[Norm] hated comedy that pandered to a like-minded crowd, once saying in an interview that stand-ups should hunt for laughter, not applause. “There’s a difference between a clap and a laugh. A laugh is involuntary, but the crowd is in complete control when they’re clapping. They’re saying, ‘We agree with what you’re saying; proceed!’” he said. “But when they’re laughing, they’re genuinely surprised. And when they’re not laughing, they’re really surprised. And sometimes I think, in my little head, that that’s the best comedy of all.”
Norm MacDonald was, in other words, the absolute opposite of what passes for a comedian today. And since today’s comedians are some of the least funny to ever bear that name, that means Norm MacDonald is firmly entrenched as quite possibly the funniest comic of all time.
After Norm unexpectedly died early Tuesday, a conga line of comics who could never hope to match Norm’s wit or his laughs lined up to praise him.
Yet while Norm was alive, the vast majority of these comics would never dare to tread the same territory Norm traversed so brilliantly.
Over the years, Norm’s conservative, right-wing bent leaked out.
But Norm wasn’t a great comedian because he was conservative. He was a great comedian because, without any boasting or self-aggrandizement, he actually did what most comedians merely pretend to. He challenged the sacred beliefs of the society and particularly the privileged elites around him. He deflated the arrogant, the smug, and the self-righteous. He was honest, consequences be damned.
“I just like doing jokes I like,” he said once. “And if the audience doesn’t like them, they’re wrong, not me.”
No doubt, that honesty was why studio execs never offered Norm a mainstream late-night television show, while eagerly handing them out to insipid bores like Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers, and Jimmy Fallon.
Here are some clips of today’s pathetic late-night hosts like Colbert, Fallon, and Kimmel pandering to their liberal audience with sheer, unadulterated, shameless political flattery.
Stephen Colbert likens Trump voters to the Taliban: "Why should our soldiers be fighting radicals in a Civil War in Afghanistan? We’ve got our own on Capitol Hill." pic.twitter.com/XztIatECGS
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 17, 2021
Jimmy Jimmel wants to interview Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend, OMG! ?? pic.twitter.com/luHCBBaRmF
— ?Đʳ?Ⓐ? Ｍเ?ａ? ™ (@prinzzolanski) September 15, 2021
Not Nicki making it on Stephen Colbert ?? What is this? ? pic.twitter.com/t8LK0YXjIo
— ????????? ❆ (@onikadrip) September 15, 2021
In direct contrast to the spirit of the age, Norm never pandered, and as a matter of fact, he hated pandering of this sort. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, after Norm passed, his longtime friend and producer Lori Joe Hoekstra gave a brief statement to Deadline that particularly emphasized that “Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered.”
Perhaps more importantly, Norm was honest, at times brutally so. When asked why there were so few female comedians, he told Howard Stern that, “In a way, since the best comedy is honesty, women are obviously way more dishonest than men. Whenever you hear women talk, it’s all that, they hate each other’s guts but they pretend to like each other.”
It goes without saying that in addition to being profoundly unfunny, today’s “comedians” are profoundly dishonest, a phenomenon which can’t solely be chalked up to liberal bias. In the age of cancel culture, today’s cowardly comedians are exceptionally terrified of offending the woke mob with the truth.
In any case, Norm never let the slights and disrespect bring him down. He kept at it on YouTube and Netflix. Friends like Conan O’Brien and David Letterman brought him on as a frequent guest. Norm may not have a blockbuster film or a top-ten sitcom to his name, but those who take the time to comb through his years of work will quickly discover one of the most brilliant comedic minds ever beneath his nonchalant exterior.
Norm may not have collected the career accolades given to those who played it safe and plied the official regime ideology, but he won the greater victory of having colleagues who respected him as one of the funniest comics ever.
Of course, the cancel culture mafia came for MacDonald at various times in his career. Norm was famously fired from Saturday Night Live when his O.J. Simpson jokes grated on NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer, who was rumored to be close with Simpson. In 2018, Jimmy Fallon kicked Norm off his show for pushing back against the liberal MeToo lynch mob:
Norm Macdonald’s appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” was hastily canceled Tuesday after the comedian stirred controversy with remarks about the #MeToo movement and the treatment of Louis C.K., Chris Hardwick and Roseanne in recent scandals.
“Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today, ‘The Tonight Show’ has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday’s telecast,” NBC said in a statement. “Tonight Show’s” decision to drop Macdonald came even after he apologized for his comments later in the day.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Macdonald said he was “happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit.” He further opined: “It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’ Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there.”
Obviously, Norm was far too honorable to ever use hateful lynch mob tactics himself.
Norm was the type of guy to rush to defend someone against absurd, trumped up charges of "racism." @davidcrosss is the type to make absurd, trumped up charges of racism that Norm would defend people against. pic.twitter.com/tcdxsC939K
— Unwoke Duffy ☦ (@TheIllegit) September 15, 2021
Norm’s enduring status as the funniest comic ever is an indictment of the dishonest comedy dullards, bores, and flatterers that populate YouTube, subscription services, and the light-night “comedy” shows of today. Unlike Norm, these cowardly comics are deathly afraid of setting off a lynch mob — or, even worse, they are simply eager participants in the mob themselves. They always pander to the audience, or rather the tiny, rabid minority of liberals who are hyperactive on Twitter and occupy the halls of power. Norm once even skewered this phenomenon, joking in a TMZ interview that, “I cater my performance to a tiny group of people that hate me.”
Towards the end of his life, one of Norm MacDonald’s funniest bit of standup skewered the “Woke” phenomenon.
This sort of fearless act could never be replicated by the insipid, gutless bores of today. The famous, fearless, and unsurprisingly deceased comic Patrice O’Neal once said that, “The idea of comedy, really, is not everybody should be laughing. It should be about 50 people laughing, and 50 people horrified.” With today’s comedy, zero people laugh lest one person be horrified.
Rest in peace, Norm MacDonald. May your soul long outlive the withered, humorless spirit of today.