Tributes pour in for 'fearless' Canadian comic Norm Macdonald

Tributes, well wishes and funny anecdotes have begun pouring in for the late Canadian comic Norm Macdonald, who died Tuesday at age 61 of cancer.

Macdonald, who was a stand-up comedian, writer and actor with a signature deadpan delivery, was a staple in the comedy TV world, with appearances on The Drew Carey Show and NewsRadio.

He was also the former Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” anchor, a much-loved position that cemented his influence on the comedy scene.

On Twitter, news of his death spread quickly, with comedy legend Steve Martin tweeting “we loved Norm Macdonald. One of a kind.”

David Letterman called him “the best” in “every important way in the world of stand-up,” on Twitter, adding that Macdonald’s famous “matter-of-fact delivery leveled ” audiences.

Famed Canadian comedian Jim Carrey also paid homage to Macdonald on Twitter, writing “my dear friend Norm Macdonald passed after a brave 10 year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him.”

Adam Sandler called Macdonald the “most fearless funny original guy we knew,” in his Twitter tribute

American comic and writer Patton Oswalt wrote his own tribute, saying “Good bye, Norm. You were never not 100% hilarious.”

Canadian actor Jay Baruchel called Macdonald a “sincere hero” and a “boundless source of inspiration” since he was a teenager on Twitter. “He was also the rarest of beings: a truly original artist. The world’s loss is Canadian heaven’s gain. We will never see his like again,” the rest of the tweet reads.

Seth Rogan tweeted that as a “huge fan” of Macdonald, he modelled his early career on the comedians delivery style, writing “we lost a comedy giant today. One of the all time greats. RIP.”

Film critic Richard Crouse called Macdonald’s death “incredibly sad” on CTV’s News Channel Tuesday, adding that it was the late comedians “ethos” to put comedy first and everything else second, including his private bout with cancer.

“He was a fearless comic,” Crouse continued.

It was a sentiment echoed by Yuk-Yuk’s co-founder Mark Breslin on CTV’s News Channel Tuesday, who said Macdonald stood apart as “not a lot of comics can be described by the word dignified.”

“He was intelligent, he forced the audience to come to his own level of comedy and all with this twinkle in his eye, in those beautiful blue eyes of his, to let you know that everything was a joke, and a good one too,” Breslin said of Macdonald.

Breslin recalled that Macdonald’s first stand-up gig was at a Yuk-Yuk’s in Ottawa, and that he was so good “it only took three nights on amateur night before he was moved up…Norm was a fantastic comic in every way, shape and form.” 

Welsh actor and comedian Rob Brydon called Macdonald a “glorious comedian” and “unique” on his Twitter account. Conan O’Brien, The Iron Sheik, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Sterger and Seth MacFarlane have also penned tributes to Macdonald online.

Jon Stewart kept his tribute to Macdonald brief and to the point online, tweeting “no one could make you break like Norm Macdonald. Hilarious and unique.”

Canadian politicians chimed in on social media as well.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole tweeted his condolences to Macdonald’s family and friends, writing “Canada is known for producing some of the greatest comedians, and Norm Macdonald is certainly one of the reasons why…he will be missed.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said “the world was a much funnier place because Norm Macdonald was in it” in his condolence message on Twitter, adding that Canada had “lost a comedic genius.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford wrote on Twitter that he was “very sad to hear” of Macdonald’s death, and that “his work brought joy to millions around the world.”

One of the funniest people #SNL ever produced is gone, but will never be forgotten. I've spent many an hour on YouTube over the years enjoying all the characters he gave us. In a word: HILARIOUS.��Thanks for a lifetime of laughs @normmacdonald. #RIP ��

— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 14, 2021

Very sad to hear of the passing of Norm Macdonald. He was a bold, fearless and original voice. This is a huge loss.

— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) September 14, 2021

Today the world lost a very, very funny man. We miss him already. R.I.P Norm Macdonald.

— Eugene Levy (@Realeugenelevy) September 14, 2021

I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today.

— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 14, 2021

Sad to hear about Norm Macdonald. Got to be on his talk show. Laughed a lot with him. He was very kind to me. #RIPNormMacdonald

— M. Night Shyamalan ⌛ (@MNightShyamalan) September 14, 2021

To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm MacDonald. You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I’m gonna miss him.

— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) September 14, 2021