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The Late Norm Macdonald Left Behind a Surprise Stand-Up Show

The world lost one of its best and longest-tenured comedians in Norm Macdonald last September. This week we found out it’s not the last irreverent deadpan we’ve heard from the man.

In what’s most likely a first for comedy, news broke that Macdonald shot a secret standup performance in his living room before his passing at 61. Sources said that the comedian wanted to offer one last appearance for his fans should his health take a turn for the worst.

Norm Macdonald (right) with a fan in 2016.

“His test results were not good, so during the heart of COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case — as he put it — things went south,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was his intention to have a special to share if something happened.”

Known for his sarcasm, sardonic delivery, and untempered wit, Macdonald entertained millions of viewers for nearly 30 years before succumbing to cancer on Sept. 14, 2021. He was maybe best known for his time on Saturday Night Live from 1993 to 1997, generating controversy more than a few times as host of the show’s Weekend Update segment. After that run, Macdonald appeared in a few movies but primarily remained in the cultural consciousness via standup and other comedic appearances. Now he’s deeded audiences one last chance to appreciate his dry hilarity.

Macdonald filmed himself in a single, over-an-hour take from his living room. This wasn’t an off-the-cuff effort, though. The set was actually supposed to appear in front of a live audience in 2020, but we all know what ill winds blew in during that year. After the COVID-19 pandemic put a permanent cramp in the comedy special’s plans, Macdonald ended up filming the show at home in the summer of 2020, ensuring one last laugh for viewers in case he was unable to beat cancer a second time.

“Norm worked so hard on a new hour of material and wanted it to be seen… We want to make sure his fans see this very funny hour,” Hoekstra said in a Netflix statement. “He left this gift for all of us.”

The special will also include bonus material with comedic peers like Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler, Molly Shannon, and David Spade. These fellow humorists will provide their perspectives on their relationship and special experience sharing life with Macdonald in a fitting farewell for one of comedy’s greats.

Fans will be able to stream the comedian’s standup farewell, Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, on Netflix beginning Monday, May 30.

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Matthew Denis
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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