While avoiding homework the other day I came across episodes of “The Norm Show,” later called “Norm” due to legal issues, a public access show with the name “The Nrom Show” threatened to sue (public access? WTF?), and I was reminded of just how funny Norm McDonald is. He’s a comedic actor that has never truly been appreciated. I think we all know who is to blame for that. That’s right, Frank Stallone.
When I was younger I enjoyed Norm as the Weekend Update host, but I always thought Kevin Nealon was the best anchor. Now when I watch those old episodes I realize that Kevin Nealon was awful. Norm with his deadpan delivery and attempts to make jokes work after they bomb is what had made his Weekend Update the best solo anchored update.
Not only was he the best Weekend Update anchor, but he did some great impressions. My two favorite were Bob Dole and Burt Reynolds. As Dole he walked around with that limp arm and nailed the character. He protrayed Reynolds alomost so clown like that I have actually enjoyed him more than Darrel Hamond as Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy.
Once kicked off of SNL, Norm tried his luck in movies, and failed, miserably. Even though he stars along side Dave Chapelle and Danny DeVito in “Screwed” that movie is down right awful. On the other hand, despite unfavorable reviews, “Dirty Work” has become a favorite of mine. Again it has to do with that deadpan delivery. Norm also has a great knack for timing and saying something completely unexpected.
The real charm of Norm MacDonald is his deprecating humor and awkwardness. Norm tends to play likeable losers who make you feel better about yourself. At won’t point in “Dirty Work,” he losing his girlfriend, his best friend is mad at him, and his car is broken into, while he’s reduced to spending the night in it. Just when we think he’s reached rock bottom we hear his tape-recorded message that no matter how bad life gets, there’s always beer. Because it’s Norm MacDonald, someone we can relate too, and feel sympathy or empathy for (I always mix those two up) we are sad. Now if it were Ben Stiller playing a character in this situation, stirring up these same emotions is almost impossible.
I hope someone will realize that Norm MacDonald is still funny and relevant and give him another television series. Until then I will watch what I can on Youtube, and Wear out my copy of “Dirty Work.”
Note to self: Buy “Dirty Work” on DVD.
The Germans love David Hasselhoff and . . .
01 Sep 2008 Lee S. Hart