Norm Macdonald | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Norm Macdonald

Norman Gene Macdonald, standup comedian, actor, writer, producer (born 17 October 1963 in Quebec City, QC; died 14 September 2021). Norm Macdonald was known for his irreverent humor and low-key delivery, and particularly for his work on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Macdonald enrolled in Algonquin College's Broadcasting-Television program in Ontario, though he did not complete the course. He toured Canada doing standup comedy and wrote for The Dennis Miller Show (1992) and Roseanne (1992–93) before finding fame on Saturday Night Live. As a regular cast member (1993–98), he did memorable impersonations of such celebrities as Burt Reynolds and Bob Dole. Macdonald also spent three years (1994–97) as the anchor of SNL’s long-running SNLfake news” feature, “Weekend Update.”

Macdonald starred as a former hockey player banned from the league and doing community service as a social worker to keep himself from jail in the sitcom The Norm Show (1999–2001), which he co-created. Notable feature film work included a lead role in the comedy Dirty Work (1998), co-written by Macdonald, and a lead in Screwed (2000) opposite Dave Chappelle. Former SNL castmates often appear in each other’s films, and Macdonald has been in several with Adam Sandler, including Billy Madison (1995) and Grown Ups (2010). His unique voice was that of Lucky the dog in the Dr. Dolittle films starring Eddie Murphy.

Macdonald was a lifelong sports fan and often incorporated that perspective into his humour. In 2011, he hosted Sports Show with Norm Macdonald on Comedy Central. He also made many guest appearances on TV series, including returning characters on NBC’s popular My Name is Earl and ABC’s The Middle. Macdonald toured widely, performed in his own TV specials and released several comedy albums. He was included in the Comedy Central miniseries 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.