Norm Macdonald Tells Howard Stern The Story Behind The ‘Celebrity Jeopardy’ Sketches

What separates a good SNL sketch from a classic SNL sketch? Wikipedia.

Only a select few have Wikipedia entries dedicated to them, including “more cowbell,” Hanukkah Harry, and, of course, “Celebrity Jeopardy,” which aired 15 times, most recently during SNL‘s 40th anniversary special, but never got old. Will Ferrell’s exasperated Alex Trebek sparring with Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery was always funny, as was Norm Macdonald’s Burt Reynolds. (When Kazaa was a thing, I would download “Celebrity Jeopardy” audio files, burn them to a CD, and listen to the disc on the bus ride to school. I’m probably not alone in this. Unlike on the bus ride, when I was very alone.)

Macdonald — who’s promoting his new book, Based on a True Story: A Memoir — dropped by The Howard Stern Show to talk about, among other things, the origins of “Celebrity Jeopardy.” Basically, he stole it from SCTV, but Martin Short and Eugene Levy, who were on the legendary Canadian sketch series, gave him permission to do so. Macdonald has discussed this before (including on Twitter), but what makes this re-telling worth listening to is that it’s sprinkled with Burt Reynolds stories, which are usually the best stories.

Later in the episode, Stern asked Macdonald about his emotional final appearance on Late Show with David Letterman. “It was accidental. I didn’t go out there with that plan,” he said. “I really felt like… he was my father figure. Letterman left a crater, not only for television but for popular culture.”

Yeah, but did Letterman have a big hat?