Charlotte Foster


Tue, 14 Sep, 2021

“We lost a comedy giant today”: Norm Macdonald dead at 61

“We lost a comedy giant today”: Norm Macdonald dead at 61

The comedy world is in mourning after Norm Macdonald died of cancer on Tuesday at age 61. 

The Canadian stand-up comic and Saturday Night Live cast member had been battling cancer in private for nearly a decade, according to his lifelong friend Lori Jo Hoekstra who was with him when he dies. 

"He was most proud of his comedy", she said.

"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.”

Norm was known in the comedic circle for his signature deadpan delivery and dry style of humour that quickly made him an icon of the craft.

Norm's impressions of famous figures, such as TV star Burt Reynolds, became a teaching tool and huge inspiration for up and coming comics. 

“I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting,” actor and fellow Canadian Seth Rogen tweeted. 

“I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the all time greats.”

Norm shot to fame when he was cast on Saturday Night Live in 1993 after performing in comedy circuits in Canada for several years. 

He performed on SNL until 1998, serving as a co-host of Weekend Update for three seasons.

Norm then went on to star in his own ABC sitcom, The Norm Show, from 1999 until 2001, and also became a hilarious regular on a series of talk shows.

In 2018, he hosted a Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, that was inspired by his podcast and garnered an international audience. 

Hundred of comedians have shared their stories of Norm on Twitter in remembrance of the comedy giant and all he did for the world of show business.

Actor Josh Gad wrote, "Absolutely gutted. One of the most underrated and hilarious SNL performers."

Writer and director Edgar Wright also tweeted, saying, "Of the many addictive rabbit holes you can disappear down on the internet, the most pleasurable is ‘Norm MacDonald chat show appearances'."

“Thanks for all the laughs Norm, very sorry to see you go.”

Image credit: Getty Images

Our Partners