Seth Meyers remembers Norm Macdonald’s favorite thing about ‘SNL’

A man in a tuxedo standing before a microphone on a stage
Comedian Norm Macdonald attends the 2012 Comedy Awards in New York.
(Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

Late-night TV hosts Jimmy Fallon, James Corden and Seth Meyers all paid tribute Tuesday to fellow comedian Norm Macdonald, who died that morning at age 61 after a long, private battle with cancer.

“We have lost an absolute comedy legend,” Corden said on “The Late Late Show.” “Norm Macdonald passed away today, far too soon, far too young, after a nine-year battle with cancer — a battle that Norm never told anybody about because all Norm ever wanted to do was to make us laugh.

“And he was absolutely brilliant at it. There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged any time I got to be in his orbit. He leaves us as one of the all-time great comics — perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television.”


Norm Macdonald, who was a writer, performer and ‘Weekend Update’ anchor on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in the ’90s, died Tuesday morning of cancer.

Sept. 14, 2021

Best known for his work as a writer, performer and host of “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s, Macdonald told countless enduring jokes over the years — several of which were remembered fondly by his colleagues.

“Do you remember he did a whole bit about Mickey Mouse?” Corden said. “And it came from nowhere, I think. It wasn’t, like, a planned bit. And he said, ‘Mickey Mouse is huge at Disney World. If you see Mickey Mouse at Disney World, you’re like, “Kids, go on! Go and get him! ...” You see that same Mickey Mouse in a 7-Eleven, you are holding your kids back like, whoa.‘”

On “Late Night,” Meyers remembered the immense influence Macdonald had on his approach to anchoring “Weekend Update,” which Meyers helmed about a decade after Macdonald completed his three-season tenure in 1997.

In tributes to Norm Macdonald, who died Tuesday, Seth MacFarlane said there was ‘nobody funnier’ and Conan O’Brien called him ‘uncompromisingly funny.’

Sept. 14, 2021

“One of the hardest parts about doing ‘Update’ for me was not telling every joke the way I thought Norm would tell it — like I had to beat Norm’s delivery out of me,” Meyers said.

“It still sneaks in all the time, but I really had to keep an eye on it. And I told him how hard that part was to me, and he said, ‘I’m so glad to hear you say that because my son was watching you on “Update” and said to me, “You talk like Seth Meyers.” ... He said, ‘Oh, no, my son doesn’t know how time works.’”

The former “Saturday Night Live” player and writer also shared a gem about Macdonald‘s perspective on the longrunning sketch-comedy program.


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Aug. 17, 2021

“He told me once that his favorite thing about ‘SNL’ is ... it’s the like the last place on TV where you can bomb,” Meyers said. “If the show was bad, you could literally just go out there and bomb, and that both made that level of difficulty something that I think he really respected, and also ... he just didn’t care if he was bombing.

“If he thought the jokes were good, he had exactly as much fun telling them to a dead audience than to one who appreciated them. And, I think, for so many of us, we came up watching Norm, and we thought that [we] were on the inside with him.”

Toward the end of his “Tonight Show” monologue, Fallon recalled meeting Macdonald for the first time at a hotel in Los Angeles, where the entertainer was having breakfast with fellow comedy legend Bob Newhart.

“I go, ‘Hi, my name is Jimmy Fallon. I love you so much. You’re the best,’” Fallon said. “He looked at me. He goes, ‘The best? This is Bob Newhart.’ ... He was a comic’s comic, and everyone absolutely loved him, top to bottom, and he will be missed.”