Norm Macdonald

Active - 1995 - 2019  |   Born - Oct 17, 1963 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada  |   Died - Sep 14, 2021   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

Fired in bitter haste from Saturday Night Live and following up with two career-crippling film credits, Norm Macdonald's career has been spiraling into disaster since 1997 -- "or so the Germans would have us believe." Though he began his career as a stand-up comedian in Ottawa, most people's familiarity with MacDonald derives from his three-year stint as Weekend Update anchor on the ever-enduring Saturday Night Live. Realizing that a change in location was the key to success, MacDonald packed his bags and took his routine to L.A, where he continued to refine his specific brand of acerbic wit through his stand-up act. In addition, MacDonald became a writer for the popular sitcom Roseanne, as well as The Dennis Miller Show.

It was a long road to following in the footsteps of Chevy Chase and Dennis Miller in dragging the current headlines through the mud (and a not so happy ending to cap it off). Beginning his SNL career as a bit player in the 1993, the torch was passed from Kevin Nealon to Norm MacDonald in the beginning of the show's 1994 season. After an exhausting barrage of O.J. Simpson and Frank Stallone jokes, however, NBC president Don Ohlmeyer pulled the plug on MacDonald's Weekend Update career, citing that the anchor was simply "not funny."

After taking small roles in Adam Sandler comedies and bit parts on The Drew Carey Show, MacDonald continued the cursed SNL tradition of tackling feature films. MacDonald's awkward attempts at feature-film stardom in Dirty Work and Screwed did little to please mainstream audiences (Screwed failed even to recuperate its 10-million-dollar production costs) but pleased his loyal fans nonetheless. In early 1999, Norm MacDonald became the star of his very own television sitcom, The Norm Show. Cast as a scheming ex-hockey star-turned-social worker who never fails to get himself into constant mischief, The Norm Show -- later shortened to just Norm) -- co-starred Laurie Metcalf, Ian Gomez, and former Dirty Work co-star Artie Lang.

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Factsheet

  • Is the son of two teachers.
  • Brother Neil MacDonald is a CBC journalist. 
  • Began his career as a writer for Roseanne, before joining Saturday Night Live in 1993.
  • Known for his impressions of Bob Dole and Burt Reynolds on Saturday Night Live.
  • Let the f-word slip on an April 1997 episode of Saturday Night Live but was not fired (Charles Rocket was fired from the show for that same offense in 1981).
  • Was fired from the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live in December 1998 by NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer over the phone because Ohlmeyer didn't find him funny.
  • Plays poker on the celebrity poker circuit.