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The late Norm Macdonald left fans a surprise stand-up special

By Dustin Jones
Former Saturday Night Live star Norm Macdonald recorded a standup comedy special in his living room before he died in the fall of 2021. The special, which is set to be released on Netflix this month, was something he wanted to leave for his fans if he were to die unexpectedly. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Actor and comedian Norm Macdonald, who was well known for his 16 years with Saturday Night Live, shot a secret standup performance in his living room before he died last year at 61. His producing partner said Macdonald wanted to have another appearance for his fans should his health take a turn for the worst.

Known for his sarcasm, dry humor and witty comebacks, Macdonald's work was enjoyed by millions of viewers over his nearly 30 years in comedy before he succumbed to cancer on Sept. 14, 2021.

He wanted to have one last laugh prepared for his fans in case he was unable to beat back the cancer. So, Macdonald recorded a one-hour special — done in one take — from his living room in the summer of 2020. Fans will be able to stream the comedian's standup farewell, Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, on Netflix starting May 30.

Though Macdonald managed to film himself over an hour in a single take, he had planned on recording the special in front of a live audience in 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on his plans, Lori Jo Hoekstra, Norm's long-time producing partner and executive producer of the special, said in a Netflix statement.

"Norm worked so hard on a new hour of material and wanted it to be seen ... We want to make sure his fans see this very funny hour," Hoekstra said. "He left this gift for all of us."

The special will come hand in hand with a bonus featurette, according to the Netflix statement, with Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Adam Sandler, Molly Shannon and David Spade. The guests will share their experiences with Macdonald in a proper send-off for one of comedy's greats.

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Dive Deeper:
Late comedy icon Norm Macdonald filmed secret stand-up special in 2020 in case ‘things went south’
‘Literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case’
Norm Macdonald comedy special to be released posthumously by Netflix: ‘He left this gift’
On Thursday the streaming giant spread news that the comedian hasn’t had his last laugh yet, announcing a never-before-seen stand-up…
Norm Macdonald, who died last year, filmed secret comedy special that Netflix will air
Norm Macdonald, the late comic who kept his terminal illness a secret until after he died, had another secret up…
‘I never thought I’d sell out the Apollo’: Mo Gilligan on why he’d rather be gardening than partying
Standup Mo Gilligan’s rise to fame is the stuff of dreams – in fact, he can’t quite believe it himself.…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Netflix: The best hidden gem originals you might have missed, from Big Mouth to Money Heist
With the streaming platform stepping up its original film and TV show content, it can be hard to keep track…
New this week: Harry Styles, 'Angelyne' and 'The Valet'
This week’s new entertainment releases include Harry Styles' third solo album, a reboot of “Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers” that…
Get all your news in one place