Norm Macdonald Merch

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He may have been best known for his work on “Saturday Night Live,” but he should be really remembered for decades of club sets and you-can’t-miss-this clips.
My favorite Norm Macdonald joke — and trust me, there’s serious competition — is one he told as anchor of Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 1990s. Papers in front of him, he reported with a cheer: “Yippie! Jerry Rubin died this week.” Looking down, he apologized for his mistake and tried again: “That should read: ‘Yippie Jerry Rubin died this week.’”
Silly, dark, ruthlessly concise, this gem is a model of craft, and like many of Macdonald’s bits, it proves how the smallest change in tone, language or, in this case, exclamation mark can radically shift meaning, providing the kind of jolt of surprise that produces belly laughs.
Macdonald, who died Tuesday of cancer, maintained a studied modesty about his work. He said that his act had no substance, that it was all “gossip and trickery.” And he claimed without self-pity that he would be remembered only for his few years at “Saturday Night Live,” not his decades of stand-up, which he referred to as “a shabby business, made up of shabby fellows like me who cross the country, stay at shabby hotels, and tell jokes they no longer find funny.”

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