Norm Macdonald Dies: Remembering His Iconic ‘Moth Joke’

by Jonathan Howard

The tragic news that Norm Macdonald has passed has truly shaken the comedy world. It has also led to an outpouring of messages and memories from family, friends, and fans alike. The comedian is known for being a star on SNL and for his many appearances across television and film. One of the best jokes that Macdonald ever told is lovingly referred to as the “moth joke”.

While on Conan O’Brien some years ago, Macdonald offered up a joke for the late-night audience. Of course, the host obliged. After saying that he had heard it from the driver on the way over to the set, O’Brien’s intrigue grew. What happens next is an almost three-minute rambling, suspense building, anxiety-causing, setup with only a punchline Macdonald could deliver.

Always a master in being an anti-comic, the joke winds up a long story. A depressed moth explains his awful life to a pediatrist. By the end of it, the only question the doctor had was why did the moth come there? Why not go to a therapist? Well, “because the light was on.”

Over the years, many people have mirrored and imitated the delivery and style of Norm Macdonald. However, no one would be able to do it as well as he did. That is what being a pioneer of the industry is about. From his work on Weekend Update on SNL to his work as a voice actor and all the shows and movies he did. It was always Norm and over time he became a beloved figure in comedy.

Norm Macdonald Passes Away at 61

It was announced today that Norm Macdonald had passed at the age of 61. He had apparently been battling cancer for the last nine years. Over that time he kept much of his health private. Through the roles he played on SNL and in countless other movies and shows, he became a household name. His dry delivery and sarcastic humor defined his style.

There has been an outpouring of comments from so many friends and fans. Lori Jo Hoekstra, a longtime friend, and colleague had wonderful sentiments about her late friend.

“Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly,” Hoekstra added.

Friends such as Jon Stewart and others have also let their memories and thoughts be shared. It is sad to see such an iconic figure pass. However, it is wonderful that there are so many great bits, jokes, and moments for fans and others to enjoy for many years to come. With so much important work in the industry, there will surely be new fans of Norm MacDonald waiting to find that video or movie and fall in love with him like his fans did during his life.