Not too many realize just how much effort it takes to be a good late night talk show guest. Even comedians as brilliant as Steve Martin and Martin Short have talked about how much prepping they have to do before they go and kill it on a talk show. But part of what makes Norm Macdonald one of the greatest late night guests of all time was just how effortless he made it all look, as if he wasn’t even trying to be there. The vibe he gave off was that of a guy who was bored and decided to book himself on a talk show. And his subsequent appearances, particularly on Letterman and Conan, made for some of the best that we’ll ever see in this lifetime. We’ve already written extensively about his Conan appearances here.
Last night, late night hosts past and present took to their respective shows or social media to pay tribute to the great Norm Macdonald. Whenever Norm was on their show, they knew they could basically take the night off and just react. Norm would do all the heavy lifting without even breaking a sweat.
Norm didn’t just make us laugh, he made us laugh hard. Rest well, you crazy bastard.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) 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
In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you.
— David Letterman (@Letterman) September 14, 2021
No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald. Hilarious and unique. Fuck cancer.
— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) September 14, 2021