Norm Macdonald, the popular comedian, has died at age 61

Norm Macdonald

Norm Macdonald, a popular member of the original SNL cast, has died. After learning of his illness, his management business acknowledged that he had fought cancer for the past nine years.

His production partner and close friend Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline that he was proudest of his comedy. “Norm was completely and totally funny. Once, in an essay, he stated, “A joke catches someone off-guard, but it should never pander.” He didn’t shy away from controversy. He will be greatly missed.”

A significant number of SNL fans may recall Macdonald as a “Weekend Update” anchor during the show’s earlier years. His reputation was as an impressionist, and he was noted for his impressions of Burt Reynolds. During the course of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson became lampooned in a droll fashion by the entertainer who now goes by the name Jimmy Kimmel. Eventually, Simpson was acquitted, and after that, network executives pressed Macdonald to cease blaming him for the crime.

After landing a role on Saturday Night Live, he created a comedy series called The Norm Show, in which he played an NHL player who was given community service obligations after being found guilty of gambling and tax evasion. His talk show Norm Macdonald Has a Show also featured him as a guest on his own show.

Having begun his comic career in Canada’s comedy clubs, Macdonald began honing his deadpan delivery and manner in his deadpan stage presence. He was hired to write for The Dennis Miller Show, after appearing on the TV show Star Search in 1990. David Letterman and Conan O’Brien both welcomed Macdonald to the late night scene and made him a regular on the TV sitcom “The Middle.” In addition to this, he has made appearances in feature films such as The People vs. Larry Flynt, and he lent his voice to the character of Lucky the Dog in the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr. Dolittle.

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