Norm Macdonald
The Last Dangerous Castmember
by Mario Lanza

Hello, my name is Mario Lanza, and I am an internet comedy writer. And Norm Macdonald has been my favorite comedian, and hero, for more than thirty years. And this is just a little tribute page I put together to celebrate his run on SNL Weekend Update back in the mid-to-late 90s.

Not everyone agrees with me that Norm was the greatest Weekend Update anchor of all time. But I'm hoping that after seeing 450+ of his greatest Weekend Update jokes on one page... you will.

Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown has written a book, describing in lurid detail exactly what she did with Hugh Grant.
The book sells for twenty-five dollars, but for thirty-five dollars, she'll show you.

Quick backstory:  Norm first appeared on my radar around 1990 or 91. This was a few years before he was hired by Saturday Night Live. He was just this odd Canadian comic who was featured a lot on Comedy Central, and I believe he had also starred in an HBO One Night Stand. He had also once been a contestant on Star Search. A lot of people these days believe that Norm just suddenly appeared on SNL around 1993, and he was pulled out of nowhere, but that wasn't actually the case at all. He was already a pretty big name long before he was ever hired by SNL. He was selected the "Viewer's Choice" Favorite Comedian on Comedy Central in both 1992 AND 1993. When he won that award two years in a row, that's when I realized he was going to be a pretty big deal.

I'm not gonna spend too much time talking about Norm's early years in stand-up. If you want to watch them, they are easily available on the internet, go watch for yourself. But you have to realize that early stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald wasn't anything like the Norm that we would later see on Weekend Update. Early Norm Macdonald was much closer to Mitch Hedberg. He was just this weird, gangly Canadian guy, who had the weirdest cadence. And he had the most offbeat, unconventional sense of humor. You never knew where his punchline was going to go, because he was just so odd and unpredictable. And as a budding young comedy writer, I remember I feel in love with him almost instantly. There was nobody else like him. Where other comedians would zig, Norm Macdonald would zag. His jokes were unusual, even at times childlike. Again, the best comparison I can make to him is a young Mitch Hedberg.

Now, obviously, this isn't the version of Norm that you probably have in your head. You probably just remember him for the O.J. jokes. But my god, Norm was so much more than just the O.J. jokes. He was a lot more than the David Hasselhoff jokes and the Frank Stallone jokes too. And I think it's a shame that he only gets remembered for those. To me, Norm was one of the rare examples of a guy who was an actual five-tool comedian. If you've never heard "five-tool" before, that's an old baseball scouting term. It refers to a young baseball prospect who can A. hit, B. hit for power, C. run, D. field, and E. throw. If you find a prospect who can do all five of those things, as a scout, you know you've got a potential young star. Well, as a comedian, Norm was most definitely a five-tool comedian. I mean, just go through the jokes I have included on the following pages. Norm could do smart. Norm could do dumb. Norm could pull off the most amazingly subtle, cerebral joke in the world, and then five seconds later, bomb on purpose and be met with dead silence. Because Norm always thought that silence was funny. Oh, and then two seconds later, he would just napalm some beloved celebrity out of nowhere, and you would wince because you couldn't believe he actually just said that. Every Weekend Update with Norm was a rollercoaster of emotions and reactions, and that's what I loved about him. He was one of the greatest examples of a sentence that was one said about Andy Kaufman: "He never leaves an audience the same way he found it."

 "Comedy is surprises. So if you're intending to make somebody laugh, and they don't laugh, that's funny."
-Norm Macdonald

Was Norm Macdonald eventually fired over all the O.J. jokes? I mean, I'm sure it didn't help. You can't keep harping on someone THAT famous, and not expect a little fallout over it. But I don't think it was the only reason he was fired. To me, the thing that got Norm fired was the fact that... well... to be honest... I think he was always just secretly daring them to fire him. Seriously, read through the 400+ jokes I have included on the following pages, and tell me that doesn't sound like a guy who is just daring NBC to stop him. Norm started his Weekend Update career as the weird, offbeat, Canadian oddity we saw back on Star Search. But he quickly got emboldened by how much power he had as a Weekend Update anchor, and by some of the news stories he was being allowed to comment on. And then... I mean... my personal opinion is, it's amazing we even got as many seasons of him as we did. A lesser comedian would have been fired about two seasons in. Norm was only allowed to get away with it for as long as he did because he had a lot of very vocal fans (like me), and because he was a rock star. I'm guessing the NBC executives were cringing every time he appeared on live TV during his glory days. He was just that savage at times.

In a highly unusual ruling, the California State Supreme Court declared this week that O.J. Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz is, quote, "one ugly bastard."

Anyway, enough about Norm's backstory. Let's get to the jokes. Let's get to the guy who Tina Fey once called "The last dangerous SNL castmember," and David Spade once warned new castmembers about because "Oh, did you hear? Norm's crazy." And then there's the famous old adage about Norm: "That guy just didn't care." (which was recently elaborated on by Late Night's Andy Richter in an interview. His first thought upon meeting Norm for the first time? "That guy doesn't care in a way that frightens me.")

I do believe that Norm cared about SNL Weekend Update. I think that he cared a lot. But alas, if you're that dedicated to the art of comedy, as he seemed to be, then the joke is always going to come first. The comedy always wins out. And if it winds up getting you fired eventually, well, that's just how it goes. At least you went down in flames, and you went out a legend. And to me, that's the legacy of Norm Macdonald on Saturday Night Live. He may have gone down in flames eventually. But he never let up. And the comedy always came first.

“If you don’t believe in the joke, why do it in the first place? Don’t let the audience be the judge of what’s funny. You either think it’s funny or you don’t. That’s the problem with comedy--it’s so subjective that you really can’t take other people’s opinions seriously.”
-Norm Macdonald, 1995

And so here we go with the fun stuff. I went through every one of his Weekend Updates over the years, and I have prepared over four hundred and fifty of my favorite Norm Macdonald jokes for you. And I have divided them into categories so you can see how much of a five-tool comedian he really was. Want a smart joke? Here's a page of just smart jokes. Want a silly joke? Here's a page of just those. Want a page of him ripping Michael Jackson a new asshole? Well I can promise you aren't ready for those, but there's a page just of those. I even included a page of him bombing (sometimes on purpose), and how delighted he always seemed to be. He really was the Andy Kaufman of SNL Weekend Update anchors. He never left an audience the same way he found it.

And now, if you think you are ready for it, on with the jokes!

-Mario Lanza

The Greatest Norm Macdonald Jokes From Saturday Night Live

Disclaimer #1 : At the bottom of each joke, I included the episode number, as well as the date. So you can go look up these clips if you want.

Disclaimer #2: Good luck finding most of these clips online. NBC doesn't seem to want anything to do with old Norm Updates these days. For, uh, obvious reasons... as you will see (hint: the Janet Reno and Michael Jackson jokes).

1. Norm Just Being Silly - Page 1
2. Norm Being Blunt - Page 1
3. Norm Being Savage
4. Just O.J. Jokes - Page 1
5. Norm Just Being Silly - Page 2
6. Miscellaneous Norm Jokes - Page 1
7. When Norm Bombs Hard
8. My Personal Favorites - Page 1
9. Norm Napalms Celebrities - Page 1
10. Norm Macdonald - King of the Hate Mail - Page 1
11. Norm Just Being Silly - Page 3
12. Norm Enjoys Wordplay
13. Norm Being Blunt - Page 2
14. Just O.J. Jokes - Page 2
15. Miscellaneous Norm Jokes - Page 2
16. My Personal Favorites - Page 2
17. Norm Napalms Celebrities - Page 2
18. Norm Destroys Michael Jackson
19. Norm Macdonald - King of the Hate Mail - Page 2
20. Norm Straight Up Gets Cancelled
21. Just O.J. Jokes - Page 3
22. Miscellaneous Norm Jokes - Page 3
23. My Personal Favorites - Page 3
24. Norm Napalms Celebrities - Page 3
25. Norm Macdonald - King of the Hate Mail - Page 3
26. Just O.J. Jokes - Page 4
27. My Personal Favorites - Page 4

Bonus page: When Norm Ate Fake Vomit

At the end of the day, I hope you have enjoyed my little tribute to Norm Macdonald on Saturday Night Live. I felt it was the least I could do to thank him for all the laughs he has given me over the years (and for my entire sense of humor, too, which he basically inspired.) Of course Norm did lots of other hilarious things too, outside of SNL, but I decided to just specify this page to his time spent on Weekend Update. Maybe I'll do another tribute to him as well at some point in the future, who knows.

Now, obviously, Norm died in September of 2021, so he is no longer with us. But I felt it was important to end this page with one of his bits. Just because I feel like this is the way Norm would have liked to be remembered. So I chose a joke he told in his stand-up routine, "Me Doing Standup." Finish us off, Norm.

"When a person dies of cancer... I'm not a doctor... but I'm pretty sure if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time. So that to me is not a loss. That's a draw. It's not like... the cancer's fuckin' gonna jump up and be like, "Arrrgh I'm fuckin' Uncle Bert's wife, where is she? I won fair and square!" No, if you die, the cancer dies too. That's a draw."

In any case, here's to my hero, Norm Macdonald.
You know, he's probably up in Heaven right now, hanging out at the swimming pool with Saint Peter. Or maybe he's in Hell, where demons gnaw at his flesh, and the agonies of the damned never cease. Either way, he'll be missed.

Thank you for everything, Norm.

R.I.P. Norm
Tied cancer, 2021

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