Norm Macdonald looked death in the face and laughed

I was devastated by the news that the stand-up comedian and former Saturday Night Live host Norm Macdonald has died, at the age of 61. But when I read reports that said he’d been “battling cancer”, I had to laugh. “In the old days, a man could just get sick and die,” MacDonald said in his career-best 2011 special Me Doing Standup. “Now, they have to wage a battle.”

He went on to describe his Uncle Bert’s “courageous battle” with cancer – lying in a hospital bed with a drip in his arm watching Matlock. His point obviously wasn’t to mock Bert, but rather the inadequacy of the mealy mouthed words we use when we talk about – or try to avoid talking about – the inevitable end. “The reason I don’t like it is that in the old days they’d go: ‘Hey, that old man died,’” he went on. “Now they say: ‘He lost his battle’. That’s no way to end your life! What a loser that guy was, the last thing he did was lose! He was waging a brave battle, but then at the end I guess he got kind of cowardly. The bowel cancer, it got brave. You’ve got to give it to the bowel cancer!”

Continue reading at The Independent.