Norm Macdonald passed away earlier this month after privately battling cancer for nine years.
I did not know him personally. I know he had a gambling issue for a while and it’s said he had a Xanax issue. People speculate he had a drinking problem. It was moderate, if he did.
I am saddened by his passing. Like most people who knew of his comedy, I’ve been watching Norm Macdonald clips here and there since he passed away. He was generous with his humor. He said some unpopular things and took unpopular stands when he didn’t have to. For example, he lambasted the Clintons over and over for their criminality, OJ Simpson for his obvious guilt, and left us with a treasure trove of soundbites where he’s making light of people’s denial and general unlikability.
Norm was an obvious conservative who managed to carve out a career in a failing, decadent, and socialist industry totally at odds with his convictions.
I was fortunate enough to catch Norm Macdonald in Portland, Oregon once. He had some good early jokes that seemed spontaneous before settling into his routine. The crowd got really drunk and I didn’t enjoy it and left. Still worth the ticket price.
The best part of Norm’s comedy was that he honored Old Time America. He made jokes about miners and settlers. He reminded people of post-War sentiments about different historical figures and world events. He did a lot of locker room talk. He was a throwback. In this regard, he influenced me by connecting me to American tradition. He put me back in the barber shops of my early youth, when men were still men.
Norm said he would be generally incapable of feeling but then be in a museum and fall in love with a painting. He venerated beauty.
At a time when “comedy” descended into the weird, foreign, and neurotic, Norm kept the flame. This is best illustrated by his roast of Bob Saget.
I will miss Norm Macdonald!