Norm MacDonald

The neglect of Mr. Macdonald’s religion is more than a mere biographical oversight. For it is by viewing him as a somewhat idiosyncratic Christian comedian that we can best take stock of Mr. Macdonald and his comic legacy.

His comedy was remarkably free of malice, and in recent years it was marked by startling displays of mercy and humility.

By the end of his life, Mr. Macdonald seemed to have abandoned even his well-known animus against O.J. Simpson. “All he’s guilty of to me,” he said on a Comedy Central program in 2019, was of being “the greatest rusher in the history of the N.F.L. Maybe I was the greatest rusher — to judgment.”

Matthew Walther, on the late Norm MacDonald.

Freedom from malice, fullness of mercy and humility as marks of a Christian. What a concept!

I absolutely did not follow MacDonald’s career. That wasn’t a boycott; I just didn’t know he existed until he died. And his existential shaggy-dog "moth" joke did nothing for me.

But I like the hearsay that he was free of malice, full of mercy, and humble. And I definitely like this:

The closest he ever came to referring to his disease was in a stand-up bit that mocked the fashionable rhetoric of “battling” cancer: “I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer dies at the same time. That’s not a loss. That’s a draw."


You can read most of my more impromptu stuff at here. It should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly, should you want to make a habit of it.