Norm Macdonald Recorded Comedy Special Before Death

Comedian recorded footage in his living room before going into the hospital
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2022 10:22 AM CDT
Norm Macdonald Secretly Recorded a Comedy Special
Norm Macdonald hosts the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 13, 2016.   (Peter Power/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

In a development Norm Macdonald would probably have been the first to joke about, he's about to become Hollywood's hottest dead comedian. The 61-year-old Canadian comic, who died in September, kept his cancer diagnosis quiet for nine years and was equally quiet about a comedy special he secretly recorded more than a year before his death. The hour of material he recorded will be released on Netflix on May 30, the Los Angeles Times reports. Longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra tells the Hollywood Reporter that the former Saturday Night Live cast member recorded the material in his living room in the summer of 2020 before he had to go into the hospital.

"His test results were not good, so during the heart of COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case—as he put it—things went south," Hoekstra says. Per the Reporter, the material was "literally tossed in a closet" after the procedure was a success. Hoekstra says Macdonald remembered the footage as he became sicker last August and September. She says he watched it before he died and gave it the title Nothing Special. "He looks great and the material’s fantastic," Hoekstra says.

Hoekstra says the footage Macdonald recorded in a single take wasn't meant to be the final version of the special, but he couldn't record it in front of an audience because of COVID restrictions, CNN reports. Hoekstra says the posthumous comedy special appears to be unprecedented. "He didn’t do this for the shock that it exists," she says. "He shot it because he loved his material and was so proud of his material. He worked so hard and it really would’ve bothered him to have done all that work and not been able to show everybody." (More Norm Macdonald stories.)

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