It’s been quite a week for Norm Macdonald. In a recent interview, Macdonald revealed that he had connected Louis C.K. with Roseanne Barr after the latter’s show was canceled. The 58-year-old comedian, whose new Netflix show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show begins streaming on Friday, also spoke at length about the #MeToo movement and Australian comic Hannah Gadsby’s provocative special Nanette, which he criticized despite “[having] never seen” it. The backlash to these comments resulted in The Tonight Show canceling Macdonald’s scheduled appearance there, though that didn’t stop him from making more problematic comments on The Howard Stern Show.
So, yeah, it’s been quite a week for Norm Macdonald. Then again, anyone who has ever watched, listened to or interviewed the Saturday Night Live alum knows that no matter how controversial or trivial whatever he wants to talk about is, he wants to talk. (Like when, after “[opening] the door” and “[putting] one foot on the curb” at the end of a New York Times Magazine interview, he “talked to [the reporter] for the next 90 minutes.”) This doesn’t excuse everything he has said this week, but it does help explain why, when we spoke to him recently — just prior to him becoming embroiled in controversy this week — Macdonald just didn’t want to stop talking as our conversation reached its predetermined end time.
Norm Macdonald: “Do you play poker? I play big. I played my only cash in a no-limit game two days ago. It was this app called PokerGO. Remember that show, Poker After Dark?”
Uproxx: Yes, I do.
They used to play it after the 12:30 slot. It went from 1:30 to 2:30, and it was just the six best players and they would play at one table. They would have folks like Doyle Brunson on, and it would just be them talking. It’s a pretty good format because you hear conversations, overlapping conversations and things like that. If you’ve got really interesting people doing that, like at a celebrity card game, that could be something. That would make for a great format.
Because you’re doing something, and you talk differently when you’re doing something at the same time. Different emotions at different times.
That’d be a fun talk show format.
It would be a good idea, right? I think it’s a great idea.
Having interviewed Macdonald before, I knew exactly what to expect. So did he. The talk show host is always ready for a chat, and he credits Tom Snyder’s legendary Tomorrow Show and Allan Havey’s Night After Night as some of his biggest inspirations for this love of conversation. He also cites former Late Show host David Letterman, who’s credited as the location scout for his studio-based program, and legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas. Most of what he has to say about the medium and its practitioners is laudable, though some of it questionable, too.