How can it be that Norm Macdonald, one of the funniest comedians of the last three decades, doesn’t have a show on the air? Maybe that’s because he doesn’t want one
ORM MACDONALD is the Lil Wayne of comedy. He slurs his words, he’s gone a bit off the rails over the years (and was briefly reported dead), he hasn’t had a hit in ages — and yet, he’s still considered one of the best in the game. Macdonald got his biggest break in the mid-’90s, anchoring “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, disarming audiences with his dry sarcasm and aloof, blunt non-jokes. Word is his what eventually got him fired. Whatever the case, it certainly hasn’t helped him keep a job since. For the last couple decades, the Canadian comedian has struggled to find a proper vehicle for his subversive comedy; there have been failed sitcoms (The Norm Show, A Minute with Stan Hooper), box-office bombs (Dirty Work, Screwed), and projects that never aired due to creative differences. Like Weezy, Norm may be his own worst enemy.
Or maybe not. What makes Macdonald such an impossible guy to base a conventional show or movie around might be exactly what makes him so funny — he’s in full flow when he’s spontaneous and uncompromising. At 56, he’s finding alternate routes for that jarring unpredictability, whether it’s Twitter (where he spins long, meandering yarns), his Youtube podcast (where he tells long, meandering jokes), or his surprisingly brilliant new memoir, Based on a True Story (which, unsurprisingly, is based on a half-true story). Sure, he’d like a day job. But in an industry that decides a comedian isn’t thriving unless they’re a movie star, sitcom headliner, or talk show host, he’s content being something else: a stand-up, a raconteur, a latter-day Bukowski, a dirtbag genius. The man is the king of left turns, after all. Just when you think he’s down and out, he picks the world up and drops it
Nis Yeah, that was actually a thing that happened. This guy sent me a screenshot of the Wikipedia page saying I had died. It made me feel very, very strange, because I realized that one day,