Getting dumped from Saturday Night Live can mean being hurled
into comedy oblivion (where is the 1980 cast?). But not for
wily Norm Macdonald. After his high-profile removal from
"Weekend Update" last year, he outfoxed NBC by quickly going
on CBS's Late Show, where David Letterman trained his guns on
the pair's former bosses. Now Macdonald, 36, has exacted even
sweeter revenge by launching a promising sitcom on a rival
network. The debut of ABC's The Norm Show (Wednesdays, 9:30
P.M./ET) pulled the second-highest ratings (among adults, 18
to 49) for any midseason comedy premiere this year, holding on
to most of The Drew Carey Show's audience -- a chronic worry
at the network. It wouldn't be Norm-al, though, if the sardonic
star (who is separated from his wife, Connie; the couple has a
6-year-old son, Dylan) weren't stirring up trouble. On the show,
he plays a tax-evading ex-hockey player sentenced to five years
of community service as a social worker; the National Association
of Social Workers has protested that he is giving them a bad
name. We decided to get an update on the controversy, and a few
other things, from the ex-"Updater" himself.
GOOD THING HE'S NOT PLAYING A GUY DOING FIVE YEARS AS A GAMBINO
"If you're going to have somebody protesting your show, it's
good that it's social workers. If you're doing The Sopranos, and
the Mafia didn't care for their portrayal, that'd be something to
worry about. But I could take any social worker -- bring 'em on."
WHY YOU'LL NEVER KNOW IF HE HAS CHEST HAIR
"I'm against nudity. I don't like seeing it on TV. I'm not
comfortable with my body. I prefer wearing long, baggy clothes,
anything to cover up my emaciated frame. I haven't worked out
WHAT'LL HAPPEN IF NORM STAYS HOT (PLUS: A SECRET PLAN TO INFLATE
HIS AUTOGRAPH'S VALUE)
"I guess lots of strangers will constantly be asking me to write
my name on paper. I'll write it down, and it'll be worth
something if I ever hit 75 home runs."
AND IF THE SHOW EVER TANKS...
"My mom said that her friend Molly has this store, Mmm...Muffins.
There's a place for me in case things fall apart. I don't know
how to make them, so I guess I'd be the sales guy, pushing the
carrots this week."
IN REAL LIFE: NORM MACDONALD, CPA
"When I started standup, when I first paid my taxes -- I didn't
know you weren't supposed to do this -- I sent in all my receipts
in the envelope."
ALAS, THE SNL "UPDATE" THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
"I would have gone very pro-Monica Lewinsky, pro-Linda Tripp and
anti-Clinton. I believe there's nothing wrong with being a snitch.
Informants are a very important part of our legal system."
SEX? MAYBE WHEN HE RUNS OUT OF QUARTERS
"Most people like it, but I find it incredibly repetitive and just
kind of dull. There are so many other fun things to do. I don't
care how good people say sex is: If they ever play Frogger in an
arcade, they'll change their mind quickly."
HOW ABC ONLY THINKS IT FORCED THE SHOW'S TITLE ON HIM -- LITTLE
KNOWING THE TRUTH
"They wanted to call it The Norm Show, but I thought people would
think it was Norm from Cheers. The character Norm Henderson is
actually based on these two Toronto Maple Leaf hockey players I
liked when I was a child, Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson."
IF NORM MACDONALD WERE GOD, WHAT HE WOULD HAVE NAMED THE SHOW
"You know Everybody Loves Raymond? A good name for it would be
Some People Like Norm."