He was a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, and writer known for his brand of deadpan comedy and poetic, sometimes old-fashioned uses of phrases.
I Norman Gene Macdonald (October 17, 1959 – September 14, 2021) Critics considered him one of the best late-night comedy guests, and he participated in a number of feature films.
Quebec City is where Macdonald was born and raised. A teacher and a principal were both his parents, Ferne Mains and Percy Lloyd Macdonald (1916–1990).
A military base north of Quebec City, CFB Valcartier, employed them. He died of heart illness in 1990, the same year Macdonald’s father died.
Neil Macdonald, his older brother, is a CBC News journalist (and is married to Joyce Napier, a CTV News journalist), and Leslie Macdonald, his younger brother, was also a journalist.
He was educated at Quebec High School and Gloucester High School in Ottawa, where he received a diploma two years ahead of schedule for both institutions. Before he dropped out of Carleton University in Ottawa, he studied mathematics there.
Before beginning his career in stand-up comedy, Macdonald briefly attended Algonquin College’s journalism and broadcasting-television programmes while working several manual labour jobs in between classes.
After marrying Connie Vaillancourt in 1988, Macdonald and his wife had a son named Dylan in 1993. In April of 1999, the couple decided to part ways and divorced a year later.
Craps table win in Atlantic City sparked his gambling addiction in the past, he said. After losing all of his money three times, Macdonald admitted on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast in 2011 that the greatest sum he lost at once was $400,000. The Times of London stated that he had twice declared bankruptcy.
It was at the Bellagio in 2006 that he had his best live poker result: $20,915 at the $1,000 Bellagio Weekly Tournament. Out of 827 players who entered the $3,000 No-Limit Texas Hold ’em tournament, he finished 20th and won $14,608.
He was also a regular in live cash games and online poker for real money. In a 2018 interview, Macdonald said he would play up to 20 online limit hold’em games at once prior to the judgement in United States v. Scheinberg. “This has been a lifesaver since they went offline. Because I couldn’t get any rest because I was working myself to the bone.”
Matthew Walther recognised Macdonald’s Christian religion after his death and wondered if it had an impact on his writing.
Inheritance and Demise
Macdonald died on September 14, 2021, in the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, at the age of 61, from acute leukaemia. A family member tells Neil that he had been diagnosed nine years earlier but only told his family and agent because he didn’t want the public perception of his illness to change.
Me Doing Stand-Up featured Macdonald’s rant against using war-related analogies to describe cancer treatment and death, such as “lost his battle with cancer.”. However, this phrasing was frequently employed in obituaries of his death.
There were a lot of people who expressed their condolences on social media after learning of his passing, including comedians like Conan O’Brien and Dave Chappelle as well as actors like Adam Sandler and Jay Leno. Former US presidents like Bill Clinton and George W.
Bush also paid tribute to him, as did musician Frank Stallone, who Macdonald frequently referenced on Weekend Update as a non-sequitur (whom Macdonald played during his tenure at SNL). For Letterman, he was “the best in every important manner, in the world of stand-up comedy… an opinion held by me and all colleagues.”
O’Brien claims that “When it came to humour, I’d never heard anything like Norm’s. He had such a distinctive style and was so unrelentingly humorous. I’ll never be able to laugh as hard as I did that day.” John Oliver and Lorne Michaels dedicated their Emmy wins to Macdonald’s memory during the 73rd Primetime Emmys.
As did Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle in their respective 2021 specials, The Closer and Sorry, each of which paid tribute to Norm Macdonald in some way.
On amateur nights at the Yuk Yuk’s in Ottawa in 1985, Macdonald made his stand-up comedy debut. The first time he performed at the club, he didn’t realise how well it went, so he ran, vowing never to return. Howard Wagman, the club’s owner, had to urge him to return for more.
As his self-esteem grew, so did his self-confidence. The Montreal Gazette described him as “one of this country’s top comics” six months later when he appeared at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. In 1990, he would compete on Star Search as a competitor.
When he appeared on David Letterman’s Late Night with David Letterman, the host declared, “If we could have, Norm on every week,” he was a tremendous fan. For the 1992–93 season, he worked as a writer on Roseanne, before departing to join SNL.
Announcing My Departure from SNL
Macdonald was fired as Weekend Update host in early 1998 by Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC’s West Coast division, because of a loss in ratings and a decline in quality.
On January 10, 1998, programme, he was replaced by Colin Quinn on the Weekend Update desk.
As recently as September 2010, MacDonald was working on a sports version of The Daily Show for Comedy Central. It premiered on April 12, 2011, with Norm MacDonald as the host.
It was decided to air nine of the planned episodes. It was the 26th of March, 2011 when Comedy Central broadcast Macdonald’s debut stand-up special, Me Doing Stand-Up.
On February 26, 2011, he joined Kara Scott as a co-host and analyst for the seventh season of the Game Show Network television series High Stakes Poker.