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Norm Macdonald (1959–2021), comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” star

by Linnea Crowther

Norm Macdonald was a comedian who anchored “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” for several years in the 1990s.


Macdonald joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1993. He became best known there for his work on “Weekend Update,” which he began anchoring in 1994. His deadpan delivery became a signature of “Weekend Update,” where he often concentrated on hectoring celebrities including Michael Jackson (1958–2009), Bill Clinton, and O.J. Simpson, particularly when Simpson’s high-profile trial dominated the news. Macdonald’s “Weekend Update” style proved influential on the segment’s future. Macdonald was also known of SNL for his impressions of celebrities including Quentin Tarantino, Burt Reynolds (1936–2018), and Larry King (1933–2021).  

Other work

Macdonald had roles in “Billy Madison” (1995) and “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996) while he was still on the SNL cast. After leaving SNL in 1998, he starred in the movie “Dirty Work” (1998). He voiced Lucky the Dog in “Dr. Dolittle” (1998) and several sequels, and he made appearances in other movies including “Man on the Moon,” “Funny People,” and “Grown Ups.” On TV, Macdonald starred in “The Norm Show,” later renamed “Norm,” and in the short lived “A Minute with Stan Hooper.” He had recurring roles in “The Middle” and “My Name Is Earl” as well as voice roles on “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” “Skylanders Academy,” “Family Guy,” and “The Orville.” Macdonald also co-hosted the seventh season of “High Stakes Poker” and was a judge on the final season of “Last Comic Standing.” Macdonald also toured widely with his standup comedy.


Notable quote

“In my mind, I’m just a stand-up. But other people don’t think that. They go, oh, the guy from SNL is doing stand-up now.” –from a 2018 interview for the New York Times Magazine

Tributes to Norm Macdonald

Full obituary: Variety

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