Norm Macdonald Dies: Longtime Producing Partner and Friend Lori Jo Hoekstra Speaks Out

by John Jamison
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Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Norm Macdonald kept his cancer diagnosis out of the spotlight for years. He died Tuesday after battling for close to a decade. His producing partner and close friend, Lori Jo Hoekstra, was by his side when he passed. And it would seem she knew Norm better than most. She offered some personal insights following the death of her friend.

One look at her IMDb, and it’s clear just how intertwined Lori Jo Hoekstra and Norm Macdonald were. From the beginning of Norm Macdonald’s television career in the late 1990s, Hoekstra was there. She acted as a producer on his first scripted show titled “Norm.” From there, she produced a TV movie of Macdonald’s called “Back to Norm,” “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald,” “Norm Macdonald Live,” and most recently, “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.”

It’s safe to say Lori Jo Hoekstra is an authority on most things Norm. She talked about why he wanted to keep his cancer diagnosis out of the spotlight and his comedic philosophy as a whole.

“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. 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,” said Hoekstra, per Deadline.

Macdonald’s passing is far from a joke, but it certainly caught the comedy community and his fans by surprise. Based on the outpouring from celebrities and fans alike, Lori Jo Hoekstra was correct in saying he’d be missed.

Norm Macdonald’s Hilarious Burt Reynolds Impression on ‘Saturday Night Live’

According to The New York Times, Norm Macdonald got started with stand-up comedy in his home country of Canada. He spent a decade performing at nightclubs and comedy houses across the country. It was a joke from this period that caught the attention of fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Dennis Miller.

Thus, Norm Macdonald’s television career began. After starting as a writer for “The Dennis Miller Show,” it didn’t take long for Macdonald’s talent to shine through. He found his way onto the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1990s and never looked back.

While he was on the legendary sketch show, he left us with a couple of impressions for the ages. Who can forget the iconic Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch? Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, and Macdonald himself impersonating Burt Reynolds, sporting a mustache and bolo tie.

His classic “check out the podium, look at this” moment will live forever in the hearts and minds of SNL fans everywhere. Playing Burt Reynolds, Macdonald changed his name to Turd Ferguson. The result? Hilarity, of course.

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