Norm Macdonald’s Nothing Special is quite the opposite

The death of Norm Macdonald last year came as a shock to almost everybody but him. The stand-up and former Saturday Night Live cast member died from acute leukemia in September 2021, but had been diagnosed nine years prior and made the decision to keep the information from anyone but close friends and family. During that time the comedian enjoyed a career resurgence, releasing a Netflix special, Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery, in 2017 and hosting chat show Norm Macdonald Has a Show on the same streaming service in 2018. He was working on another hour-long stand-up special when Covid hit in 2020, and prior to undergoing a medical procedure decided to tape the material himself because, as he told those close to him, he “didn’t want to leave anything on the table in case things went south.”

Although the operation itself was a success, Macdonald died before he was able to record the show in front of an audience. All we have, then, is what he made at home, headphones on and speaking directly to the camera, as if calling in to history’s most entertaining Zoom meeting. On occasion he’s interrupted by his ringing phone (“Hello! I’ve got to phone you back on account of I’m doing a special on the TV!”) and his own barking dog. He handles the canine heckler superbly. “The thing is, you’ve got to be ready,” he says as he resumes his material without missing a beat. “You’ve got to be ready for anything this world throws at you.”

Continue reading at The Independent