Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Norm Macdonald (1959-2021)

 The Supreme Master of Comedy

Norm Macdonald died today after "a long battle with cancer," which "battles" he has an incredible routine about. Jake Fogelnest expressed the sentiment that this couldn't be true and instead we must hunt down his assassins. He was my favorite comic besides Louis CK, and he too was an auteur. I'll save the definition of that, though it will be obvious. I've never seen such an outpouring of grief on Twitter for anyone, and it's fair to say that, breaking my rule about the collective first-person assumption, we loved Norm. He moved me to tears of laughter so many times since the early '90s. My best friend and I had a wall in our senior-year apartment at college dedicated to the kings and queens (not enough queens, in 1998-99) of comedy; Norm had the biggest inkjet print-out. So many bits of his are immortalized on YouTube — you can go down a proverbial rabbit-hole to explore his work, which I urge. These include every iteration of his podcast, audio and video, JASH and Netflix. My favorite writer, William Faulkner, was his as well, and that of Conan O'Brien, on whose shows Norm unleashed a large percentage of his most devastating (a word used often today upon people learning of his death) comic bits. If you've been on Twitter today you know about many of them already — none perhaps so devastating as the Carrot Top put-down. This is not a particularly insightful post, and as Norm said on his final David Letterman piece, I neither have any "truck with the sentimental." But I'd like to share here what is for me his masterpiece: the "Dirty Johnny" joke which he shared on his Internet show a couple years ago.

This is Norm Macdonald's Dirty Johnny joke.


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