Norm Macdonald, best known for his deadpan news delivery on Saturday Night Live and line-crossing jokes, has died after a private nine-year battle with cancer.
Macdonald anchored Weekend Update during the O.J. Simpson trial, where he delivered one of his most memorable jokes at the top of the episode following Simpson’s acquittal: “Well, it is finally official: murder is legal in the state of California.” After his removal from Weekend Update, Macdonald accused NBC exec Don Ohlmeyer of firing him over his controversial Simpson jokes, though Ohlmeyer cited poor ratings.
He later returned to SNL to appear in many skits, including a memorable Burt Reynolds impersonation on Celebrity Jeopardy:
Macdonald starred in his own sitcom and in films including Billy Madison, The People vs. Larry Flynt, the Dr. Dolittle remake, and Dirty Work.
Widely considered a “comedian’s comedian,” his edgy work garnered a cult following, though his jokes about women and minorities often got him in hot water.
He was also known as a great talk show guest, who often turned interviews around and won audiences back:
A lot of his comedy was of the “punching down” variety, and a frequent subject was gay men, which led to criticism.
If you want to see him cracking up some of the biggest names in comedy, check out his bits with David Spade or this interview with Jerry Seinfeld:
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