On Tuesday, Sept. 14, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Norm Macdonald shockingly died after an almost decade-long “battle” with acute leukemia. 

The sometimes-controversial comedian was known for several TV shows and movies but mainly for his “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live” from 1994 to 1998. Macdonald’s comedy style was described by The New York Times as dark and ruthlessly concise. His bits were filled with witty punchlines and he proved how the smallest changes in tone and language can entirely change a joke to make you laugh until you roll on the floor.

Macdonald dealt with cancer privately for nine years. The Decider reported that in a 2011 stand-up performance, around the time he had likely been diagnosed, Macdonald stated the phrase "battling cancer” isn’t a great way to be remembered. 

“That’s no way to end your life: ‘What a loser that guy was! Last thing he did was lose,'” Macdonald said

Macdonald then challenged this inaccurate way of describing cancer, proclaiming that cancer inevitably dies when a person’s body dies: “That, to me, is not a loss. That’s a draw.”

Macdonald sometimes sparked controversy by speaking his mind with no filter on sensitive topics, but many found this refreshing and genuine. That’s why his sketches and comedy on “SNL” are appreciated so much.

Norm’s longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra explained why Macdonald never went public about his leukemia diagnosis. 

“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

The clever comedian shouldn’t be remembered for “losing his battle with cancer.” He should be remembered as a stand-up legend who forever impacted the world of comedy.


Follow Gianna Kelley on Twitter, @gianna_kelleyyy

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