Death itself could not stop Norm Macdonald from giving to his fans. An hour-long standup special secretly shot by the comedy great a year before he died will be released on Netflix at the end of the month.
The lauded comedian, host, and former Saturday Night Live cast member—who died in September at the age of 61 after privately battling cancer for a decade—recorded Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special during the summer of 2020, prior to going into the hospital to undergo a procedure, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“His test results were not good, so during the heart of COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case—as he put it—things went south,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner, told THR. “It was his intention to have a special to share if something happened.”
Macdonald filmed the Netflix special in a single take from the comfort of his living room.
His procedure ended up going smoothly and the footage was apparently tossed in a literal closet. But MacDonald’s condition started getting worse about a year later, before the material from his living room special could be properly filmed in front of an audience.
“He ended up getting sicker last August and September, and he remembered he had shot this and asked me to find it so he could watch it,” Hoekstra said. “He ended up watching it before he passed away.” Macdonald even suggested a characteristically self-deprecating title for the hour: Nothing Special.
Hoekstra added, “He looks great and the material’s fantastic.”
The special will also feature clips of MacDonald’s friends 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,” Hoekstra told THR. “He didn’t do this for 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 really would’ve bothered him to have done all that work and not been able to show everybody. He did it for the stand-up. I just hope people appreciate that he did this.”
Nothing Special will premiere on Netflix on May 30.
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