David Letterman, Dave Chappelle, Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien, Molly Shannon and David Spade shared memories and reflected on the death of their friend Norm MacDonald at the end of the late comedian’s new Netflix special, “Norm MacDonald: Nothing in particular”.
After watching a screening of MacDonald’s performance, which was recorded at his home, friends of the late “Saturday Night Live” star discussed his impact on the comedy world. During their chat, several of them admitted they had no idea the star, who died in September 2021 after a nine-year battle with cancer, was ill.
“I don’t know how everyone felt here, but Norm was sick for quite a while, and he got even sicker and I didn’t know and I spoke to so many people that I was sure know,” O’Brien said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t know.’ … He didn’t want anyone to know and so, being the self-centered person that I am, I think a lot of us, we thought, ‘Is he mad at me? Is there something I’ve done? because we kept trying to get him back and we couldn’t. He couldn’t do it because I don’t think he was up for it. He wouldn’t answer questions about maybe, you know, his looks or anything, but I remembered when he went, everyone in the community was – we all thought we were the only ones not knowing, and we were so upset that we didn’t get a chance to tell him what he meant to us.
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Chappelle also said he didn’t know MacDonald was sick.
“The last time I saw him was at the Comedy Store, and he was unusually emotional. Like when we broke up, he was. And there’s a picture of him and me and the back of Chris Rock’s head – I put it in my special,” Chappelle said. “That photo – it’s at the end of ‘The Closer’ – was the last I saw of it. He approached, he got behind me, and I realized he was posing for the photo, looking back, like a gift. It was a very appropriate goodbye.
Shannon said MacDonald seemed to have “urgency” for the words he shared with her when they crossed paths for the 40th anniversary show of “Saturday Night Live.”
“I saw him at ‘SNL’ 40th, and I didn’t know he had cancer or anything, but I remember as soon as he saw me, he was like, ‘I love you, Molly. He just let it slip right away,” she said. “I just had a kind of feeling, I could feel he had this kind of urgency to say exactly what was on his mind at the time. … And I was just like, ‘Oh, something’s different with Norm.’ »
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Sandler and Spade discussed a stand-up tour they did with MacDonald and Rob Schneider, with Sandler noting that their friend expressed his emotions during the ride.
“He got a lot emotional,” Sandler said. “Like on the whole tour, all of a sudden he had tears in his eyes and stuff and he was like, ‘This is wonderful,'” Sandler recalled. “Like just the tour itself and like hanging out and we had dinners and breakfasts and shit – and he was over – he would be so much fun to see. He had so much energy to hang on to.