Norm Macdonald: Honored, Remembered by Late-Night Hosts Past and Present

As previously reported in sad detail, Norm Macdonald died on Tuesday after a nine-year battle against cancer.

He was 61 years old.

The former Saturday Night Live cast member was a beloved stand-up comedian and, for a brief period of time, also a sitcom star.

But Macdonald perhaps left his most ever-lasting mark in a slightly different manner: He may have been the funniest talk show guest of all-time.

As such, it was tragically appropriate yesterday for a number of talk show hosts (past and present) to pay tribute to Macdonald in the wake of his passing, either on television or via social media.

“I started at SNL in 2001, and I remember one time, Norm walked back into the studio to visit,” recalled Seth Meyers during Tuesday’s Late Night.

“I don’t remember how old his son was at the time, but his son was young and someone said, ‘Hey Norm, how’s being a dad?’

“And he said, ‘It’s going great. Still no abductions.’ That’s the first thing I ever heard him say in-person.”

Added Meyers:

“You just felt this connection to him and that ability to just stare into an audience, unblinkingly telling the jokes that he believed in.

He proclaimed that Macdonald was “the gold standard” for comedy and “he will continue to be the gold standard.”

Stephen Colbert, meanwhile, shared a story from the time he served as a guest writer for Saturday Night Live back in the 1990s.

“Norm goes, ‘Come sit with us. Come sit with us,’ and I ended up writing for Weekend Update the whole time I was there,” Colbert said on The Late Show.

“He is, in my opinion, the greatest host of Weekend Update they have had. Not to take away from anybody else, but he was my cup of tea.”

Just like Meyers, Colbert praised the way in which Macdonald didn’t even care of a joke bombed — he just liked telling jokes that he believed to be funny.

Colbert concluded:

“I wish I were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about Norm Macdonald having died. But the only comedian I know who could get away with a ‘Norm Macdonald is dead’ joke is Norm Macdonald.

“And I’m going to miss the fact that there’s nobody left on the planet who can do that.

“And the comedy world is poorer for it today.”

James Corden also honored Macdonald’s memory during his Late Late Show opening monologue, referring to him as “an absolute comedy legend.”

“All Norm ever wanted to do was to make us laugh, and he was absolutely brilliant at it.

“There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged any time I got to be in his orbit,” Corden said.

“He leaves us as one of the all-time great comics, perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television, I think.”

Said Jimmy Fallon, who also starred on Saturday Night Live and also anchored Weekend Update:

“He was a comic’s comic and everybody loved him, top to bottom. He will be missed.”

Tweeted Jimmy Kimmel:

“Norm didn’t just make us laugh, he made us laugh hard. Rest well, you crazy bastard.”

David Letterman, to whom Macdonald expressed extreme enthusiasm after his final appearance on Letterman’s talk show years ago, paid tribute on Twitter as follows:

“In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers.

“Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you.

“I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze. (I’m trying to avoid using the phrase, “twinkle in his eyes”). He was a lifetime Cy Young winner in comedy.

“Gone, but impossible to forget.”

Jon Stewart Tweeted, “No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald. Hilarious and unique. F**k cancer.”

And Conan O’Brien added:

“Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny.

“I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today.”

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