For decades, Norm Macdonald was a favorite of David Letterman’s. Between the host’s Late Night and Late Show programs, the comic made more than two dozen appearances, and Letterman returned the favor appearing on Norm Macdonald Live and Norm Macdonald Has a Show. On Tuesday, the veteran host paid tribute to his late friend.
“In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best,” Letterman said in a statement. “An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you. I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze. (I’m trying to avoid using the phrase, ‘twinkle in his eyes’). He was a lifetime Cy Young winner in comedy. Gone, but impossible to forget.”
Toward the end of Letterman’s Late Show run, in May 2015, he invited Macdonald to do one last standup routine. At the time, Letterman marveled that Macdonald had made his late-night standup debut on Late Night on May 9th, 1990. “Very talented actor,” Letterman said, “nobody funnier.” Macdonald came out with a stellar set of deadpan jokes and ended with an atypically poignant tribute to the departing host.
“I can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since I made television debut,” he said. “It was all different back then. You know, back then, I remember if you wanted to take a picture, you would use a camera. Not a telephone. As a matter of fact, if you used a telephone, people would look at you odd.” He also joked about how great LSD flashbacks are, how strange the abbreviation “ID” is, and news-media scare tactics.