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Norm Macdonald dies at 61; From the ESPY’s to O.J., the five best sports-related moments of comic’s career

Norm Macdonald, actor, creator, and comic who hosted the “Weekend Update” phase on “Saturday Night Live” from 1995-97, died on Tuesday after a non-public, nine-year battle with most cancers. He was 61.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” mentioned Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing associate and buddy (through Deadline). “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 actually by no means pandered. Norm will likely be missed terribly.”

Widely regarded as one of the best and most influential comics ever, Macdonald was also known as an avid sports fan and bettor. The Quebec City native even played an ex-professional hockey player who was suspended by the NHL for gambling and tax evasion on his ABC sitcom “The Norm Show” (he played “Norm”), which aired from 1999-2001.

Macdonald additionally hosted a short-lived “The Daily Show”-style program on Comedy Central in 2011, the “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald.” The first joke from the first episode tells you all the pieces you want to learn about the tone and Macdonald’s fashion of humor:

Macdonald was concerned in lots of basic sports-related moments all through his career, together with taking part in tennis with Jon Lovitz, making a punch line of boxer and “Rocky” actor& Frank Stallone’s title, and portraying Marv Albert on “SNL.” Here are five extra of our favorites (plus a bonus bit at the finish):

1. ESPY’s monologue: “That is something that no one can ever take away from you…”

Macdonald’s ESPY’s monologue in 1998 reduce slightly too deep for ESPN executives and plenty of of the athletes in attendance, most notably his jokes about East German speedskaters, Tiger Woods’ fellow golfers, and, of course, his legendary, monologue-closing Charles Woodson joke:

Macdonald additionally did a bit later in the present with Will Ferrell, who mocked John Elway’s tooth whereas in character as former Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray. Ferrell later talked about it as a time he may need gone too far along with his comedy:

It’s extensively believed that after Macdonald hosted, ESPN determined to “play it safe” with the ESPY’s, instructing hosts to not be too edgy or offensive. So, Norm not solely solely hosted the best ESPY’s ever, however he additionally ruined it without end, which is one thing nobody can ever take away from him.

2. O.J. Simpson jokes: “Well, it is finally official…”

The O.J. Simpson trial was the largest news occasion of the ’90s, and Macdonald was the host of “Weekend Update” at the time. His weekly takedowns and breakdowns of Simpson and the trial have been appointment viewing, as few comedians have been as fearless or incisive.

These clip packages may make you uncomfortable in 2021 — hell, they made individuals uncomfortable in 1995 (see Ken Griffey Jr.’s response in the monologue clip above) — however Macdonald did not care, as he adopted his first two guidelines of comedy: Be humorous, and inform the reality.

Macdonald’s opening “Weekend Update” joke on the present after Simpson was acquitted is extensively thought to be one of the best “Weekend Update” jokes of all time (and, sure, he was saying “fake news” lengthy earlier than it turn into trendy):

It’s believed Macdonald was finally fired from “Weekend Update” as a result of of NBC president Don Ohlmeyer’s friendship with Simpson. Ohlmeyer and the community claimed it was as a result of they did not suppose Macdonald was humorous.

When Macdonald was invited again the subsequent yr to host “SNL,” he requested a easy query: “How did I go in a year-and-a-half to being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building, to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so goddamn funny?”

Wouldn’t all of us like to know the reply to that final query?

3. Oscar Pistorius bit: “Allegedly…but, also, really…”

This is not a legendary cultural second by any means, however it’s the form of area of interest, esoteric bit that true Norm (and/or Conan O’Brien) followers know and love.

It’s additionally an important instance of Macdonald’s timing, fashion, and comedian brilliance. It looks like he is rambling at first, and the viewers members do not actually know whether or not they need to snigger, cringe, or boo. He will get some laughs alongside the approach, however the crowd nonetheless is not totally with him.

Then, as if it was his plan all alongside (was it?), he turns the tables on Conan and Andy Richter, makes them appear like the jerks, and will get the largest snigger of all. And of course he does it with some ol’ timey slang:

4. Blake Griffin press convention: “There’s kind of a curse with Rookie of the Year…”

Looking to flex his reporting abilities, Macdonald made a shock look at Griffin’s Rookie of the Year news convention again in 2011 after the then-Clippers ahead had gained the award.

“It’s a question from Blake’s good friend, Norm,” Macdonald mentioned to Griffin, who was already laughing earlier than Macdonald had even grabbed the microphone.

Griffin had beforehand appeared on the “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald” as half of the phase “Blake Like Me.” The bit was a sports activities takeoff on Eddie Murphy’s well-known “SNL” mockumentary sketch “White Like Me.”

Griffin shared his ideas on Macdonald in a tweet posted Tuesday night time, calling Macdonald one of his comedy heroes and noting that Norm’s query was his “favorite press conference moment ever.”

5. Bob Uecker tales with David Letterman: “Bob Uecker’s a very interesting guy…”

“Do you have a story you can tell us about Bob Uecker, voice of the Milwaukee Brewers?”

Of course he does. Enjoy:

Make that two tales: 

 

Bonus: Norm Goes Viral: “… IN A CAR!”

Norm can lastly discover out God’s response to this in particular person. RIP you outdated chunk of coal, and thanks for the laughs.

Sporting News’ Jordan Greer contributed to this text.

This article has been up to date since its authentic publishing.

#Note-Author Name – Matt Lutovsky

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