Norm MacDonald, Continued

But Downey revealed earlier this year on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend that MacDonald could have saved his own job — if he had agreed to throw Downey under the bus. MacDonald refused.

Downey told O’Brien: “The network went to Norm and said, ‘We want to get rid of Jim Downeyand we just want you to know. You’re cool with that, right?’ And he said, ‘No. No. You can’t fire him. If you fire him, I quit.’ … He said, ‘I’m not doing it without him.'”

Talk about a standup guy.

Downey said MacDonald, who died in 2021, never told Downey how he’d stood up for him — Downey says he only learned about it, years later, from NBC executives.

More Norm MacDonald


Less than two years after his exit, Norm MacDonald was invited back to Saturday Night Live to host the October 23, 1999 episode. He noted how strange it was that he would be invited back.

“They fired me because they said that I wasn’t funny,” he noted. “It’s only a year and a half later, and now, they ask me to host the show. So I wondered, how did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building, to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show?”

He added: “Then it occurred to me, I haven’t gotten funnier — the show has gotten really bad! … So let’s recap. The bad news is: I’m still not funny. The good news is: The show blows!”

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