Norm was a revered stand-up comic, writer and beloved talk show panel guest. He is best known for his Saturday Night Live tenure from 1993 - 1998 during which he hosted 'Weekend Update' for three seasons and portrayed Burt Reynolds in the recurring Celebrity Jeopardy sketch.
Where Norm became a legend was in comedy clubs and theaters, where his razor-sharp observational comedy both challenged and leveled audiences.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” his longtime partner Lori Joe Hoekstra said in a statement confirming Norm's passing. “He never wanted the [cancer] diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”
Norm's peers and the many comics he inspired took to social media Tuesday and Wednesday to share their appreciation for his career and friendship.
"Good bye, Norm," wrote Patton Oswalt in a Tweet. "You were never not 100% hilarious."
That prompted a reply from Steve Martin, who added: "We loved Norm Macdonald. One of a kind."
Sarah Silverman wrote that she considers Norm "a comedy genre of his own. No one like him on this planet."
NBA star Blake Griffin recalled a funny moment with Norm from his 2011 Rookie of the Year press conference. Norm asked Griffin his thoughts on the the ROtY "curse" in that "no one has ever repeated it." Griffin deadpanned at the time that he hoped he could be the first.
Tim Allen recalled Norm as a "wonderful man and a great comic." David Cross noted that Norm was the first person to reach out to him when he was enduring a tough patch in his career.
"We can all agree Norm Macdonald was the best," wrote Ken Jeong.
Seth Rogen says he would stay up late as a kid to catch Norm's talk show appearances. He even copped to ripping off Norm's delivery in his early days as an actor.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane wrote that Norm was always appreciated for his comedy but loved for his "generous" personality.
Brian Posehn celebrated Norm's subversive side, recalling his performance at the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget. Norm "gleefully" dug into "a bit that the live audience wasn't buying. Meanwhile, the other comics and myself were in tears and in awe of one of the funniest humans ever."
Conan O'Brien confessed he was "absolutely devastated" at the news of Norm's passing, writing that Norm was "so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny."
Even former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, whom Norm famously lampooned on SNL during the 1996 Presidential race, remembered the comic as "a great talent, and I loved laughing with him on SNL. *Bob Dole* will miss Norm Macdonald."
Canadian President Justin Trudeau remembered Norm as a "comedic genius, and a great Canadian."