An SNL Mistake: Firing Comedy Legend Norm MacDonald For Telling Jokes

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Norm MacDonald's Comedy Legacy: An Exploration of His SNL Journey and Beyond"

Date Posted:July 28, 2023

Author:Barry Punster

Norm MacDonald, a renowned stand-up comic, was a fixture of live comedy, known for his unique sense of humor, deadpan delivery, and his ability to leave audiences in stitches. His legacy, however, extends beyond his numerous stand-up performances. MacDonald's journey through the competitive world of comedy, his significant contribution to "Saturday Night Live" (SNL), and his infamous firing from the same show form a remarkable narrative of perseverance, talent, and wit.

Norm MacDonald: Rising Through the Comedy Ranks

Born on October 17, 1959, in Quebec City, Canada, Norm MacDonald showed a knack for comedy early in his life. MacDonald started his stand-up career in Ottawa at the age of 23. His unique humor and style quickly caught attention and he became a hit in the stand-up comedy scene.

In the late 80s, MacDonald moved to Los Angeles, securing a spot in the lineup at the iconic comedy club, "The Improv." His performances drew the attention of a talent scout from "Star Search," leading to his television debut in 1990.

Norm MacDonald and SNL: A Prominent Chapter in Comedy History

In 1993, MacDonald joined the cast of SNL, a milestone that would propel his career to new heights. By the following year, he was already hosting the show's popular Weekend Update segment. His satirical take on current news and cultural trends quickly became a fan favorite.

Norm's stint on SNL, however, wasn't without controversy. MacDonald was known for pushing boundaries and making jokes on sensitive topics, particularly his continuous jesting on the O.J Simpson trial. His relentless humor on this topic was characteristic of MacDonald's comedic style, demonstrating his fearless approach to comedy.

Norm MacDonald's Impact: Comedy and Movies

Norm's comedic style was refreshingly different. His approach to comedy was unapologetic and challenging, pushing the envelope of what was considered acceptable to joke about. He was fearless in his satire, which was a defining characteristic of his humor. His audacious style has been influential in shaping the comedic landscape, inspiring a generation of comedians to take risks with their material.

In addition to his impactful SNL stint, MacDonald had a prolific film and television career. He starred in various comedy films like "Billy Madison," "Dirty Work," and "Screwed," and lent his distinctive voice to popular animated series such as "The Fairly OddParents" and "Family Guy."

The Controversial SNL Firing

MacDonald's fearless comedy, however, had its repercussions. His continuous jesting about the O.J Simpson trial led to a strained relationship with Don Ohlmeyer, an NBC executive and friend of O.J Simpson. In 1998, Ohlmeyer fired MacDonald, citing that he was not funny.

The decision sparked outrage among fans and was criticized by other comedians, including late-night talk show host David Letterman. Letterman, in various interviews with MacDonald, questioned the decision and openly called Ohlmeyer an "idiot" for firing one of the funniest people alive.

MacDonald's Triumphant Return to SNL

Despite his firing, MacDonald returned to SNL in 1999 as a host. He used his monologue to humorously address his firing and delivered a stellar performance on Weekend Update, proving once again why he was considered one of the best in stand-up comedy.

Norm MacDonald's journey through the world of comedy was marked with immense talent, unyielding resolve, and an unwavering dedication to his craft. From his early years in the comedy scene to his significant contribution to SNL, he made a lasting impact.

His firing from SNL may have been a low point, but MacDonald turned it into another opportunity to showcase his unique comedic skills. MacDonald’s journey serves as a testament to his undeniable talent, unique humor, and significant impact on stand-up comedy. Even though he's no longer with us, his legacy remains one of comedy’s most unique voices, and his humor continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, offering a reminder that comedy is, above all, a medium for fearless expression.