Canadian comedian Norm Macdonald has passed away at age 61

TORONTO – Norm Macdonald, the deadpan Quebec comedian who rose from Canadian nightclubs to “Saturday Night Live” heights of fame, has died aged 61 after a private battle with cancer.

Representatives from his management agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, confirmed the death on Tuesday and said no further details were available.

The reveal came as a shock to many, as Macdonald had not shared his diagnosis with his fans.

The Quebec City-raised standup was best known for his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” from 1993 to 1998, where he appeared behind the “Weekend Update” desk to poke fun at the latest news events.

He also impressed Burt Reynolds as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” one of his most beloved characters.

Yuk Yuk co-founder Mark Breslin said Macdonald’s star power was evident from his early days on the Canadian comedy circuit, where he forged a unique voice early on, impressing his peers.

“He combined a laconic expression and a blank look, and yet he had a great glint in those blue eyes that let you know it was all some kind of joke,” Breslin said.

“And it was a really powerful combination of all those things.”

Macdonald went on to accumulate a devoted following among comedy fans for his blatant rejection of easy phrases.

He would appear in several films with his former “SNL” co-stars, including Adam Sandler in “Billy Madison” and Rob Schneider in “The Animal.”

Macdonald also directed the 1998 Hollywood comedy “Dirty Work,” directed by Bob Saget, where he played one of two friends starting a revenge-for-rent business. The film was a box office flop, but found a cult following when it was released on home video.

Later in his career, he would host his own Netflix talk show “Norm Macdonald Has a Show” and voiced the character of Pigeon on “Mike Tyson Mysteries.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 14, 2021.

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