won't make Norm feel any better anymore)


Nope. There's no special label. It's funny. Period. No need to put it in some special box aside from everything else.
 
2021-09-15 3:20:33 PM  

Adebisi: bhcompy: Adebisi: cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.

Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.

It's a genre of humor, not an indication that it's not humorous.  If you don't like the label, call it avante garde humor or something if it makes you feel better(it won't make Norm feel any better anymore)

Nope. There's no special label. It's funny. Period. No need to put it in some special box aside from everything else.


Well, it's often the comedy of discomfort.  I actually get people trying to label it, as much as I get Norm not bein on board with that.

When he railed on OJ at the height of people demanding sober reflection, he played on their discomfort.

Or here's him on Cosby, with Seinfeld, relatively recently.  It's a damn funny joke and trying to explain why (other than noting a lot of it is his delivery) is probably totally missing the point.  And technically it"s a rape joke, so yeah, probably some people are offended just hearing it, thinking it trivializes it.

Norm Macdonald on Bill Cosby
Youtube ljaP2etvDc4
 
2021-09-15 4:02:03 PM  

Kris_Romm: bhcompy: Adebisi: cannibalparrot: That Bob Sage roast clip is a master class in anti-humor.

Norm hated that label. It's not anti-humour. It's humour.

It's a genre of humor, not an indication that it's not humorous.  If you don't like the label, call it avante garde humor or something if it makes you feel better(it won't make Norm feel any better anymore)

I get why he felt that way though.

Realistically, there was a burden with his comedy.  I'll be forthright and risk offending possible future readers of this who will get upset and say "I didn't find him funny and resent what you're implying about me because of that", but a lot of his humor took a more sophisticated and complete sense of humor than much other comedy.  Sure he did dumb jokes too. A lot of them, in fact. But a crapload of his comedy was stuff where the humor was him laughing at the expense of the audience. And that's not as negative as it sounds.  People SHOULD be able to laugh at themselves, but often cant.  A lot was "this audience doesn't realize this is funny, and I'll probably point that out to them, and Bob Saget and Bobcat Golthwait in the corner will be set off by that, because fark this audience.". He wasn't Punk Rock, but you could see a kind of comedy parallel to that. HE knew it was funny, and if you didn't, that was your problem, not his or the jokes.  Not that he didn't tweak his jokes based on audience reaction like all comics do, but if something sat well with him, he knew it was good.  Gilbert Gottfried does a lot of this too.


But that's usually the case with anti-humor in general.  It's a meta-humor, and successful meta-humor is "elevated" humor that is designed to be funny because you understand the "rules" and history of whatever it is you're doing.  The easy/common way I've seen his humor described it is that it's humor written for comedians and those who study comedy, and people like Gilbert Gottfried and Norm are definitely students of comedy.

And yes, Norm liked to tell unfunny and mean jokes because it made him laugh.  His White House Correspondent's Dinner appearance was full of that while including a few knee slappers because his audience were the most powerful people in the country and you probably shouldn't just roast them (or make them feel like idiots) the entire time.  That said, there's also ways to do that without being (in their own way) disdainful of the audience(which is part of what people like Gilbert laugh, because he's of the same mind as Norm).  Joe Pera does that quite well, and his "jokes" are frequently crafted in a way that there is no joke or punchline, like telling the moth joke without the light.
 
2021-09-15 4:25:52 PM  

Winterlight: punishmentforshoplifting: Re-watching that Courtney Thorne-Smith interview last night made me laugh so hard I teared up. What a loss.

"Do something with that, you freak."

/ challenge accepted


That one was purely Conan's fault. He had JUST looked at the camera to explain that he always knew when Norm had another punchline brewing.

You can not give any worthy wordsmith that kind of a setup, and not expect them to knock it out of the park. It was all Conan could do to send it to commercial, because there's no way you recover from that
 
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