Easy to be inspired by the comedy of Norm Macdonald

Martin Chang, Editor in Chief

By Martin Chang

Editor in Chief

Norm Macdonald is the funniest talker in America.

It’s not really about the jokes he tells, but it’s how he tells them that makes me laugh like no other.

He has a way of putting emphasis on words.

His deadpan delivery isn’t so dead.

He always seems gleeful when telling his jokes to Howard Stern or Conan O’Brien.

He gives his jokes a space, some time to really sink in, so that when he reaches the punch line, you feel it in your gut and you laugh loud.

Even more than that, just the way he talks is funny.

Watch any TV interview with him as the guest.

You will find people laugh even during his set up of the joke.

I’ve never seen another comedian do that on those shows.

I have a confession to make, I’ve stolen the way he tells jokes as my own.

Whenever people ask me to tell a joke, I try to do my best impression.

I try to imitate his rhythm, and I try to imitate his natural conversational delivery.

Sometimes I do OK in my imitation, and I hear a laugh that I can recognize.

A laugh that comes from deep in your gut.

A laugh that I know I will have anytime I type “Norm Macdonald” into the YouTube search bar.

Yet when those results come up, there is only one type of video I click on, the talk show interview, I’ve listened to his comedy CD, and it’s OK.

I’ve watched full episodes of his sitcoms; it’s also only OK.

Somehow there are always many of those deep gut laughs when he does an interview. Be it on radio or TV.

So as a fan of his, it always seemed weird that there has never been a show that really puts what makes him funny to the forefront.

All the budgets of the sitcoms and sports shows seem to miss the point.

All you have to do is sit him in front of another person that Macdonald has some kind of chemistry with.

That’s all you have to do to see him at his funniest.

Macdonald’s new video podcast, “Norm Macdonald Live” is finally that.

The show opens with him and co-host Adam Egret talking.

It is pure Norm.

You get to hear every word and pause stuck between the words that make him the funniest.

Yet the best part is his joke segment that closes out each episode.

It recalls the SNL weekend updates that made him famous in the ’90s, since many of the jokes are about current events.

But I think this is even better. Norm, Egret, and the guest for that night simply read the jokes off of blue cards.

The guest hasn’t seen the jokes and it’s pretty funny to watch and hear them react to the jokes as they’re reading them.

Each joke is funny on its own, but the whole segment seems to follow Macdonald’s lead.

Every awkward pause, and every bemused smirk follows the slow, paced, feeling of Macdonald’s style.

Every time Macdonald gets to his joke, it’s a gem.

Just him telling his jokes the way he wants to.

On his podcast he is comfortable, natural, and it makes me overjoyed as a fan that he is finally on a show that really showcases him at his best.

“Norm Macdonald Live” is on every Monday at six Pacific Standard Time at his YouTube channel.

Past episodes are also available on the channel.

I have a personal plea.

Please watch, even tweet about it.

So many of his projects fail because they aren’t a good fit.

This is finally in his best place.

I want this show to live a long life, because everyone needs to laugh.

As long as his podcast continues, every one of my weeks will be filled with at least 60 minutes of the biggest laughs that I get.

So help me laugh and watch.