Renowned Comedian Norm MacDonald Dies at 61; Celebrities and Comedians Share Reactions


Norm MacDonald, the renowned comedian whose large body of work included Saturday Night Live, a number of television runs and appearances in a various films, has passed away at the age of 61.

MacDonald succumbed to a private battle with cancer that lasted for around nine years, his rep has confirmed.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” reads a statement Deadline shared from MacDonald’s longtime friend and collaborator Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with MacDonald when he passed. “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.”

After around close to ten years of stand-up comedy in Canada, MacDonald’s early career saw him break out in Hollywood in 1992 as a television writer on both talkshow The Dennis Miller Show and sitcom Roseanne. The following year, MacDonald scored a role on sketch show Saturday Night Live, where he was a cast member and the host of “Weekend Update” segments for three seasons.

“Today is a sad day,” reads a statement from SNL. “All of us here at SNL mourn the loss of Norm MacDonald, one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation. There are so many things that we’ll miss about Norm — from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise. But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm.”

From SNL, MacDonald went on to have many television projects with varying degrees of success, including leading sitcoms Norm and A Minute With Stan Hooper, and hosting shows such as Sports Show With Norm MacDonaldNorm MacDonald Live, and Norm MacDonald Has a Show. He had acting roles on various comedy series such as The Middle and The Orville, as well as providing voice work for Skylanders Academy and Mike Tyson Mysteries.

On the film side of things, MacDonald had parts of various sizes on a features such as Dirty Work, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Billy Madison, Man on the Moon, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Screwed, and Funny People, as well as a voice role on Dr. Dolittle (’98), among other titles.

The prolific talent had a number of projects on the way, including a Netflix special that was to be filmed in March and a Netflix movie adaptation of his 2016 memoir, Based on a True Story: A Memoir.

MacDonald is survived by his mother, son, and two brothers.

Reactions from fellow comedians, those that knew him, and the many that worked with home over the years are pouring out:


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About Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo is the Manager and Chief Editor of Screen Realm. He has years of experience in the media space - from network television to radio. When not at a local Sydney cinema, you can bet he's working hard on Screen Realm and attempting to catch up on a never-ending list of movies and shows.

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