Normand Macdonald

. – Norm Macdonald, a beloved comedian hosting the popular “Weekend Update” segments of “Saturday Night Live,” died Tuesday at the age of 61, according to multiple reports citing his manager.
Deadline was the first to break the news.

Macdonald had been battling cancer for several years, but kept his diagnosis private, his friend and production partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told CNN in a statement.

“He was very proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect how the public or anyone close to him viewed him, ”Hoekstra said. “Norm was a pure comedian. He once wrote that a joke should surprise someone, it should never be forgiving. He certainly never did. Norm will be sadly missed. ”

Born in Quebec, Canada, he made his debut in show business as a comedian on the Ottawa club circuit, before expanding his work to clubs across Canada.

He quickly became known for his sarcastic and sarcastic humor, and in 1987 he had the opportunity to perform at the “Just For Laughs” comedy festival in Los Angeles.

This first contact with Los Angeles impressed him, and Macdonald moved to the city with the intention of entering Hollywood. He found work writing for the comedy “Roseanne” in 1992.

The following year he joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live”, where he became known for his impersonations of David Letterman, Larry King, Burt Reynolds and Quentin Tarantino, among others.

But it was as host of the satirical news segment “Weekend Update” from 1994 to 1998 that Macdonald reached his peak.

Norm MacDonald on ‘Weekend Update’ April 12, 1997 – (Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank)

Macdonald was abruptly fired from “Weekend Update,” a move made by NBC West Coast Chairman Don Ohlmeyer. Although it was reported that the executive just didn’t like Macdonald in the role, it was reported that the decision had to do with jokes Macdonald told about OJ Simpson, who was an old man. friend of Ohlmeyer.

In a 1998 interview with the David Letterman show, Macdonald said Ohlmeyer told him, “You’re not funny,” adding, “He also thinks OJ is innocent.” Years later, Macdonald told the New York Times that he believed the reason for Ohlmeyer’s estrangement was the “experimental” nature of his material, not the Simpson connection.

Macdonald went on to star in his own comedy series, “The Norm Show”, which aired between 1999 and 2001. He also appeared in films such as “The People vs. Larry Flynt ”,“ Dr. Dolittle 2 ”and“ Deuce Bigalow: European. Gigolo”. In 2018, he presented a short and controversial show on Netflix called “Norm Macdonald Has a Show”.

Jon Stewart, Patton Oswalt, Seth Rogen and other comedians paid tribute to Macdonald on Tuesday.

“My God. We’ve lost a legend, ”Jim Gaffigan tweeted. “Norm was extremely funny. A unique and completely organic special point of view. RIPNormMacDonald. ”

“I am absolutely devastated by the Norm Macdonald case,” Conan O’Brien tweeted. “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so funny and uncompromising. I will never laugh so hard again. I am so sad for all of us today. ”

Senator Bob Dole also paid tribute to him by tweeting a photo of him and Macdonald as Dole.

“Norm @normmacdonald was a great talent, and I loved laughing with him on SNL. * Bob Dole * will be missed by Norm Macdonald, ”Dole tweeted.

“In all important respects in the stand-up world Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and by all colleagues. Always up to par, never sure, until his objectivity puts you up, ”he writes. David Letterman on Twitter.

Macdonald was among the comedians who would perform at the upcoming New York Comedy Festival in November.

–Brian Lowry contributed reporting.

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