Entertainment Weekly Online
MARCH 1999 -- BY A.J. JACOBS AND JOSH WOLK
Beyond the Norm
Is Norm Macdonald ready for prime time? As his new
sitcom debuts, he tells EW Online about acting
tips he learned from Roseanne and why he loves to work dirty
Norm Macdonald was booted
off "Saturday Night Live" last
year because NBC president
Don Ohlmeyer didn't think he
was funny. Now Macdonald is
testing the sense of humor
of executives at a whole new
network, ABC, where he's
debuting his sitcom "The Norm Show"
9:30 p.m.). Macdonald, 36, plays an ex-NHL player
charged with tax evasion and sentenced to work
social worker. But don't let the words "social worker"
make you worry that Macdonald has become cuddly
now that he's moved to prime time. EW Online talks
with him about acting tips he picked up from his old
boss Roseanne (he wrote for "Roseanne"), his passion
for dirty jokes, and his deep love for the word "whore."
How would you describe "The Norm Show"?
It's a combination of "The Dick Van Dyke
New Dick Van Dyke Show," and "Diagnosis
should have gotten Dick Van Dyke.
How do you like it over at ABC?
I like ABC because it's the American Broadcasting
Company. I think that's nice. NBC, they don't
what nationality it is. And CBS...that's a bunch of
f---ing Colombians. (Note: CBS stands for the
Columbia Broadcasting System.)
How are you adjusting to sitcom life?
On "Saturday Night Live" they put a giant cue
foot from your face, and you just read it
the camera. On this you have to memorize the script.
And they're rewriting it, so you can't memorize
show night, (costar) Laurie Metcalf's struggling with
what she'll do, where her character is and all
just trying to remember the words.
How's your acting technique coming?
Roseanne once said (the secret of acting was) if you're
supposed to be sad, you frown. If you're
be happy, you smile. I watched her, and it was true.
But I can't frown, I can't do sad. I'm halfway
there -- I
smile when I'm happy, plus when I'm sad. But that
gives me somewhere to go in year eight.
Are you getting plenty of opportunities to say your
favorite word: "whore"?
In the first two shows, I said whore and it got
laugh every time I said it. Then the producers
don't want to do that every show. I say, why
wait till the audience stops laughing, and then we'll
stop doing it.
Well, you could always turn it into a famous
catchphrase. Fonzie had "Ayyy," and you could have
Good idea. "Where's the whores?" Something
I just don't want to use any of those words that nobody
uses but they use on TV, like "tush." Remember on
"Hill Street Blues," that one character was
talk like he was from the street? He'd say,
dirtball. You scuzzy dirtball."
Why didn't you do a show for cable, where you can
swear all you want?
I was either gonna go to HBO or do a sitcom, but I
found out you make way more money on a sitcom. I
love "Dennis Miller Live," because you can be
as you want. I'm always amazed that some people go
on his show and don't be dirty. It's like crazy,
Why is being dirty so funny?
It's just with stand-up, you can talk about
want to. So it's weird you would talk about