Comedian and former SNL cast member “Weekend Update” anchor Norm Macdonald has died after a long, private battle with cancer. He was 61.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” said producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra in a statement to Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”
Born in Quebec City in 1959, Norm honed his droll, low-key style in Canada before heading to the U.S. He was a writer on Roseanne from 1992-1993 before being hired for Saturday Night Live, where he was a cast member from 1993-1998, and was “Weekend Update” anchor from ’94-’97. This was the era of the OJ Simpson trial and Norm was relentless on OJ, which many suspect got him removed from the position, although then NBC exec Don Ohlmeyer, a friend of OJ’s, said it was because Macdonald was “not funny.” Though he left the show at the end of that season, Norm hosted in 1999 and was a frequent guest star, where he became equally well known for playing Burt Reynolds on “Celebrity Jeopardy!”
Norm also wrote and starred in the film Dirty Work, created early 2000s sitcom The Norm Show, hosted YouTube series Norm Macdonald Live, and more recently hosted Norm Macdonald Has a Show for Netflix. He was still doing standup, too, and was scheduled to appear at the New York Comedy Fest this fall.
Rest in peace, Norm. Watch some SNL highlights below.