Remembering Norm Macdonald's Career in Photos
The SNL star and comedian died at age 61 on Sept. 14, 2021, after a private, nine-year battle with cancer
Saturday Night Live
Norm Macdonald — who died on Sept. 14, 2021, after a nine-year battle with cancer — is perhaps most remembered for his time on SNL, on which he famously impersonated stars like Burt Reynolds and manned the "Weekend Update" anchor desk for several years during his 1993 to 1998 stint. "I get a lot of my jokes from bumper stickers, caps, mugs," he told EW in 1997.
One year after he was let go from SNL, he returned to host, joking that he'd been asked back because "the show has gotten really bad."
In 1993, he joined SNL costar Adam Sandler in Billy Madison, playing a friend to his off-screen "mentor," as he referenced him to EW.
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Speaking to EW after playing a reporter in the Oscar-nominated 1996 film, Macdonald said while he was hoping to become a "movie star," he missed making live television. "I like doing TV the best because you can do so much. You can only make one or two movies a year."
Macdonald wrote and starred in the 1998 flop, which went on to become a cult classic. Of making a movie versus live TV, he told EW, "In a movie, you do what you think is funny — if it's not funny, you don't have to know."
The comedian's self-titled late-'90s series, which started out as The Norm Show, was called "dispiriting" by EW, though its star obviously had shine. "Norm's talent runs deeper than his attitude," read a review.
A Minute with Stan Hooper
"I wanted to do a show that had no irony in it, [like] The Andy Griffith Show," Macdonald told EW of the 2003 series. His Stan was "continually irritated," he continued. "Charles Osgood or Charles Kuralt always talked about small-town living, and how great America was, but they wouldn't like what they found if they ever actually had to go to a small town," he added of his character, a TV commentator who moved from a big city to — you guessed it — a small town.
Later in his career, Macdonald hosted a slew of series including Sports Show with Norm Macdonald (2011), Norm Macdonald Live (2013 to 2017) and Norm Macdonald Has a Show (2018).
"I love asking my guests to 'tell the folks at home...' " Macdonald recounted to EW in 2018. "The guy will say, 'We were at dress rehearsal...' 'Okay, now explain to the folks at home what a dress rehearsal is.' It makes them have to look at the camera and say, 'Well, this is...' "
From 2010 to 2018, Macdonald had a recurring role as Mike's off-color brother Rusty. "You might want a box of tissues nearby when you watch my attempt at acting," he joked to TV Guide ahead of his series debut.
Last Comic Standing
In 2015, Macdonald took his comedic talents to the judges' table of the NBC reality competition show, where co-judge Keenen Ivory Wayans called him "so much fun because he's so unpredictable." For his part, Macdonald told The Hollywood Reporter, "I love the idea of being a judge because I'm a very judgmental person."
Much of Macdonald's later work was spent behind animated characters on shows like Family Guy and Skylanders Academy most recently, Mike Tyson Mysteries, on which he voiced a carrier pigeon. He also featured prominently in Eddie Murphy's Doctor Dolittle films as Lucky the dog.