A comedian’s legacy

Aden McClune, Staff Reporter

One of the greatest comedians of all time passed away on Tuesday, leaving his legacy of deadpan and sometimes hated humor behind, as well as a lengthy career on SNL. Norm Macdonald, who was privately dealing with a nine-year cancer diagnosis, “lost his battle” (a phrase which he hated, and even did a bit on ten years earlier).

Macdonald, despite not being particularly from my generation’s era, was and still is celebrated for his humor today. Thee are tons of clips and compilations up on YouTube, my favorite being a series of clips of him ruining a YouTube “comedy” show, with a myriad of internet celebrities gazing in horror at the monster they unleashed. “Ruining” interviews is something he made a trademark of, with a key tactic of taking minutes to set up a joke, droning on and on about irrelevant anecdotes, and finally arriving at the punchline after coaxing from the host.

His story is saddening, but also inspiring to think that the fantastic podcast, Norm Macdonald Live, and then the Netflix special and show he hosted, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, was crafted after his diagnosis. Forcing Larry King and other high-profile guests, comedians and not, to read out-loud horribly vulgar and offensive jokes will always be my favorite. Watching some more straight-edged comedians squirming and asking “Who writes these jokes?” will never not be funny. Another recurring gag I always laugh at is him referring to himself as a “deeply closeted gay man” to interviewers, with Conan laughing along, and Larry King seeming convinced, asking him what he was revealing. Norm would reply that he’s not revealing anything and that he’s deeply closeted.

“Off-color” (I hate that term, but it’s the only one that seems to fit) humor was one of his trademarks, him unafraid of the establishment and what the audience thought of him. As long as he was having fun, that’s what mattered to him. 

I highly encourage everyone to watch his stand-up, or clips from his podcast. He was in a league of his own.

A true tragedy…