Norm Macdonald faces death in posthumous Netflix special that only he can

We should never be seen posthumous canon mcdonald special Eight months after the comedian, this Memorial Day hits Netflix A very personal premature death from cancer.

exist It is nothing special, This was shot in the summer of 2020 without an audience, and MacDonald looked more haggard than in recent years. In a nondescript room, wearing headphones and holding a handheld microphone, he handed him his unfinished material with a long shot.

The jokes are punctuated by the barking of off-screen dogs. When his phone rang halfway, he picked it up. “I have to call you back because I’m doing something special,” he said into the phone with a sly smirk.

Behind the camera is MacDonald’s longtime production partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, one of the very few people in his life who knew he was dying.

“Norm worked very hard on an hour of new material and would love to see it,” Hoekstra said in a statement about the project. “Although this version of It is nothing special It wasn’t initially a final product, and COVID restrictions prevented him from filming in front of an audience. We want to make sure his fans see this very funny moment. He left this gift for all of us. “

The hour was terribly funny at times, and nowhere near the brilliance of McDonald’s having the opportunity to fully complete it in front of an audience and then record it in the proper venue. But this unusual format gives us a glimpse into his journey as a comedian and his end-of-life mentality.

There’s been some surprisingly progressive material about reparations for Native Americans and even the #MeToo movement — especially given that allegations that surfaced after his death— and a lengthy digression on topics like cannibalism, which few other comics do.But there are also early parts mocking the idea of ​​transgender, sure to alienate some fans Same way Dave Chappell with Ricky Gervais Controversy on Netflix in recent months.

That joke, when I saw him perform at the New York Comedy Festival in the fall of 2019, a version of MacDonald was also in his scene, centered on how his father’s outdated views on gender would be understood. He said sarcastically that he just wanted to show “how hateful we were back then”. Noting his father did “good things” like fighting Hitler in WWII, he said he also had an “evil side”, which he described as “he had this crazy idea that having a cock had something to do with being a boy. “

“Nowadays, we can’t even accept the idea,” he said blankly. “But people did think that way in the past. Isn’t that something?”

from his early “Weekend Update” anchor saturday night liveMacDonald has always been more interested in shocking audiences with his unexpected punchlines on hot-button issues than sharing intimate details about himself, so much so that he wrote an entire “memoir” titled Based on true story Made up of fake anecdotes about his life. Here, he joins in jokes about an imaginary wife named “Ruth” and, in his words, tackles hot topics like “systemic racism,” while laughing at what anyone should tell the comedian Seek ideas for political views.

Here, he joins in jokes about an imaginary wife named “Ruth” and, in his words, tackles hot topics like “systemic racism,” while laughing at what anyone should tell the comedian Seek ideas for political views.

“When you’re a comedian, they want you to know something,” he said, a relatively new phenomenon he experienced as an interviewer —like this——In the Trump era, he began to ask him to get involved in politics. He explained that he would rather not pay close attention to politics “because you only get one life”.

However, MacDonald did start to face his own death as he said he no longer “dyed his hair black” because he didn’t want to “die and be surprised”. He staged a scene where God told him, “I mean, I turned your hair white, what do you think that’s going on? I’m telling you, for God’s sake, take your business Tidy up.”

He described himself as a Christian but said one of his “biggest fears” was that he “chosen the wrong religion”. Macdonald imagined dying, going to the afterlife and saying, “Ah, it’s you! I thought it was someone else. I should have been killing apostates. Ah, what are you going to do then?”

Towards the end of the set, MacDonald worries about making the special too “frustrating” before transitioning to some material about writing a “living will” and some extremely dark jokes about how much his own family would be eager to pull if he Eventually fell into a coma, then plug should not directly admit his cancer.

Ultimately, he ends with a surprisingly sweet joke about his mother Ferne, whose son outlived hers and was with him in his final moments. Still, it ends with the punchline, “I don’t want to suck her tits!”

After the screen went black, the viewers saw the immediate reactions of six of MacDonald’s closest friends and admirers who gathered to watch the special earlier this month: David Letterman, Dave Chappell, Molly Shannon, Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler, and David Spade.

Norm MacDonald: Nothing special: David Letterman, Molly Shannon, Dave Chappell, Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Netflix is ​​a joke festival.

Tommaso Bodie/Netflix

They first marveled at MacDonald’s ability to grab attention without an audience present. “It’s not strictly a talk show, that’s another story,” said an awe-inspiring Letterman, adding that the “great gift” would have been to watch MacDonald perform the jokes in front of a crowd.

Sandler shared that, for him, the special is more of a “gentle norm” of hanging out on a tour bus after the show. “It looks like he’s just trying to get everything out,” he observes, before he no longer has a chance.

“My favorite comedy, it’s counterintuitive, but it feels safe, like everything’s going to be alright,” Chappelle added. “This guy reconciled his death in a weird way, very funny. Ironically, he’s not with us anymore. We’re sitting in the aftermath of Norm Macdonald watching him unbelievably alive .”

It wasn’t long before the comics began recalling the unique experience of being friends with MacDonald, who knew how to make them laugh when they were down, but has become increasingly estranged in recent years. Although some of them were close to him, each of them revealed that they had no idea how ill he was in the months leading up to his death.

“I thought, maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t know,” O’Brien said at one point. “But he didn’t want anyone to know,” he said when news of MacDonald’s death broke in the fall of 2021. “We were so upset that we didn’t have a chance to tell him what he meant to us.”

They both agreed that MacDonald would not “tolerate” such emotional emotional support while he was still alive. However, his final special shows that even in his darkest jokes, there is someone who knows what it means to love and be loved.

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