Norm Macdonald: Some of the ‘Saturday Night Live’ Star’s Best TV Moments

Comedian Norm MacDonald became a household name during his tenure on Saturday Night Live. Manning the iconic “Weekend Update” desk from 1994 to 1998, the actor had an entire portfolio of memorable characters he brought to the NBC show. His recent death has many fans revisiting his most famous sketches.

Norm MacDonald during the 'Weekend Update' skit on 'Saturday Night Live'
Norm MacDonald during ‘Weekend Update’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’ | Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Some classics from Norm MacDonald on ‘Weekend Update’

Anchoring SNL’s fan favorite staple “Weekend Update”, MacDonald never held back on giving a punchline. The comedian eschewed any sort of political correctness and seemed to thrive on saying what would be considered out of bounds. A few memorable gems include:

“Monday is Oscar night and three films, The English Patient, Secrets and Lies, and Shine are locked in a tight race in the category, Best Picture there’s not a chance in hell I will ever see,” he said in 1997 of the movie nominations.

“Oprah Winfrey’s longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham has written a new book called, ‘You Can Make it Happen: A Nine-Step Plan For Success,'” MacDonald said during another broadcast. “Step number one, become Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend. Then the other eight are just ‘hang around.'”

“Real estate mogul Donald Trump announced this week that after three and a half years of marriage, he is seeking a divorce from wife, Marla Maples,” MacDonald read from the SNL news desk in 1997. “According to Trump, Maples violated part of their marriage agreement when she decided to turn 30.”

Norm MacDonald’s O.J. Simpson jokes may have gotten him booted from ‘SNL’

The historic trial of O.J. Simpson was at the forefront of the news cycle in 1995 and also received plenty of coverage in comedic circles. Once Simpson’s acquittal was announced, MacDonald shared his opinion of the verdict in his “Weekend Update” report.

“Well, it is finally official,” MacDonald said on SNL, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Murder is legal in the state of California.” 

The actor continued his Simpson-related barbs following the close of the case. Rumors swirled that MacDonald’s jokes about Simpson rubbed former NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer the wrong way due to his friendship with the ex-NFL player. When MacDonald was terminated from SNL, Ohlmeyer denied that it was because of his material on Simpson and stated that the actor just wasn’t funny.

MacDonald had the last laugh when he was asked to host the show in 1999, and worked in a jab regarding his firing in his monologue.

 “How did I go, in a year and a half, from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show?” MacDonald asked the audience. “Then it occurred to me: I haven’t gotten funnier! The show has gotten really bad!”

‘SNL’ fans remember Norm MacDonald’s impersonation of Burt Reynolds

In addition to MacDonald’s stint on “Weekend Update”, his list of impersonations ranged from actors to journalists. His repertoire included Larry King, Andy Rooney, Rod Serling, Clint Eastwood, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, and Mr. Bean.

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Yet playing Burt Reynolds on SNL’s version of Celebrity Jeopardy! remains as a timeless classic, which he debuted in 1996. Repeatedly annoying Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek (insisting to be called ‘Turd Ferguson’, not knowing the simplest of answers), MacDonald’s over-the-top portrayal of the former macho sex symbol became legendary.

MacDonald died on Sept. 14 from cancer.