One of modern comedy’s greatest talents has performed one last stand-up special before he dies – and it’s been kept under wraps until now.
Norm Macdonald, who died last September at the age of 61, privately shot an unreleased one-hour special.
The famous Saturday Night Live The actor-comedian known for his deadpan childbirth was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but kept his illness a secret. He was working on new material for a Netflix special when he had to check into the hospital in the summer of 2020.
“His test results weren’t good, so in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before he had a procedure, he wanted to record that just in case – as he said – things went wrong. south,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner, recounts The Hollywood Reporter. “It was his intention to have a special to share if anything happened.”
The result was a special shot standing in Macdonald’s living room. The actor filmed the entire hour in one take. “It looks great and the material is fantastic,” says Hoekstra.
In the end, Macdonald did very well with the medical procedure, and the footage was literally tossed in a closet. But Macdonald fell very ill a year later, before his TV special could be properly filmed in front of an audience. “He ended up getting sicker last August and September and he remembered that he shot that and asked me to find it so he could watch it,” Hoekstra says. “He ended up watching it before he died.” Macdonald even suggested a characteristically self-deprecating title for the hour: Nothing in particular.
Netflix will release the surprise program — Norm Macdonald: Nothing special‚ May 30.
The stand-up hour is probably a first in the world of comedy – a final post-mortem joke and a testimonial from a comedian who relished defiant dissent. “From the various conversations I’ve had within our circle of friends in acting and production, no one has heard of a comparison to this [situation] – not even close,” says Hoekstra, who in addition to Nothing in particular, also produced Macdonald’s ABC sitcom Standard and his Netflix talk show Norm Macdonald has a show
The program will include clips of Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, David Spade and Molly Shannon discussing Macdonald at the recent Netflix Is a Joke Fest.
“It makes me so happy to be able to share it, but also so sad that we can’t share it with him,” Hoekstra says. “He didn’t do this for the shock that it existed. He shot it because he loved his material and was so proud of his material. He worked so hard and it would have really bothered him to have done all that work and not been able to show everyone. He did it for stand-up. I just hope people appreciate that he did that.