Conversation overheard …

(People don’t seem to realize that mobile phones are also tracking and recording devices. Norm and Bob certainly didn’t.)

[Sound of a ring tone, theme from Walking Dead]

NM: Yeah, Norm here.

BS: Hey Norm! Bob Saget here.

NM: What the f###-? You’re not supposed to be calling me! Goddammit Bob, I’m dead!

BS: It’s OK, Norm. Can I call you Norm? You know, when you died, I claimed I was your best friend. You know, like Tony Orlando and Freddie Prinze.

NM: What the f###?

BS: You know Normie, Freddie Prinze, Chico and the Man, committed suicide at age 22, 1976. Is he there by chance? He’d be 67 now, almost your age. And mine.

NM: “Normie”? I’m Norm! We’re not friends! We’ve never been friends. I saw you go on news and YouTube and all that claiming we were best buds. That really annoyed me!

BS: Well, Normie, that’s show business. We’re all best buds. Is Freddie there?

NM: Why am I talking to you? I gotta hang up here. We never had this conversation. This gets out, your career is over. Got that?

BS: I’m dead too, Normie.

NM: Goddammit, Saget, I am NORM. Do not call me Normie! … You’re dead now?

BS: Yeah. I got word right around the time you died. I was washed up but kept pushing my dead act, and finally they told me that I was finished, that I had to step down. It shocked me. I thought I was still going great guns, what with Danny Tanner and then home videos, but I guess no one was paying attention. So they just popped into my motel room, told me to pack a toothbrush, and here I am in Brazil.

NM: You’re here? Santa Catarina?

BS:  Yep. Probably in the same neighborhood. They gave me a house, a car. My family had money, so I’m not desperate. My wife just called to make sure I was OK.

NM: Same deal here, no wife, just the kid, Dylan. He stays in touch. My family was juiced too. Kind of lonely here, really, as I can’t talk with anyone who knows who I am.

BS: What was it with you? I guess with me it was the Danny Tanner becomes gross-out comic that turned them against me. I thought the contrast was funny, poignant.

NM: Yeah. I didn’t care for that. Anyone can go blue, takes no talent.

BS: Well, what about you? Norm MacDonald Has A Show? Is that when they figured out you have no talent either?

NM: Pretty much. It’s like age 65 is lights out time for guys like us.

BS: I thought I might make the cut. Marty Short is 71, Steve Martin 76, Jerry Seinfeld 67. Hell, Mel Brooks is 95, just published a book.

NM: Are you picking up here, Bobby? Our names, their names don’t belong in the same sentence. They have talent. We don’t. Not everyone in show business is faking it like us.

BS: Yeah, they made that clear, my exit interview, said my career was just a gift, and to give it back. I guess mom pulled a few strings for me to get me a show.

NM: Me too. My ancestry says “son of private, private.” I guess a few strings had to be pulled to get me on Saturday Night Live. I kind of blew it there … I had no idea Ohlmeyer and OJ were friends, that OJ didn’t do anything wrong, just had to take a fall.

BS: You’re kidding! OJ was innocent?

NM: Is innocent! Hell, if I’d known that I’da taken it easy on the guy. Anyway, I still made a go of it, talent or no. I had a good run. I got no complaints.

BS: People forget right away. That part is sad. It’s like I was never Danny, that my standup was always bad, forgettable.

NM: It kinda was, Bob. But so was mine. I made a career doing the Tommy Smothers thing … you know … I couldn’t process fast enough so I stood there with a dumb look. People thought it was part of the act. Conan even thought it was brilliant!

BS: Well, Norm, I guess, I hope I’ll be seeing you. Do they have like social gatherings here?

NM: No. Can’t allow that. Too many smart phones. It’s really kind of lonely. We get to hang out with each other, a few others – John Denver plays for us now and then. Prince too, talentless bastard. I could barely sit through his shit. John Lennon even came by once, but that’s it. We cannot hang with normal people. It can be lonely.

BS: Do you play pool?

NM: Billiards? Yeah. I have a table. I’ll invite you over once things settle down for you.

BS: Thing about billiards, I’m not very good at that either.

NM: Me neither. I just sort of fake it. I got someone standing here wants to say hi …

BS: OK. Who is this?

FP: Oh, hi Bob. Freddie Prinze here. Man, you got lucky. I died at 22, my life’s been long and tedious. Only so much pool you can play …

15 thoughts on “Conversation overheard …

  1. I thought I was the only one who always understood that Saget, MacDonald, and Prince ALL were zero-talent ass-clowns who were very, very obviously royalty’d or payola’d into high-profile careers.

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  2. Amongst a sea of talentless whores of what could be easily classified as a coterie of crackpots, crack-heads and cretins of the comedy scene in the ’80’s and ’90’s, NM was a genius of extraordinaire talent and skill *(in a relative sense, i.e., relative to his coevals); with very few – if any – rivals of significance. Obviously, this statement should not imply – or even suggest – that NM was anything but a shill in the sense described above; however, once again, even taking in consideration my inherent biases on said subject (viz. we were both born in Canada), i feel compelled to proclaim NM was much more ‘talented’ than 99% of the comedians of his epoch; without question! That is all!! RGB-Y1 out!!

    NM’s talents and skills in comedy were not necessarily a byproduct of a superior intellect/IQ; as, surely, one can quite easily discern via his talk show/podcast. It really had to do with the inherent/innate qualities s/a timing and delivery; and, moreover, possessing the one prerequisite for any person to be inherently funny/humorous: egolessness! [And this fact, also, explains why, in general, i don’t find many American comedians to be that funny, viz., Americans, in general, are much more egoistic, hubristic and arrogant than Canadians (at least of yesteryear; not so much today)]. Hence, the explosion of comedic talent that was witnessed in the 1980’s/’90’s; wherein dozens upon dozens of Canadian comedians were represented in the Hollywood, comedy clubs and tv shows of that era (egs., Leslie Nielson; Dan Aykroyd; Tommy Chung; John Candy; Eugene Levy; Martin Short; Andrea Martin; Dave Thomas; Tom Green; Jim Carrey; Howie Mandel; Catherine O’Hara; Rick Moranis; Mike Myers; Dave Foley; Will Arnett; Russell Peters; etc.); with nary a one renowned, nay notorious for having inflated egos! (to put it another way, having a strong ego is wonderful for building bombs, creating corporations, conquering nations and erecting empires; but absolutely counterproductive in producing truly funny people; and no matter what you – or any other hack writer for that matter – might suggest, NM had that rare, rare ability to make people laugh! That is all!! RGB-Y1 out!!

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    1. For thirty years I’ve been aware of Norm, from stand-up to Saturday Night Live to movies and sitcoms to interviews, and I think I have yet to hear him be funny even once. Yet many (imbeciles?) regard him as some comedic genius.

      Where has he demonstrated any talent…?

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      1. Comedy is subjective, always. For me, Norm was funny until the day he died, at which time YouTube and the airwaves were full of him, and I just did not come across anything that was terribly funny. What WAS funny was the way other comedians reacted to him, like Conan and Dennis Miller, treating him like some sort of genius. Which he never claimed to be.

        I did notice that Saget jumped right in front of a camera and claimed to be his best friend, and then ‘died’ himself, which I thought very odd.

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  3. My response was less about ‘why the death of NM?’ * than an effort to state that even though the system attempts to extinguish all sparks of life, light and levity in our lives on a daily basis, there still are brief moments (‘as most moments are’; NM RIP) of mirth, merriment and magic manifested in our environs – that is, if one is only able to discern them; and for me, Norm provided a few of those moments in my life! (once again, i would never say he was a genius or completely genuine, i.e., that sparkle in his eye could have been reflective of much more sinister intentions; i get it. But in the same breath, with all of the crap and cretinous ‘kulture’ we, in N America, have had to suffer through over the past 6-7 decades, even a scintilla of fun and frivolity can feel like a small slice of nirvana; especially in contradistinction to the much larger hellscape we live in, i.e., our ‘culture/civilization.’

    *Why? – Why? – Why? (viz. attempting to discover a reason for something, nay, nay anything, nay everything) This is both 1 of the greatest attributes the West has produced in its concomitant peoples – along with 1 of its greatest blemishes! As, for all of the magnificent insights and inroads Western philosophers have contributed, over millennia, to the world, it has concomitantly induced an immense amount of suffering and senselessness as well. Perhaps, this is ‘why’ Heidegger transitioned from (Western) philosophy to poetry (Holderlin); or ‘why’ Schopenhauer’s magnum opus was highly reflective/influenced by Eastern thinking/being (Buddhism; a much more nuanced and (w)ho(e)istic account of human nature); or ‘why’ Wittgenstein’s behavior of reading and writing morphed into praying and faith! Suffice it to say, although i do believe it’s worthy to research and investigate certain topics and issues of significance, there are equally times when one should let it be; let it be; let it be – let it be!!

    ** Pardon the snarky and sophomoric rejoinder to your original post; guess you hit a nerve with your analysis of NM (once again, you’re probably correct): the creeps can’t even give schmucks like me 1 guy to cheer for; it hurts man (for real)!!! (by the by, i enjoy your writing; and, obviously, you’re talented at it) RGB-Y1 out!!

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    1. I like these kinds of comments, introspective and fierce. I don’t care what you think of my writing, though I like it when you like it. Most times if I hit on anything of lasting importance, it is by accident. This piece more or less was inspired by a Marc Maron interview with Tom and Dick Smothers. They are comfortably lodged in Sonoma, making wine, as they were legacy pups from the beginning, the only reason they attained fame. By pure chance, they were good on stage (for their time) and allowed to be anti-Vietnam. Dick, the younger one, did not give a shit about anything and just raced his cars, while Tom seemed to want to grasp onto their show as a matter of importance, but oddly, having real talent in himself and spotting others of talent. His talent was in his makeup, ADHD we call it now, not something he consciously developed. Still, it had staying power.

      There might have been some of that in Norm. He did not seem to give two shits for critics, did his own routine, and yet, while it was better than say a Bob Saget, it did not have staying power. He was cashed in. I find it odd that he lost so much money gambling, yet never went bankrupt. I suspect he had family resources to fall back on, or he never would have done that. He’s not stupid.

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        1. If any 1 of my comments are ‘introspective and fierce’ – fine; and if not, who cares! After all, i’m just a very simple hick from Canada; just like Norm! RGB-Y1 out!!

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    2. perhaps, Jim Morrison is hanging out with Paul McCartney having some … “MEAT LOAF” Just let it be, let it be… “LET IT BE”.

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  4. I liked Norm when I stumbled upon him. He wasn’t someone I would seek out, like George Carlin in the 70s or Steve Martin in the 80s.
    I saw the pilot of his talk show where are he yucked it up with David Spade. I recall finding it funny but I can’t recall anything that was actually said. The other episode I watched was with Lorne Michaels and it filled in a few blanks about the show and their relationship.
    My spotty memory recalls that just before Norm was sacked on SNL, he shit all over NBC news, claiming they had, at best, a 42% accuracy rate. I assumed that’s what got him fired, but it turns out that an NBC exec, Don Ohlmeyer (sports director?), who was tight with OJ, had Michaels fire Norm for shitting all over The Juice.

    As for whether he’s actually dead or not, my suspicions were raised when it turned out, like out of nowhere, Norm had a gambling problem. For those on the grassy knoll, the first response would be he got whacked by his bookie. But of course the bookie won’t get paid if he kills his mark, so that doesn’t fly.
    My best guess at the moment is that if there was one comedian who would call out the Covid bullshit and it’s delays, surges and goal post adjustments for returning to ‘normal’ , and start making vicious fun of it, even ‘too soon’, it would be Norm. He seemed to seek out the politically incorrect for material more than anyone else with a network presence. That could be a factor in this persona’s cancellation. Just a starting guess.

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