I can pull any number of Norm Macdonald clips that have deeply influenced me. His Bob Saget Roast act, hosting the ESPYs, his Conan bits, his run on Weekend Update. But I’m going to focus on the clip that affected me the most.
My grandfather died my first year of standup. It was absolutely devastating. I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t know how anything could be funny again. Then I saw Norm open his special, released the same month my grandfather died, with 10 minutes of material on death and dying. I suddenly felt it was okay to be funny again. And I could be funny about even the most devastating things.
Though he said not greatest of stuff on Twitter later on in his life, the influence he had on comedy was incalculable. And to me, that far outweighs the bad.
RIP Norm. One of the greats.