Because fans still fondly remember Norm Macdonald’s run on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s, it’s only fitting that the show paid tribute in the season’s first “Weekend Update” segment. As fans of Norm will remember, the late comedian himself served as a solo anchor for SNL‘s “Weekend Update,” the job now held by Colin Jost and Michael Che. On Saturday night’s season 47 premiere, the two took part in honoring Macdonald during the segment.
First, Pete Davidson took a seat to speak about the Met Gala, and he was clearly wearing a shirt with Norm’s face on it. When it came to a close, Jost noted that it was a “bittersweet night” for them, referring to the recent passing of Norm MacDonald. Jost also says Macdonald was the only reason he ever wanted to host “Weekend Update,” and to pay tribute, the show aired a video package of the funniest moments during Norm’s run.
One joke refers to former president Bill Clinton’s stance against gay marriages during his presidency, to which Norm quipped, “What’s more, the president said he’s not too crazy about opposite sex marriages either.” He also joked that a proposed airport in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego was “all part of a plan by city officials to have a huge disaster.” Macdonald also poked fun at a self-proclaimed “snake man” who was arrested after “he climbed right up the side of a high-rise… just like a snake.”
Of course, the Norm tribute wouldn’t be complete without a reference to O.J. Simpson. In the SNL clip, Macdonald brings up the moment when attorney Johnnie Cochran put on the knit cap prosecutors alleged Simpson wore on the night of the murders. Macdonald adds, “Although O.J. may have hurt his case when he suddenly blurted out, ‘Hey, hey, easy with that! That’s my lucky stabbing hat!'”
Norm Macdonald served as a “Weekend Update” anchor on Saturday Night Live from 1994-98. During that time, Macdonald had frequently cracked jokes at O.J.’s expense, and this may have led to the comedian’s abrupt exit from the series. When he was fired in 1998, he theorized that it was because of the consistent jokes about Simpson, as longtime SNL writer Jim Downey, who wrote most of the jokes with Macdonald, was also let go.
Last month, Norm Macdonald passed away at the age of 61 after battling cancer for nine years. Very few people knew of his diagnosis, even among those close to him, as he didn’t want his condition to change the way he was perceived by fans and colleagues. His death came as a big shock and many celebrities paid tribute at the time, including fellow SNL stars Adam Sandler and David Spade.
It’s remarkable how well Norm Macdonald is still fondly remembered for his time on Saturday Night Live. He was truly a one of a kind comedian and he will be forever missed. Fans can look forward to catching Macdonald’s final acting performance in the upcoming third season of The Orville, as he had completed his voiceover work on the show prior to his death. SNL fans can also go back and watch classic episodes of the show with Macdonald on NBCUniversal’s Peacock.