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SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:26 pm

Show with Norm MacDonald

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110331/norm-macdonal-new-show-110331

Date: Thursday Mar. 31, 2011 11:22 AM ET
TORONTO — It's been nearly 14 years now since Norm Macdonald was fired from what he figured was the job of his lifetime.

The Quebec City-born comic had been in the midst of an acclaimed run as host of the venerable "Saturday Night Live" news segment, "Weekend Update," when he was abruptly dropped -- reportedly because one NBC executive in particular didn't like Macdonald, nor the way the comedian savagely joked about O.J. Simpson.

After being ousted from "SNL," he acted in a couple relatively short-lived sitcoms and took small roles in a variety of movies. But he says he's never felt as comfortable onscreen as he did while slouched in the anchor's chair of "Weekend Update."

"It was fun to do 'Weekend Update' because it was the closest thing to standup," Macdonald said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he now lives.

"So, man, I always wanted to do something like that. Like, I never wanted to act, or fall in love with a girl, or something like that. I was always trying to get back to some sort of a joke concept show."

It took him a while, but he thinks he's found what he was looking for with "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald," which premieres April 13 on the Comedy Network.

Macdonald calls the program a "'Weekend Update'-type show for sports." He says he settled on the idea because he doesn't know anything about politics but loves sports.

(He says he's still a passionate hockey fan even though he can't locate the NHL on TV in California, lamenting: "It's very hard to find on TV, (but) you can find people jumping their minibikes over dirt.")

The show will feature Macdonald's signature bone-dry comic take, this time applied to pro sports news. He says the show will feature guest spots from other comics and possibly some athlete interviews, though he's not keen on doing too many of those.

"That's a tough interview," he says. "First of all, athletes have nothing to gain by being interviewed, you know? It's not like entertainers where they come with some story and they all want to be loved. Athletes, they don't care.

"So you gotta find funny ones, you know?" he adds, noting that Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin is "hysterical."

"Sometimes if you do a comedy interview with an athlete, they just laugh the whole time, like, 'You crazy!"'

In a happy coincidence for Macdonald, he will be on TV with another project this weekend -- a new comedy special entitled "Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Stand-Up," airing on Comedy Network on Saturday night.

The very existence of the special, in fact, is significant for Macdonald. It's only the second time he's consented to having his act recorded for his own TV special (the first was a half-hour HBO special he did early in his career).

With his goofy grin and slurred, sly delivery, it's been easy for some to miss Macdonald's subtly incisive wit. And given a string of film and TV appearances that even Macdonald himself has occasionally disparaged, it might be surprising to some just how seriously he takes comedy.

Unlike most other well-known stand-up comics, he resists recording himself onstage because he doesn't like the idea of other people editing his work.

And where most comics do a variation of the same act every night on the road, Macdonald likes to constantly shuffle the comedic deck.

"There's a couple reasons I can't do it. I don't have the memory. (And) I'm not a strong enough actor to pretend I'm still interested in something I thought up like a year earlier. 'Cause I've sometimes tried ... and I've lost all interest. I don't even remember why it's funny."

"To me, if you say the same thing all the time, over and over again, I think you'd go insane. It would be hard not to look at that as a completely wasted life."

While editing his special -- recorded in San Francisco at the beginning of the year -- Macdonald did notice a slightly morbid bent to the material.

"I am fascinated with death probably (the way) other people are fascinated with sex. ... Obviously, I don't talk about politics or religion or sex -- really, everybody yaps about that nonsense, but nobody wants to talk about death, ever."

Macdonald has now been performing stand-up for roughly 20 years, and he's evolved.

How? Well, primarily he no longer has any fear of bombing.

Of course, that was evident to anyone who saw Macdonald's courageous set at the "Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget," which aired in 2008. Typically, these roasts serve as a buffet of raunchy, unconscionably mean-spirited barbs aimed at both the guest of honour and an assortment of D-list celebs conveniently seated onstage (they may as well be floundering inside a barrel).

But Macdonald took a typically off-beat approach to the affair.

Instead of conjuring crowd-pleasing cruelty, he reeled off a series of intentionally unfunny, old-fashioned digs -- "Susie Essman is famous for being a vegetarian. Hey, she may be a vegetarian, but she's still full of baloney in my book!" -- that simultaneously earned him the scorn of puzzled audience members and the astonished admiration from viewers at home (and around the web) who got the joke.

"The thing about the roast is, I didn't wanna do the roast," he says with his typical deadpan delivery.

"I don't like insulting people and stuff. But Bob Saget is my friend, and he kept yapping at me to do it. So then finally, the night before, I agreed to it ... and then, I talked to the producer, and he said: 'You should be shocking.' So then I said, all right, I'll be shocking."

"It was an experiment for me, 'cause I was wondering if I could do a comedy without funny jokes, and without the delivery, and then all there'd be is context."

"So it made me laugh because I was staring into the angry eyes of Alan Thicke the entire time. The only thing that struck me odd about it was that afterwards people thought like I was ... crazy or something."

"They're so savage," he added of the roasts. "I remember someone telling me in the William Shatner roast, they had to warn the comics not to mention his wife who had drowned ... Oh my good lord, you had to tell them that? Aren't people like human beings who would know that?"

"(The jokes) that are strictly homophobic or strictly about how old a person is, or maybe they had some sickness, those things are to me offensive."

While April will mark Macdonald's return to television, he had hoped it would happen much earlier.

For years now, he's been trying to develop a series called "The Norm Macdonald Reality Show," wherein he plays himself as a desperate comic whose deteriorating job prospects inspire him to star in a reality series.

He initially hoped the series would air on FX. Along the way, the network asked him to work with another writer -- "which they always do," he sighs -- and the project fell apart. He now hopes it can get off the ground with the Independent Film Channel.

"I'm trying to find just some place that will give me complete creative freedom and I don't even care about the money."

It seems as though that's been the central struggle of Macdonald's career -- he won't waver from what he thinks is funny. If this flurry of activity from Macdonald -- who has also landed a new gig as host of "High Stakes Poker" -- amounts to a comeback from the comedian, it will have happened strictly on his terms.

But while Macdonald acknowledges that his stubbornness might have prevented him from making more money or building his profile in Hollywood, he says he wasn't really interested in those pursuits to begin with.

"I don't really need very much money, 'cause I don't do anything. I think up stupid jokes and that doesn't cost any money. I don't drink or do drugs, and I don't go to parties, I'm a bit agoraphobic and stuff."

"All my life's about is cracking up people and them cracking me up and trying not to think about dying. That doesn't cost very much money.

"With the computer and stuff, the difference between a rich guy and a poor guy, to me, is nothing. Because I don't like big houses, I don't drive a car, so you know, I just live in a small apartment and I have my computer, which is really cool."
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Garrett on Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:15 pm

He's a funny guy. Too bad I dislike sports.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:17 pm

I think I could care a little bit, enough to laugh, if he's the host.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:00 pm

I'm not reading that whole thing, but I'm crazy excited. Anything involving Norm Macdonald is terrific!

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Whitey Bulger on Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:15 pm

I remember that weekend update after the oj simpson verdict. They showed oj's photo and norm says "murder is now legal in the united states."

I laughed

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:09 pm

Did anyone catch the Comedy Central special?
We were in the crowd. Such a great show!
They cut out a couple bits, one about gay pride and the other about uhh something.

Yes! I love that those clips are up on youtube! His OJ stuff was the best!
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Garrett on Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:08 pm

his stand up was pretty stellar.

I'm glad he's doing his own thing.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:51 am

ale wrote:Did anyone catch the Comedy Central special?
We were in the crowd. Such a great show!
They cut out a couple bits, one about gay pride and the other about uhh something.

Yes! I love that those clips are up on youtube! His OJ stuff was the best!

I haven't seen the special, is it new? His roast of Bob Saget was possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:10 am

Yep, it's new. It was filmed in January in SF (I went!) and came out last week.

I linked to a youtube url with the standup in that post. check it out!
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:01 am

Hysterical. I'm so jealous.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:51 pm

Norm's on tour in June. He'll be playing at the San Jose Improv.
It's a little tough to find what dates he's playing, but we got tickets for Friday June 3rd at 10 show Smile
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:19 pm

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:57 pm

HAHAHA! I thought he was never going to do a movie or tv again. This is awesome. Dirty Work is a classic.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:45 am

Well, he's done little cameos. Wasn't he in Grown Ups or something for a split second? I heard he was cut big time from that.
As for TV, he's said he really thinks he's a very bad actor (that happens to be incredibly charming), but he really enjoyed Weekly Update. Supposedly this will be somewhat like that with minimal character acting.
Dirty Work is so fucking good.

I'm very excited but I probably only get to see it online, if/when it spills onto here.
I hope his recent popularity isn't going the way of Sheen or because Sheen turned out to be a nugget of shit and it just took too long for people to notice.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:41 am

I haven't seen grown ups because it doesn't look funny. Yea, I ead that about him thinking he is a bad actor too... I'd agree. Is this going to be kind of like the soup except for sports (I'm not refrencing Sports Soup which was fucking horrible).

I think people in general have had a respect for Norm's comedy for awhile now, so I wouldn't worry about him fading.

I'm seeing the Sheen show tommorrow night. I'm expecting it to be absolutley horrible based on what I've heard. I can't wait!

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:40 pm

He is but if you like his standup or him as a person (as much as you can get anyway) it can be charming, like in Dirty Work.
I never watched that. I've heard his new show described as kind of a Colbert Report type of deal.

Definitely, but I think the respect comes mostly from fellow comedians and a niche fan base, and not necessarily from a general audience. I feel the latter would treat him, as with most everything else, as a passenger interest.

GUH! I imagine it being terrible in a "not worth the money or effort" sort of way instead of the "trainwreck" sort of way.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:13 pm

That is very possible. We'll see. I love Charlie Sheen so It will be hard to disappoint me, but I'll be honest.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:30 pm

Norm on Kimmel.

I hope so. I am somewhat interested what you end up thinking about it and if you convince it was better than it really was to justify spending that much money Razz
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:51 pm

He looks great on kimmel! He was looking a little run down before. But he looked terrific there.


Norm's bob saget roast killed me. I was on the floor watching this.

Yea. Either way. I kind of hope it's the worst show ever put on by a human being, just so I can say that I was there.


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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:00 pm

RIGHT! It was "shocking"!

Best of luck!
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:27 pm

The Sheen show was a train wreck oh god. He got booed off the stage. It was awesome. He literally had nothing to talk about. NOTHING. He told these lame pointless humorless stories about some hotels he stayed in for 25 minutes. He only last 50 minutes. It was unreal.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:46 pm

so it was awesome how much he sucked?
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:12 pm

Ehhh. Not even. We had fun that night, but it wasn't even awesomely bad. It was just pathetic.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:30 pm

I'm very glad you enjoyed yourself, but it seems like it wasn't for the right reasons. booo
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:45 am

We don't have cable and friends ended up being very flakey, thankfully there's this!
http://tv-link.org/sports-show-with-norm-macdonald-season-1-episode-1-pilot

Man, that's good!
Glad he found an outlet for that Tiger Woods joke.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:23 pm

I missed it and that website isn't working for me. I will not rest until I find it! Or midnight tonight. Whichever comes first.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:50 pm

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:58 pm

Thanks!!! I like it!!! Too bad you don't like sports.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:26 pm

woohoo! Glad you like it!

I don't absolutely hate sports, but I don't follow them at all, make an effort to see them, or understand them very well.
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Robo-Pussy on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:38 pm

Ahh cool. Most of the jokes were general enough so that you wouldn't even have to be the most knowledgeable sports fan anyway. I'll tell you... I don't think any other comedian could pull off the jokes he was telling. He really just has a certain way of saying things.

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:46 pm

That's one of the things he said in interviews about the show, that it wasn't just for a sports audience. I'm happy about that!

I agree with you. There was a blog post railing on Norm because the jokes only work when he's telling them. Nevermind that he's the one telling them, right?
He's incredible!
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by uhoh on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:47 am

I found this to be too funny

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POyFvDgV2cU
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:09 am

hey, that's not norm!
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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Soylent Brown on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:18 pm

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Re: SPORTS!

Post by Mega2000 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:09 pm

that was one of the best new shows on TV along with Workahilics
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Re: SPORTS!

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