Sunday, August 02, 2009

A True Comedic Icon
Growing up in Ottawa, deep into the winter months of High
School, there wasn't much to do on a saturday night when you
weren't 'of age' (and even if you were, chances are you didn't
want to venture out into the blustery, -30 winter night.)
Those were the days of hardcore SNL watching. Over the years,
SNL has seeded some fairly original comedians, but I would
have to say that Norm Macdonald takes the cake as one of
the most odd, unpredictable, hilariously awkward comedians
the show has ever produced.

Norm Macdonald has made awkwardness within comedy
an art form. With a slight glint in his eye or even by saying the
most mundane word, he had a way of making others around
him and the audience constantly ask 'What the hell is this
guy doing?'

Norm was one of those guys who could make everyone else
on the set (or whoever he was working with in a segment)
extremely hysterical. It was obvious in watching SNL that
Norm also didn't have much of a penchant for 'sticking to
a script' and that he would ad-lib and improvise on the
show frequently. He once even cursed out an NBC
executive by name when he was a guest on Letterman
(shortly after he was fired from SNL). I can remember seeing
him on Conan O'Brien and all he did, for his entire interview,
was talk about 'Kitchener Leslie' (a railway transit cop who
used to bust his uncle who was apparently 'a train-riding
hobo' of the Greater Toronto Area).

Once, my brother's friend Al went to see SNL in New York
on a night when Jim Carrey was hosting. Apparently, Al
somehow got backstage and bumped into Norm for a bit and
started talking about Ottawa. Norm then told Al to come by
later for the cast party. Al was pretty pumped, naturally, and
came back after the show but was stopped by security. At
that moment, Norm walked right by with two girls on either
arm. As Al yelled at him, Norm apparently smiled at him
and just shrugged as if to say 'Tough luck, kid.'

You could always tell that there was substance to Norm
and that, most likely, was what got him into the most
amount of trouble within a massive network like NBC or
FOX. In a recent roast of Bob Saget (who incidentally
directed Norm's first feature comedy film 'Dirty Work'),
you can see this substance in both his comedy style and
his praise for a fellow inspiration. Norm Macdonald is
a man about comedy - a man about Canada - and a man
who has inspired me to always break the 'norms'.

Be sure to watch the full clip of his odd roast segment

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