Comedian Norm Macdonald dies

Publish Date
Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 9:04AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Comedian and Saturday Night Live star Norm Macdonald has died after a private battle with cancer, Variety reports.

The Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor known for his deadpan style.

Variety reported Macdonald's cancer diagnosis was kept secret from the public, but he battled it for nine years.

Macdonald got his start in showbiz as a writer on Roseanne in 1992 after making rounds at comedy clubs in Canada. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1993, and the next year he began his memorable stint as Weekend Update anchor until early 1998, when he was replaced by Colin Quinn.

Macdonald was known for his impressions of Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino and many more.

His death was confirmed by his management team at Brillstein Entertainment.

Macdonald's longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with him when he died, told Deadline he'd fought cancer for nearly a decade but was determined to keep his health struggles private.

"He was most proud of his comedy," Hoekstra said. "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."

Macdonald courted controversy in 2018 with comments about the #MeToo movement and fellow comedians Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr, which led to the The Tonight Show cancelling his appearance.

He subseqently apologised for the comments.

In an interview with radio host Howard Stern, Macdonald said "You'd have to have Down syndrome not to feel sorry" for the victims of sexual misconduct.

He had already tweeted an apology saying he would never defend the actions of Barr and C.K.

"If my words sounded like I was minimising the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry," Macdonald tweeted.

Macdonald is survived by his son, Dylan.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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