Conan O'Brien Pens Perfect Tribute in Honor of Norm Macdonald
Actor and comedian Norm Macdonald was beloved by all over the entertainment industry, especially on the late-night circuit as a favorite guest. Former host Conan O'Brien shared a lengthy tribute to celebrate The Orville, Saturday Night Live, and Dirty Work (1998) star, who passed away on September 14th, 2021. "Norm was the most completely original person I have ever met," O'Brien writes, listing example after example of how Macdonald vibed on a different level from the rest of us. "He was Mark Twain if Mark Twain was obsessed with prison rape and crack whores." In case you missed it when it first hit the news cycle, here's a look at some of what O'Brien had to share:
Good morning. I'd like to begin by telling you the last words Norm Macdonald spoke on this earth. He said "When I go, make sure they have a memorial for me. See to it that it is part of a much larger festival promoting a streaming service. Arrange it hastily and make sure you have it early in the morning. Make sure that many of the tributes are on videotape and that Rob Schneider is featured prominently. And finally, hold it in a theater in some part of Hollywood frequented by male prostitutes." Norm, this is for you.
Of course I do want to thank Norm's family and [longtime manager] Lori Jo [Hoekstra] for being here today and giving us all a chance to celebrate the funniest man any of us have ever met. I want to be clear, I am not here this morning to eulogize or memorialize Norm. My motives are selfish. I'm here because I want, finally, to understand Norm. Norm was the most completely original person I have ever met. He didn't look like anyone else, talk like anyone else, or follow many of the basic principles of comedy. He lived in his own, strange world populated by hobos, French Canadians, cardsharps, trappers, a pig with a wooden leg, farmers, hooligans, and, for reasons no one will ever understand, Frank Stallone. His patter was an insane mix of folksy, rural phrases — a wandering, genteel yarn-spinner from the backwoods, and all of this masked the fact that he was completely fearless and shockingly blunt. He was Mark Twain, if Mark Twain was obsessed with prison rape and crack whores.
When Norm died there was an explosion of grief and appreciation, but everything I read was deeply unsatisfying. "One of the greats, a true original, one of a kind … ." That can and will be said about every comedian at this festival. I know, because I'll be the one saying it after everyone speaking today is dead. That's right, I plan to outlive every comic in this room and I will bury you all with hollow praise. I will dance on your grave, Nealon.
You can out O'Brien's complete tribute in The Washington Post here. And it feels only right to include one of many great moments from O'Brien and Macdonald's late-night times together: