Norm MacDonald

Norman Gene MacDonald (born October 17, 1963 in Quebec City, Quebec) is a Canadian actor and comedian. MacDonald became a stand up comedian, performing in comedy clubs across Canada. MacDonald eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, and became a writer for the popular Roseanne television series. MacDonald is known for his biting sarcasm and distinct muttering and slurring delivery during his stand up shows. He is the brother of Canadian journalist Neil MacDonald.

Information about Norm's past is difficult to ascertain, since he is notorious for fabricating information about himself.

Norm's father, Percy MacDonald, served with the Canadian Army during the Second World War and helped liberate the Netherlands from the Germans. After the War, he became a teacher.

Norm has said that he was a student in his father's class, and that he had to call him "Mr. MacDonald" while in class. His father was his home room teacher for 2 years (Grade 6 & Grade 7) at Alexander Wolff School in the early 70's and his mother (Fern) was also a teacher in the same school on CFB Valcartier outside Quebec City. After completing Grade 7 at AWS he continued his education at Quebec High School in Quebec City.

There are a number of conflicting stories about Norm's educational background:

* Norm dropped out of high school at the age of 15.

* Norm attended Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario, majoring in broadcasting, but dropped out to pursue a career in show business.

* Norm has also claimed to have attended Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario to study math, and to have played Junior AAA hockey in Ottawa.

MacDonald joined the cast of NBC's popular Saturday Night Live (SNL) program in 1993, where he occasionally did impressions of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Charles Kuralt, Bob Dole, and others.

However, his most notable position on SNL was his three-year stint as anchor of Weekend Update. Chevy Chase, the first anchor of WU, has opined that MacDonald is the only anchor since Chevy's tenure to have "done it right." MacDonald used a deadpan style during the segment, which included running gags such as repeated references to the Germans and their love of Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, regular jokes about prison rape, 'crack whores' and some comedic attacks on public figures such as O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. Throughout the Simpson trial, MacDonald constantly pilloried the former football star, suggesting that Simpson was guilty of the brutal slaying of his wife Nicole. In the broadcast following Simpson's not guilty verdict, MacDonald opened Weekend Update by saying: "Well, it's official: Murder is legal in the state of California."

In another item circa 1995, MacDonald attacked Michael Jackson after his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley. He announced that the two had divorced citing irreconcilable differences: "She's more of a stay-at-home type, and he's more of a homosexual pedophile." He followed this up a few episodes later with a report about the singer's recent collapse and hospitalization. Referring to a report of how Jackson had decorated his hospital room with giant photographs of Shirley Temple, Norm stated that viewers should not get the wrong idea: "We'd like to remind you that Michael Jackson is, in fact, a homosexual pedophile." The joke elicited audible gasps from some audience members.

On the February 24, 1996, show, MacDonald commented on the sentencing of John Lotter, who was convicted of brutally slaying transgender male Brandon Teena: "In Nebraska, a man was sentenced for killing a female crossdresser who had accused him of rape and two of her friends. Excuse me if this sounds harsh, but in my mind, they all deserved to die."

Another uncomfortable moment occurred during the April 12, 1997, show (host Rob Lowe, musical guest Spice Girls), where, during a Weekend Update story about Tabitha Soren, he accidentally coughed in the middle of a sentence and, live on the air, muttered, "What the fuck was that?" The audience applauded, and MacDonald laughed the error away (saying at one point "My farewell performance" and, in closing, "Maybe I'll see you next week"). NBC received a mere three complaints about the gaffe, and MacDonald was not punished. In fact, he stumbled on a story the following week and, catching himself, said, very tongue-in-cheek, "Oh, drat!"

One joke never made it to air. During a dress rehearsal, Norm showed the famous photo of naked Vietnamese children running from a South Vietnamese napalm attack, and said, "In other news, Woody Allen is dating again!" Norm later said "there was this insane audience reaction that went on for two minutes: hate."

A Rolling Stone magazine article about SNL during that time period seemed to suggest that Norm had difficulties getting along with some of the other cast members, whom he taunted frequently. He was described by Chris Kattan in the article, as "an asshole."

MacDonald's time for all intents and purposes with SNL ended in late 1997 when he was fired from the Weekend Update segment upon the insistence of NBC West Coast Executive Don Ohlmeyer, who pressured the producers to remove him, stating that MacDonald was "not funny." Some believe that Don Ohlmeyer's friendship with O.J. Simpson — a celebrity whom Norm often antagonized on the show — may have fueled Ohlmeyer's decision.. Ohlmeyer denied the rumor, arguing that other NBC late-night comedians (e.g., Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and other SNL players) also constantly lampooned O.J. with little to no sanction, and that his decision was based solely on audience reaction through tapes he had personally reviewed. Despite the incident, MacDonald left the show the following year under decent terms with Ohlmeyer, who originally pushed for producer Lorne Michaels to give MacDonald a shot at the Weekend Update desk in 1994. His last appearance on the program as a cast member was on February 28, 1998, portraying a host of fictitious TV show entitled Who's More Grizzled?, asking questions to mountain man characters played by that episode's host Garth Brooks and special guest Robert Duvall. In the sketch, Brooks' character remarked to MacDonald's character at one point, "I don't much care for you," to which MacDonald replied, "Not a lot of people do."

After MacDonald left the show, his successor, Colin Quinn, gave a short monologue before his first starring role in a Weekend Update segment implying that Norm had shown him "the ropes" to being a Weekend Update anchor. Quinn asked the audience if they had ever gone to their favorite bar looking for their favorite bartender and found out the bartender had been replaced (by a less qualified man named "Steve"). After a brief pause, Quinn looked flatly at the audience and proclaimed, "Well I'm Steve." Only a few minutes after Quinn's "I'm Steve" remark, SNL castmember Will Ferrell appeared with Quinn as Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray. In the segment, Ferrell continuously referred to Quinn as "Norm," once commenting on Quinn's girth by saying "Norm, have you gained some weight?"

In a Late Show with David Letterman interview, Norm said that once fired, he was not allowed to have a show competing against SNL's timeslot.

Recurring Characters on SNL:

* Stan Hooper, a cynical man who exploits other people (the short-lived FOX sitcom, "A Minute With Stan Hooper", used this character, but changed his personality)

Celebrity Impersonations:

* Al Michaels
* Andy Rooney
* Barry Scheck
* Bob Dole, particularly in a famous three-part pre-taped sketch were Bob Dole is a castmember on the MTV reality show, "The Real World".
* Burt Reynolds
* Charles Kuralt
* Clint Eastwood
* Craig Reid from The Proclaimers
* David Letterman
* Dr. Jack Kevorkian
* Flea, from Red Hot Chili Peppers
* George Burns
* John Gray
* Eva Peron's husband Juan Peron
* Larry King
* Lou Gerhig
* Marv Albert
* Quentin Tarantino
* Rod Serling
* Slim Pickens
* Tommy Lee

Soon after, MacDonald starred in his first movie entitled Dirty Work, which was released to theaters in 1998. The film featured performances from veteran actors and comedians like Jack Warden, Don Rickles, Chevy Chase, Chris Farley, Artie Lange, and Adam Sandler. Later that year, MacDonald would also lend his voice to one of the animals in the Eddie Murphy remake of Doctor Dolittle (and its 2001 sequel Doctor Dolittle 2). He would reprise the role in 2006's Doctor Dolittle 3, which did not star Eddie Murphy.

In 1999, MacDonald starred in a sitcom called The Norm Show, later renamed Norm, co-starring Laurie Metcalf and Ian Gomez, which lasted three seasons on the ABC television network. 1999 also saw MacDonald in advertising as the voice of the Hardee's restaurant's (Carl's Jr. on the West Coast) costumed mascot, the Hardee's Star. MacDonald also appeared on Miller Lite commercials that year.

MacDonald returned to Saturday Night Live to host the October 23, 1999 show alongside musical guests Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem. In his somewhat notorious opening monologue, he expressed resentment at having been fired and deduced that the only reason he was asked back to host was because SNL had gotten worse since he was fired ("the show blows"). His multiple utterances of "God damn" were edited out of future repeats of the episode.

However, he had made an appearance (to much applause) on the September 1999 Saturday Night Live primetime special that celebrated the program's 25th year. MacDonald was one of only three former Weekend Update anchors to introduce a retrospective on the segment.

MacDonald starred in his second motion picture in 2000, entitled Screwed, alongside the likes of Dave Chappelle, Elaine Stritch, Danny DeVito, and Sherman Hemsley. Like Dirty Work, it flopped at the box office.

MacDonald continued to make brief appearances on television and in films, most notably in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and The Animal, all of which starred fellow SNL alum Rob Schneider and were produced by Adam Sandler. In 2003, MacDonald starred as the title character in A Minute With Stan Hooper during its brief run on FOX.

In 2005, MacDonald signed a deal with Comedy Central to create a new sketch comedy pilot called Back To Norm, which debuted on Sunday, May 29, 2005. The pilot was never turned into a series. It was infamous for the cold opening parodying the shocking suicide of Budd Dwyer, a politician who, facing decades of incarceration, committed suicide on live television in 1987. Rob Schneider made an appearance in the pilot. In September 2006, MacDonald released an album of sketch comedy titled Ridiculous on Comedy Central Records. It features appearances by Will Ferrell, Jon Lovitz, Tim Meadows, Molly Shannon and Artie Lange.

He has one film due out in 2006, now in post-production named Rob Schneider's Hard R.

In 2003, MacDonald appeared on Barbara Walters' program The View and publicly renounced his Canadian citizenship over his home country's decision not to participate in the Iraq War, and said that he would be becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. However, as of January 2006, he stated that he remains a Canadian citizen. "I just keep renewing my green card," said MacDonald in a recent interview.

During the same interview, MacDonald said that he thought George W. Bush was "a decent man" and he jokingly called Bill Clinton a "murderer." These statements were met with anger by the four hosts leading to a verbal tirade by Joy Behar against Norm. After the commercial break (and after MacDonald had left the studio), the women continued to slam MacDonald and his positions.

Norm later stated in Maxim magazine that he is completely apolitical, and that he was joking for comedic effect when he said Bill Clinton "killed a guy," a statement which was, according to Norm, taken far too seriously by the hosts.

* According to one episode of "Norm," he has a Butterfree and a Squirtle.

* Although he hasn't had much education, Norm made it to the $1 million question on the celebrity comedian version of ABC'S 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'. He guessed twice on the $250,000 and 500,000 question and got them both right. But realizing his luck might have been run dry, he decided to stop at $500,000. His guess on the last question was later revealed to have been correct, so he would have won the million if he hadn't stopped (though in reality, it was Regis who had convinced him to stop).

* He is number 83 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time.

* He portrayed "Death" in one episode of the FOX animated TV show Family Guy but due to a scheduling conflict wherein Norm was on a comedy club tour, he was later replaced by Adam Carolla as the voice of "Death."

* Norm has also appeared as a voice actor for a Genie, suitably named Norm, on the cartoon series The Fairly OddParents. He appeared in two episodes Genie Meanie Miney Mo and Back to Norm. For Norm the Genie's third and final appearance in the show (in the episode Fairy Idol), Norm MacDonald was asked back to reprise his role but there was a schedule conflict. The character Norm was voiced by Robert Cait in the episode.

* MacDonald appeared as a recurring character on the show NewsRadio, portraying Jimmy James' (Stephen Root) lawyer named Roger in the episodes Complaint Box and Injury.

* MacDonald has been rumoured to play bass guitar in the band for country singer Blaine Larsen. However it is a simple case of Larsen introducing his bass guitarist (a MacDonald look-a-like) as "Norm MacDonald."

* In 2006 Norm had a part in a series of commercials for Canadian cell provider Bell Mobility as the voice of Frank the Beaver. The campaign had a commercial tie-in with 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and with the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The ads ran heavily on CBC during the 16 days of the games and throughout the NHL's postseason.

* On September 12th, 2006, his first comedy album was released, entitled Ridiculous.

* Norm is 6' 1" tall.

* Is rumored to have dated Elle Macpherson at some point around 1998.

* Appeared on the Daily Show as the guest on September 14th 2006. The highlight of the interview was Norm's comedic commentary about the recent death of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, while Jon Stewart, the host of the show, was begging him (laughingly) not to make any more jokes about the tragic death caused by "some fruity fish."


1. Billy Madison (1995)
2. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
3. Dirty Work (1998)
4. Dr. Dolittle (1998) (voice)
5. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999) (cameo)
6. Man on the Moon (1999) (cameo)
7. Screwed (2000)
8. The Animal (2001) (cameo)
9. Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) (voice)
10. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) (cameo)
11. Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006) (voice)
12. Farce of the Penguins (2006) (post-production) (voice)
13. Christmas Is Here Again (2006) (filming) (voice)
14. Rob Schneider's Hard R (2006) (pre-production)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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