The comedian Norm Macdonald recorded one final stand-up special before he died last September at 61, and it's a bittersweet curtain call.
Until now, it has been a well-kept secret that one of modern comedy's greats privately shot an unreleased one-hour stand-up special before he died. Now fans will be able to experience the previously unseen footage of Macdonald when Netflix airs the surprise program — "Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special" — on May 30, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
The comedy special was filmed before Macdonald, who had been diagnosed with cancer nine years earlier but kept it private from family, friends and fans, entered the hospital for a medical procedure in the summer of 2020. He had been working on new material for a Netflix special at the time but had to put those plans on hold.
"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 The Hollywood Reporter. "It was his intention to have a special to share if something happened."
The result was a one-hour stand-up special that was shot in Macdonald's living room in one single take.
"He looks great and the material’s fantastic," Hoekstra said.
Macdonald made it through the medical procedure, and the footage was stored in a closet. Before he could film the special properly before an audience, however, Macdonald became very ill.
"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."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the program will also 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," Hoekstra said. "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."
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