After getting bumped from Tuesday night’s Tonight Show, Norm Macdonald sat down on Wednesday morning for a candid interview with shock jock Howard Stern. In was originally probably supposed to be primarily a chat about his new Netflix series, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, the topic of conversation inevitably steered to the whirlwind of controversy Macdonald had found himself embroiled in over the course of 24 hours, due his remarks expressing sympathy for his friends, Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr.
Macdonald told Stern that he had actually arrived on set for his appearance and was backstage when host Jimmy Fallon personally delivered the bad news, after producers went back and forth on having him address the controversy in a statement at some point at the beginning or end of the show. At that point, some planned comedy bits with Macdonald and follow guest Matthew McConaughey had already been scrapped:
“Then Jimmy came back in, said can I talk to you buddy?” Macdonald said. “He was very broken up about it, he said ‘I don’t know what to do..it’s just that I have so much pressure, people are crying. Senior producers are crying.’
“I was like good Lord, bring them in and let me talk to them, I don’t want to make people cry,” he said. “Jimmy said come back whenever you want, but I think it’ll hurt the show tonight.”
Unfortunately, Macdonald may not have helped his case by also telling Stern that he’d “have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for the victims of harassment and adding, “Down syndrome, that’s my new word.”
As of this morning, at least, Macdonald’s series was still a go, as he also told Stern that he’d spoken to Netflix COO Ted Sarandos and that “he knows I’m a good person,” however it remains to be seen whether or not the streaming service will stick with the September 14 premiere date.
In any case, the court of public opinion has spoken out against the 58-year-old comedian, and a lot of people are not amused with his antics.
In his controversial interview, Macdonald also took it upon himself to comment on Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s take-no-prisoners standup act turned Netflix special, Nanette, despite never having seen it, which also did not sit well with some folks including Gadsby herself.
Other comedians however, including Artie Lang and Barr herself, spoke out in favor of Macdonald.
Macdonald has never been a stranger to controversial or outrageous comedy bits in the past — once even famously made fun of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin shortly after his death in 2006 — but these are brave new times we’re living in, and it’s becoming more and more clear that the old rules no longer apply.