Saturday Night Live gave Norm Macdonald the last laugh during the show’s season premiere Saturday. The beloved comedian died last month after a 9-year battle with cancer. He was 61 years old.
During the closing moments of the show’s beloved “Weekend Update” segment, co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che paid tribute to one of the best to ever do that job. Norm Macdonald chaired the segment from 1994 through 1997.
“Norm is the reason that I ever wanted to do ‘Weekend Update,’ Jost said. “And so, tonight, we thought we’d turn the last few jokes of ‘Update’ over to Norm.”
Saturday Night Live showed clips from Macdonald’s time behind the desk at “Update.”
The segment opened with a joke about Bill Clinton, who Macdonald says had then recently come out against same-sex marriage. “The president said he is not too crazy about opposite-sex marriages either,” he quipped.
Of course, the package had to feature a joke about O.J. Simpson, which Macdonald famously roasted relentlessly during the former football great’s murder trial.
“In a brilliant move during closing arguments, Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran put on the knit cap prosecutors say O.J. wore during the night of the murders,” Norm Macdonald says in his deadpan delivery. “Although O.J. may have hurt his case when he suddenly blurted out, ‘Hey, hey. Easy with that! That’s my lucky stabbing hat!’”
Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live in 1998 because of his jokes about Simpson. Macdonald’s boss, NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer, who was good friends with Simpson, said the comments were distasteful and unfunny. Macdonald joked about it when he hosted the show in 1999.
Pete Davidson, who appeared during “Weekend Update” to talk about his time at the Met Gala, wore a shirt with Macdonald’s face on it.
Comedians Pay Respect to Norm Macdonald
Norm Macdonald was one of the most beloved comedians of his generation. His unorthodox style helped him stand out during the comedy boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But it was his unique takes that endeared him to comedians and audiences alike.
David Letterman called him the “Cy Young winner” of comedy. “
“In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you,” the former late-night host tweeted.
Adam Sandler worked with Norm Macdonald on SNL and hired him to appear in some of his early movies.
“Every one of us loved Norm,” Sandler tweeted. “Some of the hardest laughs of my life with this man. Most fearless funny original guy we knew. An incredible dad. A great friend. A legend. Love u pal.”
Macdonald had a long body of work from stand-up, television, and in films. But he shined in one-on-one interviews on late-night shows. He would take the conversation in bizarre directions, but he knew how to stick the landing.
“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald,” he tweeted. “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today.”