He may also have been fired because he said "fuck" on live network television. Or so the story goes.

Norm always went for the obvious joke.

If the headline had something to do with Marion Berry, the punchline was crack.

If he was talking about either Clinton, the punchline was all about sex, drugs, or marital woes.

If the joke had anything to do with murder, surely Norm would lead it back to a very obvious O.J.-related comment.

And so it goes. In fact, give me a day's worth of news and I'll tell you exactly what Norm would do with it.

What's worse is that his successor, Colin Quinn, who has exhibited talent in the past, follows the same schtick....only his delivery is worse.

Sniff sniff. icicle spends a lot of time watching older episodes of Saturday Night Live and lying prostrate at the gravesite of American satire.
"The Pope came out with a book this week which contains a series of essays examining faith and morality in today's secular world and the changing role of the Catholic Church as it approaches the 21st century the book is entitled 'God himself told me that O.J. is guilty'."1

Norman Gene Macdonald was born the middle of three boys, on Oct. 17, 1963, in Quebec City, Quebec. He got his start in show business working the stand-up comedy circuit in Canada.

He then moved out to Los Angeles, where his first break was as a writer for Dennis Miller. Despite Dennis usually joking about his writers being bald, he still has most of his hair. He also spent some time writing for the sitcom Roseanne, or so the Germans would have us believe.

"An independent study released this week confirms that President Clinton has appointed more minorities to high-level government posts than any other president. For purposes of the study, women were counted as minorities and Attorney General Janet Reno was counted as a woman."

In 1993 he moved onto the gig that most people will know him from when Lorne Michaels hired him as a writer and sketch player on Saturday Night Live. It was here that he showed off his effectiveness at celebrity impersonations. During his time at SNL, he has humoured us with his depictions of many people, including Bob Dole, David Letterman, Burt Reynolds, and Larry King.

"Well, earlier this week actor Marlon Brando met with Jewish leaders to apologize for comments he made on Larry King Live. Among them that, quote, 'Hollywood is run by Jews.' The Jewish leaders accepted Brando's apology, and announced that Brando is now free to work again."

During his first season there, he showed up on the Weekend Update fake news segment as a correspondent. When Kevin Nealon left the show at the end of that season, guess who took over for him behind the Weekend Update desk? You guessed it - Frank Stallone.

Actually, really it was Norm. And did he ever shine. Norm's delivery of the fake news was, at least according to most of my friends, the funniest part of the show.

Norm went after the obvious jokes, but frankly, sometimes those ones are the best. It's just the way he delivered it. There were times when he didn't have to even finish the joke, the audience was laughing so hard.

At a rally in California this week, Dole urged voters to ignore polls which have him trailing President Clinton by double digits. In addition, Dole asked them to ignore newspaper headlines next Wednesday that say, 'Dole loses in landslide.'

However, his constant mockery of people in the spotlight pissed some people off. He went after everyone, from Mother Teresa, to Bob Dole, to Bill Clinton, to the Royal Family, to Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the one person who he made fun of the most, was one Orenthal James Simpson.

"In Los Angeles this week, the defense suffered a setback in the second O.J. trial when Simpson was ordered to turn over a secret videotape which lawyers say contains proof of his guilt. What's on the tape? The first O.J. trial."

The O.J. Simpson trial had just started up when Norm first got behind the Weekend Update desk, and he mentioned O.J. in nearly every single Weekend Update segment, from his first segment to his last. The rumour goes that this is why he was fired.

"In a highly unusual ruling, the California State Supreme Court declared this week that O.J. Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz is, quote, 'one ugly bastard.'"

Don Ohlmeyer, the president of NBC West, was a good friend of O.J., and he is the one who kicked Norm off the Weekend Update desk, apparently because he was "unfunny." This was, of course, the day that I stopped watching the show. For a time, Norm was only doing sketches on the show, with Colin Quinn replacing him at the Weekend Update desk. Fans of Norm were pissed off, and after some publicity, such as an appearance on Letterman, Ohlmeyer agreed to release Norm from his contract, which once again proves my old theory, Germans love David Hasselhoff.

In October of 1999, he returned to Saturday Night Live, this time as the host. I could talk about it, but frankly his opening monologue speaks best. Here it is:

When the people here asked me to do the show, I've got to say, I felt kind of weird. I don't know if you remember this, but I used to actually be on this show. I used to do the "Weekend Update" news routine, you remember that? That's where I did the make-believe news jokes. That was me, you know? So then, a year and a half ago, I had sort of a disagreement with the management at NBC. I wanted to keep my job. Right? And they felt the exact opposite. They fired me because they said that I wasn't funny. Now, with most jobs, I could have had a hell of a lawsuit on my hands for that, but see, this is a comedy show. So, they got me. But, now, this is the weird part, it's only a year and a half later, and now, they ask me to host the show. So I wondered, how did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building, to being so funny that I'm now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so goddamn funny?! It was inexplicable to me, because, let's face it, a year and a half is not enough time for a dude to learn how to be funny! Then it occurred to me, I haven't gotten funnier, the show has gotten really bad! So, yeah, I'm funny compared to, you know, what you'll see later. Okay, so let's recap, the bad news is: I'm still not funny. The good news is: The show blows! Alright, folks, we've got a great show for you tonight! Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggie Dogg and Eminem are here. We'll be right back!

In the meantime, Norm hadn't been sitting still. He starred in, and co-wrote the script for the 1998 movie Dirty Work, where he and Artie Lange play two guys who need cash and open up a revenge for hire business.

In South Dakota, inmates at the State Penitentiary say that a new policy which allows officials to read their mail is an example of the routine violation of individual rights in prison. A better example would be the daily anal rapes, but I guess they want to start off small and then work their way up to the daily anal rapes."

He also got himself his own sitcom, The Norm Show, in 1999. He played an ex-hockey player forced to do community service as a social worker, when convicted of gambling and tax evasion. I don't really watch TV all that often, but I caught it a few times, and the brand of humour doesn't seem to have changed. It looks like it was cancelled in 2001 though. Oh well, unfortunate.

In a recent interview actress Goldie Hawn says that she does not mind if the man she is married to cheats on her. Explaining 'Sexual experimentation is a basic need of all men'. You can read more about Goldie Hawn's personal philosophy in my new book: 'Goldie Hawn, the Greatest Woman who ever lived!'

His next starring role was in the comedy Screwed in 2000. He played a guy who faked his own kidnapping to get back at his boss. I haven't seen it, and judging by the fact that it didn't recoup its production costs, I don't think many people did. Note to self: Don't star in any crappy movies with Danny DeVito.

As for other stuff: Norm has a son named Dylan, with his ex-wife Connie. Apparently he and Jon Lovitz have a pilot on NBC. Don Ohlmeyer is no longer with the network, and their new entertainment president, Jeff Zucker, likes Norm's work. Yaaay!

Update:The pilot with Lovitz died before it got off the ground. Apparently NBC wanted to fuck around with them, and they were all like "Ok, screw off." Oh well. Shame, since I love Norm and Jon.

"And finally the Diamond Council of America advises that men spend two months salary on an engagement ring. Well, the American Housing Company suggests you spend twenty-five percent of your salary on rent. Interestingly, the U.S. Crack Association recommends you spend all your salary...
on crack."

1: All o' these quotations are taken from Norm's appearances on Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

www.imdb.com (Of course)

This was a very fun write-up to do. There's not much like going through a bunch of old SNL transcripts. You know, back when it was funny.

Norm MacDonald has burnt a number of bridges since attaining fame on SNL, mostly for shamelessly stealing the jokes of lesser known comedians or cheating other comedians out of contracts. In the club circuit he's known as one of the worst joke poachers since Robin Williams1.

MacDonald seems to pick on comedian Eric Tunney the most. Tunney was an occasional guest host on NBC's Later with Greg Kinnear. He's pretty tight with the Kids in the Hall and had a bit part in the film Brain Candy. MacDonald has poached no less than four of Tunney's club routines on talk show appearances. Even worse, he's cost Tunney a couple jobs. In one instance, Broadway Video was watching one of Tunney's club tapes for a possible development deal. The deal was killed when reviewers thought Tunney was doing Norm MacDonald material. Another time Macdonald and Tunney were going to try out for the same role in a movie. The producer had left one copy of the script at a comedy club for the boys to pick up. Macdonald and Tunney agreed they'd arrive together and photocopy the script so they could both prepare for the roll. When Tunney arrived at the club, he spotted MacDonald racing out of the club and down the street with the script in hand! Tunney was unable to audition.

Comedian Lawrence Morgenstern helped MacDonald land his job with SNL. Morgenstern wrote a lot of MacDonald's jokes for his submission tape. MacDonald promised Morgenstern $500 a week to write him more material if his initial stuff landed him the SNL job. MacDonald got the job but then backed out of the $500 a week deal with Morgenstern. Another time MacDonald pinched one of Morgenstern's jokes for SNL Weekend Update.

1During Robin Williams' club days, he garnered a very large reputation for poaching other people's material. Legend has it that one comedian was so mad at him that he threw Williams down a flight of stairs. Williams settled a lawsuit not long ago because the title of one of his albums was the catch phrase of San Francisco comic. Even Williams admits his propensity for verbal diarrhea causes him to dump out material without regard to source. There's another legend that after an appearance by Williams, it's not uncommon for his agent to routinely issue checks to comedians who write/phone in complaining Williams lifted their work!

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