At some point in the future, inevitably, Norm MacDonald’s long-running reign as “Best Late Night Guest” will end. Not only will he be replaced by someone more widely considered to be the “Best Late Night Guest,” (a guy named Johnny Future, probably), but he will, as all things do, fade even more deeply into obscurity. If he comes up in conversation over a slice of space-pie (served with astronaut ice cream), our great-great-great-great-grandchildren will pick their bored heads up off the hover-table and say “who was Norb McDonald’s?” and we will have to explain that he was a comedian who somehow managed to turn incredibly obtuse, sophisticated-hammy, and self-indulgent strings of jokes into late night gold. “What’s late night gold?” they will ask, sipping on some robo-cola. “Well,” we will be forced to explain, “late night was a particular subset of a television programming that involved comedy sketches, and interviews with celebrities, and musical performances.” They will look at us blankly, because they don’t even feel like answering the next, most obvious question: “what is television programming,” and they will chalk it up to our old brains deteriorating within the titanium exo-skeleton that is keeping us alive.

But that’s not for awhile. Norm MacDonald’s remains the Best Late Night Guest. For now. And besides, the world will be covered in water by then anyway (2012). He was on Conan again last night. After the jump.

Part One:

Part Two:

Ha! The king! Obviously, Steve Zahn is also the Best Late Night Guest. Relax. We should all be better at SHARING.

Comments (46)
  1. He was great but his face went all Gwyneth’s legs on us.

  2. Thanks, Gabe. Now I cannot wait until I’m a Half-Lifer, explaining to my kids–as things around me revert back to some older form, and Jory tries to eat me away–who the hell Norm MacDonald is and why they should care. I wonder if I can offer them Werther’s Orignals from half-life.

  3. Um wtf?  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 -5

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  4. he reigns supreme.

  5. Norm McDonald will be replaced by the Robin Williams-bot 3000.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • It’s just you, Senator.

      • I don’t know, I think Tankerbell is right…I saw an ad for Leno just the other day in which he and the writers are all sitting at conference table and Leno pulls out a newspaper and says “Okay, funny headlines…oh, here’s a good one” and then he snickers for effect and says “This is so ridiculous: “Waitress Wanted–Work From Home!” Everyone laughs at the appropriate time and he goes on to elucidate thusly: “How can you be a waitress AND work from home??” And he was sincere, whereas Norm is totally ironic. Plus if anyone deserves to be cleverly ridiculed it is Jay Leno.

        • My bad Tank, it’s you and Carrie. Perhaps someone else also agrees, so I was being presumptuous. You are still wrong though; this does not feel like Norm doing Leno, unless your ability to properly feel is broken and needs to be repaired.

          Don’t forget that Norm rose to prominence on Weekend Update, which I understand was largely written by him, so he’s had a lot of experience using newspapers to inspire and write jokes. Leno also does this as do many other comedians, but I don’t think Norm’s version resembles Leno’s at all. If Norm wanted to do Leno, his rhythms and joke structure would resemble Leno’s in some way. To me, this feels like Norm doing Norm.

          I’d now like to apologize for pointing out how wrong you are, Mr and Mrs Wrong. Enjoy your honeymoon!

          • Whoa relax, I was just saying it seems like an ironic take on Jay’s brand of humor, not him as a person. I mean it’s obviously not an impression. Hope Douchechill U pays you well.

          • I am no Technojeremy; I will never relax! I demand satisfaction! *slaps Carrie in the face with a glove* Choose your weapon!

            Nah, I’m just kidding. You guys are great.

    • It kind of seems like Norm Does Christopher Walken!

  7. I’m gonna start calling it a “swastica” from now on.

    • Raaaaaaaandy  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 +5

      I understand Tarantino has made swastikas “in” right now… but do you plan on using the word on a daily basis?

  8. so awesome that “Dirty Work” makes the current resume.

  9. Thomas Haden Church is maybe the most boring person this side of Mark Ruffalo. But it was worth watching just to see Mr. MacDonald kind of get under his skin.

    “I wasn’t in Open Range…”

  10. How meta was Norm’s bit? The parts that bombed were funnier than the parts that succeeded.

    • Also, the moth joke: AMAZING.

    • I’m sorry but what do you mean by meta? I think you mean absurdist or something else. Can we as a society agree to only say meta when it is appropriate? Also, it’s a suffix, not an adjective. I know I am being both your girlfriend and Professor Meta Over Here, but I can stand idly by no longer. This is pretty much the thing I care most about in life so let’s take this seriously please.

      • Fuck, prefix*

      • It was metacomedy. The thrust of the humor was based on an unspoken deconstruction of what makes comedy funny. Every part of every joke that should have bombed was a hilarious commentary on humor. Absurdism in entertainment is usually a form of metatheatre or metafiction, even though that terminology wasn’t in popular use at the time of its invention. Not that I don’t understand your irritation; I also wish it wasn’t used so cavalierly or as a standalone adjective. Still, it wasn’t an inappropriate description of MacDonald’s humor.

        • Okay. That is absolutely correct, and while our poor zombie dog’s use can also be construed as correct, I really didn’t get the impression he was using it that way. And of course now I feel like a TOTAL douchechill. And for the record EtWB, I like you and think you are a good fellow monster and please don’t hate me :(

          • I was certain that you or someone else would say, “Okay, Professor Absurdity” or, “Professor Metacomedy, over here.” They’d be right. I even have tenure at Douchechill University.

          • S’all good, Carrie-babe. I was beginning to wonder if I had stretched its usage too far.

            Probably still did.

        • Thank you for expanding on it. Dead on. Hammer, meet nail.

        • Not to be all Adjunct Professor of Metacomedy here, but I thought I’d point out that the meta-ness of Norm’s humor didn’t go “unspoken,” per se, but actually was explicitly signaled when he introduced the moth joke as a retelling of a joke his driver had told him. So we’re listening to this joke as a secondhand joke, a copy, and us meta-heads (crankheads–>seinfeldheads–>metaheads) are already aware of the jokiness of the joke, all the strategies, rhetoric, timing, delivery, etc. that go into a joke (and what makes it funny), and we’re laughing because Norm is mimicking the driver’s delivery, rhetoric, strategies, etc. but also, because he’s Norm, not mimicking very convincingly and really just doing what he usually does, intentionally bombing/killing a joke, and Conan is inserting himself into all of this and pointing out that the joke is bombing (and going on and on, like this sentence), and Conan’s criticism of the joke is just another layer that makes it funnier, because we’re now all complicit with Conan in wondering when the joke is going to end, and then when he (Norm) does finish the joke, and we see that it’s really just a cutesy punchline of a joke that your 7 year old brother would breathlessly tell you after hearing it out on the playground, it’s the meta cherry (sorry) on top of it all because the joke never required such a buildup, and the buildup is really incongruous and out of place to it (the punchline), and so we have a failure of a stupid playground joke nested inside the failure (bombing) of an overly long and overwrought telling of the joke, nested inside a failure at repeating/mimicking the telling of the joke, which, if it (the original, driver-told joke) was anything like the joke Norm made it to be, was a bad joke anyway. I need a nap.

          • I agree, actually. The setup of his earlier jokes even involved a dissection of process and eventual abandonment and replacement of that process. His set was entirely and explicitly metacomedy. He doesn’t always approach it that way, and sometimes it is more implicit, but it is always there.

            We should team up and write an article for Metacomedy Studies Quarterly.

          • I call treasurer!

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • prig,
      this is a personal message to you. Please just copy, paste and delete this when you see this because this is a super-private messahe.
      good. Now prig, I say this with the utmost respect but can you please not post your comments twice? I think I’m a pretty good comment reader but I get DELIRIOUS when I see two comments. I think I’m stuck in some weird movie with evil clones out to kill me.
      your high school “blog 101″ teacher you clearly never listened to

    • you can’t just break up a paragraph. it maybe looks big, but all the sentences belong in there. if you wanted to argue that it should have been broken up into dialogue, i’d listen. and then i’d tell you that you don’t write for videogum.

  12. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Seriously, Gabe. What is that, six or seven sentences in a paragraph? Who do you think you are – Samuel Beckett?

      Well, I’ve had it with your experimental prose. I come here, use up my attention span, and then I have no energy left for watching TV. IF I WANTED TO READ A BOOK I’D GO TO STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE!!!!!

      I don’t want to read a book.

  13. Warren J  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    He’s very tan…

  14. Gabe, I could listen to you talk about the future all day. Don’t you mean read? No, Gabe. I don’t. Don’t open your closet. I’m busy in there.

  15. archetype for my ideal old codger

  16. It was almost sad to see Haden Church have this whole slideshow comic bit prepared, only to have the whole thing thrown off by Norm’s off-beat humour. almost sad.

  17. If anyone else did this, it would be annoying. But for some reason Norm MacDonald makes it hilarious.

  18. I plan on hooking my children’s cerebral cortexes up to my own, so they can experience me watching Norm as if it was 2009 all over again.

  19. When great minds think alike: Jon Glaser recently did an overlong and brilliant expansion on the old “why don’t they just make airplanes out of the black boxes” joke.

  20. This is so much like those (Youtube) clips of Crispin Glover completely high and awkward on Letterman, if that had worked.

  21. Every time I see Norm I wonder: why is he funny? Not because I don’t think he’s funny (he’s the very much king of funny) but what is it that makes him funny? Is it because I know that no matter what his ‘bit’ is it’s going to be an obtuse gem of hilarity? I agree with whichever one of you said that anyone else doing this would be terrible, but with Norm it totally works. PS Dirty Work was the best.

  22. I like shiny things.

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