Former Weekend Update host Norm MacDonald brings sarcastic brand of comedy to the Vilar Performing Arts Center |

Former Weekend Update host Norm MacDonald brings sarcastic brand of comedy to the Vilar Performing Arts Center

By Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to the Daily
Norm MacDonald has a Netflix show, “Norm MacDonald Has a Show."
Special to the Daily

Comedian Norm MacDonald is coming to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Before filling up the seats at the auditorium, here are some facts you might not know about the former Weekend Update host, sourced from Reddit, IMDb, The New York Times and the Vilar’s communications about the show.

Born: 1959 in Quebec City, Canada

Trademark style: sarcastic, monotone, outspoken, brutally honest, humor derived from bluntly pointing out what others are unwilling to with a disregard for social formality. 

Known as: A comedian’s comedian

First comedy job: Writing for “The Dennis Miller Show.” Miller asked potential candidates to send in 50-100 jokes. Norm sat down with a copy of USA Today, wrote 100 topical jokes. He said they all sucked but the one about Jeffrey Dahmer, so he sent that one in. Miller thought it was so funny, he gave him a job.

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The Jeffrey Dahmer joke: “Jeffrey Dahmer went on trial today for murdering and cannibalizing 15 men. But I don’t like his chances after hearing what his defense strategy is going to be: ‘They started it.’” That joke led to writing for “Roseanne” then being on “Saturday Night Live.”

Best known for: Anchoring the “Weekend Update” segment of “Saturday Night Live” from 1994 to 1998.

Fired: From “Saturday Night Live” in 1998 by NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer, allegedly because Ohlmeyer was a close friend of O.J. Simpson, and resented MacDonald’s jokes about Simpson’s murder trial, long after the former football star was acquitted. Nevertheless, MacDonald continued with the string of jokes long after he left “Saturday Night Live.” Despite being fired, he hosted the show a year later.

High praise: Since Chevy Chase left “Saturday Night Live,” the only person he believes has done Weekend Update right is MacDonald.

Norm MacDonald was one of the first to join a now-elite group of “Saturday Night Live” cast members to host the popular Weekend Update segment.
Special to the Daily

MacDonald’s quote to TV Guide Magazine in 1997: “I would love to stay at SNL forever. But you can’t stay in the same place. People think you’re a loser.”

David Letterman called him: The funniest man in the world.

Comedy Central named him: One of the top 100 comedians of all time in a list.

His book: “Based on a True Story: A Memoir,” published in 2016 is actually a novel that recasts the events of his life as a drug-addled sociopath desperately recycling the same joke. 

His guarantee: No two shows will ever be identical (and, he retires all material he has used on specials).

Films: Starred in “Dirty Work” and “Billy Madison.” He currently hosts “Norm MacDonald Has a Show” on Netflix.

In his free time: He goes down what he calls “rabbit holes” on YouTube or watches sports.

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