Speed Reads


Norm Macdonald, comedian and SNL star, dies after privately battling cancer

Norm Macdonald, the legendary comedian and former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchor, has died at 61 after a private battle with cancer.

Macdonald's management firm confirmed his death on Tuesday to Deadline. His producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline Macdonald battled cancer for almost a decade but wanted to keep his health issues 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 joined SNL in 1993 and memorably served as the show's Weekend Update anchor for three seasons. He parted ways with SNL in 1998. Macdonald went on to host a popular video podcast, Norm Macdonald Live, and a Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show. He was also known for his roles in films like Dirty Work and the sitcom The Norm Show, and prior to joining SNL, Macdonald wrote for Roseanne

Macdonald was often cited by his fellow comedians as a major influence, especially because of his famously deadpan delivery. In one much-discussed bit of his, Macdonald broke from expectations at the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget in 2008 by, at an event known for shock humor, reading a series of clean, groan-worthy dad jokes that critic Nathan Rabin recalled were "so exquisitely hokey and unfunny that they cross over and become devastatingly funny." 

Comedians quickly began paying tribute to Macdonald on Tuesday, with former Daily Show host Jon Stewart writing, "No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald. Hilarious and unique." Seth Rogen also remembered Macdonald as "one of the the all time greats," writing, "We lost a comedy giant today."