The comedy world lost a true original on Tuesday with the death of Norm Macdonald, who died at age 61 after waging a secret battle with cancer.
During Tuesday’s edition of “The Late Late Show”, host James Corden paid tribute to the Quebec-born comic, best known for his acerbic stint anchoring Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live” during the 1990s.
Addressing the camera, Corden lamented the loss of “an absolute comedy legend,” gone after “waging a nine-year battle with cancer, a battle that Norm never told anybody about — because all Norm ever wanted to do was to make us laugh. And he was absolutely, absolutely brilliant at it.”
Corden went on to praise Macdonald as “perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television,” remarking on his hilarious impromptu riff on Mickey Mouse during a previous “Late Late Show” appearance.
After head writer Ian Karmel and bandleader Reggie Watts weighed in with their own personal reminiscences of Macdonald, Corden concluded by thanking Macdonald “for the laughs; we’ll never, ever forget them.”
The show’s official Twitter account also shared a clip of Corden’s on-air tribute.
Thanks for all the laughs, Norm 💔 pic.twitter.com/6ZLicpHdFc
— The Late Late Show with James Corden (@latelateshow) September 15, 2021
Macdonald’s fellow “SNL” alum Seth Meyers also paid tribute to the “fantastic comedian” on “Late Night”.
“He was the gold standard, and he will continue to be the gold standard,” Meyers said. “I would just suggest that everybody go watch him tell the moth story on ‘Conan’, go watch any number of Norm Macdonald things tonight, because they are really, truly timeless.”
The host added that although Macdonald’s passing is “tragic,” he doesn’t think he’d want to hear “anything sentimental” said about himself.
Meyers then shared an array of his favourite Macdonald jokes and memories.
“I wish I were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about Norm Macdonald having died. But the only comedian I know who could get away with a ‘Norm Macdonald is dead joke,’ is Norm Macdonald,” Colbert said. “And 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.
“So, I hope somewhere up there, or wherever…” Colbert added. “He’d figure that joke out.”
Jimmy Fallon then fought back the tears as he recalled the first joke he’d ever heard Macdonald tell, which was a long and rambling take on dogs.