Late-night hosts pay tribute to Norm Macdonald following his death: 'The comedy world is poorer'

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Late-night hosts took time out of their shows Tuesday to mourn the loss of comedy icon Norm Macdonald following his death at age 61.

The unique comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” “Weekend Update” anchor reportedly died after a nine-year battle with cancer that he decided to wage privately. In the wake of his passing, late-night comedians who were fortunate enough to have met Macdonald throughout their careers took a moment to pay tribute to him. 

James Corden got the ball rolling noting that Macdonald’s decision to not make his cancer diagnosis public was very in keeping with his character. 

“All Norm ever wanted to do was make us laugh and he was absolutely brilliant at it,” the “Late Late Show” host said. “There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged every time I got to be in his orbit. He leaves us as one of the all-time greatest comics, perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television, I think.”

Late-night comedians took time out of their shows to honor late comedian Norm Macdonald.
(Getty Images/CBS)

He then opened the floor for his head writer Ian Karmel and bandleader Reggie Watts to share their thoughts on Macdonald as well.

“We’ll miss you, Norm, so much,” Corden concluded. “Our thoughts are with all of Norm’s friends and family today and… Thank you so much for the laughs, Norm. We’ll never, ever forget them.”

Jimmy Fallon, who was one of the few people who also sat in the “Weekend Update” chair while on “Saturday Night Live,” proved how much of a fan he is of Macdonald’s by doing an impression of the late star and one of his stand-up bits about buying a dog that he’d committed to memory. 

“He was a comic’s comic and everyone absolutely loved him top to bottom and he will be missed,” the “Tonight Show” host concluded. 

“The Late Show” host, Stephen Colbert, noted that he worked with Macdonald very briefly while he was a guest writer on “Saturday Night Live.” He recalled the late comedian taking him under his wing and letting him write jokes for him on “Weekend Update.” 

“I wish I were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about Norm Macdonald having died,” a somber Colbert said. “But the only comedian I know who could get away with a ‘Norm Macdonald is dead’ joke is Norm Macdonald. I’m going to miss the fact that there’s nobody left on the planet who can do that and the comedy world is poorer for it today.”

Colbert also reflected on what he admired about Macdonald’s style on “Weekend Update.”

“I liked the fact that he would tell jokes that he, in the nicest possible way, didn’t seem to care if the audience liked them, but he liked the joke,” Colbert said. “They were dark, sometimes too dark for me, but they were strange and he just had a wonderful presence that just took me in.”

This was something that Seth Meyers also recognized during his tribute to Macdonald on “Late Night.”

“He told me once that his favorite thing about ‘Saturday Night Live’ is that it’s the last place on TV where you can bomb,” Meyers said.

He noted how much Macdonald’s own delivery and style inspired his when he was behind the desk on “Weekend Update.” 

“If he thought the jokes were good, he had just as much fun telling them to a dead audience than to one who appreciated them,” the star concluded.

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