Comedy lost one of its most original voices yesterday with the death of Norm Macdonald. The 61-year-old stand-up legend and former SNL cast member excelled at all manner of comedy, but was especially great as a talk show guest, where his blunt, deadpan jokes and rambling stories would often crack the host up even more than they would the audience. His loss is a huge one for comedy, and it was felt especially keenly by his fellow comics, especially the talk show hosts who were his friends, colleagues and acolytes. Their tributes to Macdonald poured out on social media and their own TV shows today, serving as a testament to how much the comedian was loved by his peers.
David Letterman and Norm Macdonald had a lot in common. Both were masters of deadpan and irony who knew when to give a joke the room it needed to really land with the audience—especially if it was an intentionally bad joke. Norm was a frequent guest on Letterman’s shows, and was the last stand-up comedian to perform on a Letterman-hosted talk show in 2015. Letterman later served as “special counsel” on Norm’s short-lived Netflix talk show. In two tweets sent through his official account earlier today, Letterman doesn’t hesitate to call Macdonald the best at stand-up.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel, himself a self-styled devotee of Letterman, summed up his appreciation of Norm in a short and sweet tweet.
Tonight on Late Night with Seth Meyers, one former host of SNL's Weekend Update pays tribute to another, as Meyers recounts his memories of Norm Macdonald. Meyers shares his favorite joke from Macdonald's time on Weekend Update, and talks about Norm's refusal to play by anybody else's rules, even while doing live TV during SNL's 40th anniversary special.
Conan O'Brien, another former SNL alum and talk show legend who retired from late night earlier this summer, remembered his colleague in a tweet. Some of Macdonald's best late night appearances came on O'Brien's various shows, and Conan's love for Norm's one-of-a-kind style of comedy was palpable, as he notes in his short eulogy for Macdonald.
Finally, Late Late Show host James Corden memorializes Macdonald as a host would to a guest, calling the comic “perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late night,” while recalling a hilarious bit Norm did on his show about Mickey Mouse. Corden’s head writer and sidekick Ian Karmel, a very funny stand-up comic himself, then speaks to Norm’s importance as a stand-up comedian, his enduring love for the form, and how truly singular Norm’s vision and performance style was.