I recently fell into a Norm MacDonald YouTube rabbit hole—something that seems to happen about once every two months—and I decided, you know what, Shane? Let’s make some content out of this predilection! I’ve always loved Norm for his subversive humor, and while it may seem strange to honor that subversion with an Internet list, which is probably the least subversive medium in the world, I know of no better way.
Here now, for your enjoyment, are MacDonald’s ten most subversive comedic moments.
Norm’s appearances on Conan are legendary.
After being told to keep his set clean. As told by Jim Breuer.
If any other comedian had done this, it would be at least mildly offensive.
If you want to promote your movie on a talk show, try not to have Norm as the other guest.
Again, he’s with Conan, and again he tells a long, rambling “joke” with a wonderful, aggravating payoff. Watch Conan’s face at the end.
He’s not so keen on the whole “he’s in a better place” idea.
This probably needs no further explanation:
Norm is at his best when playing to a hostile audience, and this audience is not amused by his patented “joke and stare and explain the joke” style. The sexual harassment joke at the 5:35 mark of the second video is a real crowd pleaser, by which I mean the exact opposite of a crowd pleaser.
Athletes don’t have a self-deprecating bone in their bodies, so you can imagine how well they took to Norm’s controversial, biting commentary. According to Deadspin, the full monologue was never run again on any of the re-broadcasts.
A producer told Norm to “be shocking!”, so he decided to take all his material from a book called Jokes From Retirement Parties—and the audience was indeed shocked, into silence.