Norm Macdonald Has a Show season 1 finale recap: Lorne Michaels


The season finale of Norm Macdonald Has a Show features Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Norm’s SNL stint is curiously absent.

Lorne Michaels is, in some ways, a surprise guest on Norm Macdonald Has a Show, as Norm would gradually be known as a controversial figure on Saturday Night Light, which Michaels created and basically runs. Still, possibly for the best, Norm’s own history isn’t the big talking point here. Instead, much discussion centers on Saturday Night Live itself (though we learn things about Lorne, like that he likes popcorn). One interesting fact is that, apparently, the Sandler, Spade and Farley era is the closest Lorne came to losing the show. They also discuss how, apparently, some people don’t realize the show is live, despite the lack of a laugh track.

A sad Don Pardo and other moments

If Norm Macdonald’s known for anything, it may be putting his foot in his mouth. It’s something he’s acknowledged many times in the past. Here he acknowledges an incident with SNL announcer Don Pardo, who was saddened when Norm joked about him being replaced by a tape recorder. It’s a jumping off point for them, as they discuss Pardo’s legacy, including how he first joined NBC in 1944(!). They also discuss hosts from the early days, including George Carlin, Paul Simon, Lilly Tomlin, and Richard Pryor.

Norm and Lorne also talk about Michael’s early days with Hart Pomerantz, part of The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, a Canadian variety show. It’s also clear that Lorne played a role in getting women into comedy, including Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, and Kristin Wiig. Lorne implies that comedy isn’t always easy, because laughing isn’t always a voluntary response. When Norm asks if anyone “killed harder” than Dana Carvey, Lorne says “He’s right up there.”

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The Sinéad O’Connor incident

Perhaps the most controversial topic of the episode is Sinéad O’Connor. In case you never heard, when she was Saturday Night Live‘s musical guest in 1992, she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II, then firmly announced, “Fight the real enemy.” According to every account of the event, you’ll read, it was a jaw-dropping moment of live television.

The audience was so shocked that not only did no one applaud, but no one was booing, either! According to Lorne, during rehearsals, Sinéad had held up a picture of Balkan orphans instead. Lorne Michaels also notes how, after that performance, they still had a sketch to do, All these years later, Michaels says he felt protective of her, as he essentially saw her career end on a TV show he produced.

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Things they don’t mention, and things they do

Though Michaels and Macdonald hardly discuss Norm’s stint on SNL, the impression is that both respect Saturday Night Live as an institution. Only briefly do they mention Lorne’s Late Night franchise, or The Kids in the Hall. Nor is there any mention of Mike Myers loosely basing Dr. Evil’s mannerisms on Mr. Michaels.  However, they do discuss a few odds and ends, such as how Randy Newman’s one of the funniest people Lorne knows, and the underrated, Lorne Michaels-produced film, Three Amigos.

That’s it for this season of Norm Macdonald Has a Show! What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!