Norm Macdonald, who died in September, had a final gift to give to the world: he taped a secret one-hour stand-up comedy spectacular before his death.
While undergoing treatment for acute leukaemia, a disease he had silently lived with for nine years, Macdonald was working on fresh material for a Netflix special. The SNL star wanted to capture something on camera in case “things went south,” so he shot an entire hour’s worth of material in one take in his living room.
“His test results were not good,” said Macdonald’s longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra, “so during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on camera just in case — as he put it — things went south.” “He intended to have something exceptional to offer if something happened.”
Macdonald passed the procedure with flying colours and planned to record the special in front of professional cameras and a live audience. Macdonald’s condition, however, quickly deteriorated. “He got ill in August and September last year, and he realised he’d shot this and begged me to get it so he could see it,” Hoekstra explained.
Hoekstra adds, “He ended up viewing it before he died away.” “He looks wonderful, and the material is incredible.”
On Monday, May 30, Netflix will release the home video recording Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special. During the recent Netflix Is a Joke Fest, Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, David Spade, and Molly Shannon discussed Macdonald, and excerpts from the show will be shown.
“It makes me so pleased that I can share it, but it also makes me so sad that we won’t be able to enjoy it with him,” Hoekstra added. “He didn’t do it because he was surprised it existed. He shot it because he adored and was really proud of his material. He had put in so much effort, and it would have been quite frustrating for him to not be able to show everyone what he had accomplished. He did it for the comedy show. I really hope people recognise his efforts.”