Eight months after losing a nearly decade-long battle with cancer, Netflix has dropped Norm MacDonald’s final standup piece. Read on to learn more about the standout moments from the show titled Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special—which is streaming now.
“In the summer of 2020, he was scheduled to undergo a procedure and as he put it, ‘didn’t want to leave anything on the table in case things went south,’” says the opening screen. “At home, the night before going in, he shot this – in one take.”
And that is exactly what happened. But the filming is perhaps even more basic than you’d imagine.
MacDonald actually filmed the special inside his home with absolutely no special cameras or crews and no audience. In the background, you can hear a dog barking. And at one point, his cell rings and he answers it to say, “I gotta phone you back on account I’m doing a special on the TV, comedy special.”
While wearing a plaid blazer, headphones, and a baseball cap, the comedian tells jokes about his mortality. And the topic hints at the fact that he knew his time was coming to an end.
Norm MacDonald Filmed Netflix Special ‘In Case Things Went South’
When Norm MacDonald filmed the Netflix special, Norm Macdonald was near the end of a nine-year battle with leukemia. However, he kept his health issues a secret because “he never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” according to his producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra, per Deadline.
But he made note of his feelings in the video by talking about meeting god, choosing the wrong religion, and his family taking him off of life support.
“Norm worked so hard on a new hour of material and wanted it to be seen. While this version of Nothing Special was not originally meant to be the final product, COVID restrictions prevented him from filming in front of an audience. We want to make sure his fans see this very funny hour. He left this gift for all of us,” Hoekstra, who served as a one-woman film crew, said in a statement.
Aside from his banter about death, Norm MacDonald also chose to make light of various politically or socially charged topics that are making rounds in modern society. The comedian talks about everything from the #metoo movement to war to transgender issues and everything else in between.
At the end of Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, a group of MacDonald’s famous friends, which include David Letterman, Dave Chappelle, Molly Shannon, Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler, and David Spade add thoughts and praise.
“This guy was, in a weird way, reconciling his mortality hilariously in front of us,” Chappelle says. “His circumstance, he nudged into it several times but didn’t linger. And to us, from this perspective, powerfully meaningful.”
Norm MacDonald died on September 14, 2021. The award-winning comedian was 61.