Moving Pictures
Apr 08, 2010, 06:11AM

The A.V. Club talks to Norm MacDonald

The Norm MacDonald Reality Show, his love for Larry King, and all the times he's told, 'Please, don't joke around.'

Over the course of his career, Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald's wise-cracking, smart-ass humor hasn't always been warmly received. He was deemed "anything but comedy" by the University Of Iowa after an "inappropriate" stand-up performance in 1997 and, later that year, abruptly kicked out of the Weekend Update anchor chair onSaturday Night Live after NBC executives had had their fill of O.J. Simpson, Frank Stallone, and "Michael Jackson is a pedophile" jokes. Despite such objections, MacDonald has resisted pandering to mainstream audiences or compromising his humor to please the companies that hire him--naturally leading him back to mostly performing stand-up at the usual comedy clubs. While most identify MacDonald with his unrivaled impressions of 1996 presidential hopeful Bob Dole and Celebrity Jeopardy! regular Burt Reynolds, his mostly ignored 1998 comedy Dirty Work has won more fans as time has passed, and two sitcoms, ABC's The Norm Show and FOX's A Minute With Stan Hooper, have kept him somewhat in the spotlight. Most recently, MacDonald has been prepping The Norm MacDonald Reality Show for FX, a faux-reality show in which a fictional version of himself experiences a rebirth in his career after he accidentally commits murder. Until then, the comedian has returned to stand-up touring and plays two shows Saturday at Zanies Vernon Hills. Before the shows, The A.V. Club chatted with MacDonald about the future of his career, his fascination with death, and his sparkling reputation as an unpredictable talk-show guest.


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