One of modern comedy’s greatest talents did one last stand-up special before he died — and it’s been kept secret until now.
Norm Macdonald, who died last September at the age of 61, privately filmed an unreleased hour-long stand-up special.
The celebrated Saturday night live Actor and comedian known for his deadpan delivery was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but kept his illness a secret. He was working on new material for a Netflix special when he was hospitalized in the summer of 2020.
“His test results weren’t good, so in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case, as he put it, things go wrong,” Lori said Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner, narrates The Hollywood Reporter. “It was his intention to share a special in case something happens.”
The result was a stand-up special in Macdonald’s living room. The actor filmed the entire hour in a single take. “He looks great and the material is fantastic,” says Hoekstra.
As it turns out, Macdonald survived the medical procedure just fine and the footage was literally thrown in a closet. But Macdonald became very ill a year later before his special could properly film in front of an audience. “Last August and September he got sicker and he remembered filming that and asked me to find it so he could watch it,” says Hoekstra. “He finally watched it before he died.” Macdonald even suggested a characteristically self-deprecating title for the hour: Nothing special.
Netflix will release the surprise program — Norm Macdonald: Nothing special’ on the 30th of May.
The Standing Hour is likely a first in the comedy world — a postmortem final joke and testament from a comedian who enjoyed defying the strife. “From the various conversations I’ve had in our circle of comedy and production friends, no one has heard a comparison to it [situation] – not even close,” says Hoekstra, who adds to Nothing special, also produced Macdonald’s ABC sitcom standard and his Netflix talk show Norm Macdonald has a show
The program will include clips of Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, David Spade and Molly Shannon discussing Macdonald during the recent Netflix Is a Joke Fest.
“It makes me so happy that I can share it, but also so sad that we can’t share it with him,” says Hoekstra. “He didn’t do that because of the shock that it exists. He shot it because he loved his material and was so proud of his material. He worked so hard and it would have really bothered him to have done all that work and not be able to show it to everyone. He did it for the stand-up. I just hope people appreciate that he did that.”