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Macdonald died last month (14 September) age 61, after a long illness with cancer. He was one of the most popular members of the long-running comedy show, often hosting the show’s ‘Weekend Update’ slot.
These included jokes about Bill Clinton’s marriage, a poorly planned airport and a building climber known as ‘Snakeman”. The montage closed with a clip of Macdonald delivering a pointed joke about OJ Simpson – something the comedian alleged led to him being removed from the show in 1998.
Introducing the tribute, Jost said: “It is a bittersweet night for us tonight. Norm is the reason that I ever wanted to do ‘Weekend Update’ and so tonight we thought we’d turn the last few jokes of ‘Update’ over to Norm.”
Pete Davidson also paid his own tribute, wearing a Norm Macdonald t-shirt during another sketch.
SNL creator Lorne Michaels paid tribute to Macdonald last month on behalf of the show, saying: “All of us here at SNL mourn the loss of Norm Macdonald, one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation.
“There are so many things that we’ll miss about Norm – from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise. But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm.”
Macdonald was a cast member on SNL from 1993-98 and was most well known for the show’s “Weekend Update” segments along with his droll, deadpan style.
He was born on 17 October 1959 in Quebec City, and began his career in the comedy clubs of Canada. He appeared as a contestant on Star Search in 1990 after which he was hired to write for Roseanne Barr’s sitcom Roseanne between 1992-93. He joined SNL in 1993 and remained there for five years.
After leaving SNL in 1998, Macdonald went on to star in his own comedy series, The Norm Show which ran from 1999-2001. He also had a recurring role on The Middle and appeared on numerous late night chat shows over the years including Late Night With David Letterman and Conan.