Remembering Norm MacDonald: How to watch his most memorable roles

Norm MacDonald
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Image)

The world got a little less funny today, as comedian Norm MacDonald passed away at the age of 61 after a long battle with cancer, keeping his fight with the disease private. The new was first reported by Deadline.

MacDonald started his career as a stand-up in Canada, gaining notoriety for his deadpan style of delivery. He broke into Hollywood by writing for The Dennis Miller Show and a couple episodes of Roseanne before he landed a writer and cast spot on Saturday Night Live, which he held from 1993-1998.

After leaving SNL, he had a sitcom, Norm, that was on ABC for three seasons, which saw him star as an ex-hockey player convicted of gambling and tax evasion and forced to do community service as a social worker or go to jail.

Still, MacDonald is best remembered for his stand-up, his time at SNL or in guest roles on TV shows and in films, mostly with his former SNL castmate Adam Sandler.

Here are some of the most memorable roles from Norm MacDonald’s career and how to watch them.

'Saturday Night Live' (1993-1998) 

Norm MacDonald Saturday Night Live

(Image credit: NBC)

Saturday Night Live is where MacDonald’s star emerged for most people, as he was a weekly fixture as the anchor of Weekend Update, delivering the hilarious takes on the news in his classic dead-pan style. Take a look at some of his best jokes below. 

MacDonald also memorably did an impersonation of Burt Reynolds on the show’s Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch. Aside from Darrell Hammod’s Sean Connery and Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek, MacDonald’s Reynolds was a fan favorite from the oft-repeating sketch. 

You can watch old episodes of Saturday Night Live on Peacock

Billy Madison (1995)

Norm MacDonald Billy Madison

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

MacDonald’s first, and perhaps still most memorable, film role where he appears on camera (he did do a good amount of voice work) comes in Billy Madison. The comedy focuses on Adam Sandler’s man-child who attempts to earn the right to take over his father’s company by repeating his entire grade school education over again. MacDonald plays Frank, Billy’s drinking buddy, but he makes the most of it with some great one-liners (Billy: What day is it? Frank: October).

Billy Madison is available to rent online on YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV and more.

Dr. Dolittle (1998)

Norm MacDonald Dr. Dolittle

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

MacDonald teamed up with another SNL alum, Eddie Murphy, in 1998’s Dr. Dolittle, voicing Dr. Dolittle’s dog Lucky. While MacDonald would continue to voice Lucky in some additional sequels, stick with the original where he and Murphy have their most banter.

Dr. Dolittle is available to stream on Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video; it is also available to rent online.

The Middle (2010-2018)

Norm MacDonald The Middle

(Image credit: ABC)

MacDonald had a recurring guest role on The Middle, the ABC comedy about the daily mishaps of the Heck family living in Orson, Ind. MacDonald played Rusty Heck the lazy and often drunk brother of Mike Heck (played by Neil Flynn). MacDonald would appear in 10 episodes of the series.

The Middle is available to watch on HBO Max and Hulu.

Norm MacDonald Has a Show (2018)

Norm MacDonald Has a Show

(Image credit: Netflix)

Back when Netflix was trying to give talk shows a go, Norm MacDonald headlined the matter-of-fact show titled Norm MacDonald Has a Show. Essentially the same format as MacDonald’s podcast, the show would see him sit down with celebrities and discuss their life, careers and views in often irreverent ways. The series only lasted 10 episodes on Netflix, but guests included Chevy Chase, David Spade, Drew Barrymore, Judge Judy, David Letterman, Jane Fonda, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Keaton, Billy Joe Shaver and Lorne Michaels.

Norm MacDonald has a Show is only available on Netflix.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.