The Late Show with David Letterman
MARCH 23, 1999 (CBS)

The Norm Show

NORM: After the show, I got returned to my first love of doing nothing. [Laughter.] I hung out for a while and then I started on this than I everything like that --

DAVE: It turned out great!

NORM: It turned out alright. I got a chance to just be --

DAVE: Vindication.

NORM: What? I don't know who knows how the well the show will do?

DAVE: I think it will do very well, because you're on right after the very popular "Drew Carey Show," and then your show, people dialing in to see you, and then low and behold, and you know, by the way, a lot of stuff on tv aint that entertaining -- [Pause. Laughter.] -- they dial up your show, and holy crap, it's actually funny!

NORM: Well, it's good that it's going up after "The Drew Carey Show," because a lot of people watch that, and then people, they never turn the channels --

DAVE: That's right, they don't. It's inertia. [Laughter.]

NORM: Yeah. Even with the clicker --

DAVE: Well, they're in for a great surprise, my friend.

NORM: Oh, that's nice.

DAVE: Congratulations, I'm very happy.

NORM: You are? That's nice.

DAVE: Yeah. At the time [of Norm's firing], I think I was more upset than you were, and now, now that you are back up top I feel like I'm happier than you are. [Laughter.] I feel like I care more about your career than you do. [Laughter.] Is that possible?

NORM: Well, I, uh, uh ... mostly I like watching TV. [Laughter.]

Life Is Beautiful

DAVE: If you like watching TV you had your hands full last night, with the academy awards, there, you had 4 hours, there. Did you get to see any of that?

NORM: Well, I watched it all. I don't know the movies this year, you know? The only movie I saw is the "Life Is Beautiful" movie, because I love Roberto Benigni! [Applause.] I had never seen him in a movie, the only time I had ever seen him was on your show, and he's always real funny. So I went to that show, that movie he was in, "Life Is Beautiful," and I tell you something about that movie -- it might be a great movie and everything, but it's got a huge drawback -- none of the characters speak English. [Laughter.] You know? For me, a person who -- it's the only language I understand is English. I'm like screwed, you know, I'm like what the hell? [Laughter.] Then of course the title is English, they fool you, you know -- "Life Is Beautiful." Those are 3 English words. I wouldn't have gone if it was "Amore, D'Amore, Amore," you know what I mean? That's an Italian word.

DAVE: Is it, I don't know?

NORM: It's the only Italian word I know. So I get in there, it's all these dudes speaking Italian. They put words, you know --

DAVE: Subtitles.

NORM: Subtitles. So now I have to read, which is the reason I go to movies so I DON'T have to read. [Laughter.] And you know how annoying it is when your reading and someone is reading over your shoulder? Well, there's like 200 people reading over your shoulder. [Laughter.]

NORM: But he's a funny guy. He pretended the whole unplesantness over there in Europe was a joke.

DAVE: Yeah, is that what it is? [Laughter.]

NORM: He has a kid, a little 10-year-old child, and they go to a Nazi concentration camp. And his kid is not that bright. [Laughter.] So he just pretends to the kid, and you'll see like crazy Nazis doing it [marching] and then Roberto Benigni gets behind them and goes -- [Making faces.] -- and the kid thinks its a big joke. [Laughter.]

DAVE: Let's move on Norm.

NORM: Yeah.

Afraid I'll Crash

NORM: Yeah, I don't like Los Angeles.

DAVE: You're originally Canadian, right, up from the Toronto area?

NORM: Toronto, yeah.

DAVE: Come down here to New York.

NORM: I come to New York. And Toronto and New York is great, because they have cabs and subways and I don't know how to drive a car, you know?

DAVE: You don't drive at all?

NORM: No, I never learned how.

DAVE: Really?

NORM: Yeah.

DAVE: Why?

NORM: Well, I don't like them. I find them dangerous, you know? [Laughter.] Like, you're driving when you're in a car, and you're going like 70, and then another car comes, and he's doing like 70, right? [Laughter.] And there's like a foot between you -- and your like [Grunts.], and they're honking [More grunts.] , and then who knows -- isn't only a foot. [Laughter.] They move and there's a crash -- and you're always seeing crashes -- every time you drive there's a crash -- there's a big twisted wreckage of a crash, and nobody seems to care, they're like "Oh, I guess I'll be late for work." [Laughter.]

DAVE: So you don't drive at all?


NORM: You know, like imagine, you're in a plane and you're flying, and you look out, and there's some plane wreckage on a mountain. [Laughter.] Right? Or a plane comes besides you like 10 feet. [Grunts.] He's honking --

DAVE: That's sky rage. [Laughter.] No, I don't think so.

Those Dirty Bike Thieves

DAVE: You're living in Los Angeles, where it's nearly essential to be able to drive.

NORM: Yeah, everything's far apart from each other --

DAVE: What do you do?

NORM: I bought myself a bicycle. And, I don't know how to drive a bicycle either, but on a bicycle, you can just go on the sidewalk, so you're the most dangerous. So, I go to the bike store. I don't know. And the guy's telling me "Hey!" They had all these bikes, and they have all this technical equipment -- mountain bike. I go, "I'm not going to be on a mountain. [Laughter.] I'm just going to be on the road. The sidewalks." So he goes uh, "what kind of bike you looking for?" So I wanted, I said, "I don't know, I think I'd like a red bike." [Laughter.] And uh, so he sells me this one, and it's very complicated now a days, you got to get a lock. And it's not like the old days just a soft one, they're hard -- these hard locks, because you always got to stay ahead of the bike thieves. So this bike lock was impossible --

DAVE: A combination kind of deal?

NORM: No, you had to go around the thing -- like twist it -- anyways. [Laughter.] It's hard to explain. I drive on my bike to get some groceries, over to Ralph's --

DAVE: You shop at Ralph's?

NORM: Oh, Ralph's is the best! Do you like apples?

DAVE: Yeah. Produce? Good produce?

NORM: Yeah man, the best apples. --

DAVE: Do they run a lot of specials at Ralph's? [Laughter.] Or do they have like the every day low prices?

NORM: No, they are everyday low prices. So I get my bicycle to the Ralph's place. And I try to get this damn lock on, and it doesn't work. I can't figure it out, or anything like that, so I figure to myself, I figure, "I'll just leave it here unlocked ... because what's the odds of my bicycle and a dirty bicycle thief showing up at the same time."

DAVE: You're not going to be in there all day.

NORM: Yeah, just like five minutes. Buy some cookies, and like, uh, an apple. [Laughter.] I get my groceries out. ... I bought a whole bunch of groceries, and my bicycle's gone!


NORM: Yeah! Some dirty bicycle thief has stolen it. You know?

DAVE: Oh my god! That's unbelievable. You have terrible luck.

NORM: It's just a happenstance that that happened.

NORM: So there's a security guy there, the Ralph's security guy. And I said to him, "Hey man, did you see somebody steal a bike?" And he said, "No, I saw somebody just get on a bike and ride away. ... Was it locked?" [Laughter.] I go, "of course it was locked." And then I realized I'm holding the lock. [Laughter.]

DAVE: It's a bad deal.

Surprise! It's Don King

DAVE: What kind of a kid were you when you were a kid?

NORM: Me? When I was growing up? I was alright (laughter) But I want to talk about the show. The Norm Show. Because I have to do this.

DAVE: Tell the people what it's about...

NORM: Because I have to promote it. You know? I have to promote it. I'm not comfortable promoting, but

DAVE: You only have to promote the first one, then everything takes care of itself.

NORM: It's about me. I play a dude named Norm. That was my idea. And uh, so I'm a guy who got kicked out of the NHL for gambling. So I have to do community service as a social worker, you know? And I hate it. I don't enjoy being a social worker. So, That sounds pretty funny, right?

DAVE: I've seen the first two shows, and it made me laugh out loud.

NORM: See the problem is, Dave, I'm not a great promoter. And my manager's always telling me I have to get out and promote, and I'm not comfortable with that, so I'd rather just talk and tell stupid stories and stuff like that. So I was thinking, since my manager's always like "you should promote it," I was thinking maybe he could come out and promote it himself, you know what I'm saying. ... Yeah, I got a manager, I had to...because I had an agent, and he was no good, so they said I have to get a manager. So they said Maybe Mike Ovitz. All these guys. I picked this dude, maybe I can bring him out, and he can promote a show.

DAVE: You're not talking about right now are you?

NORM: Yeah, he's here right now, come on out!

DON KING: Norm MacDonald. (unintelligible). Funny Man, Funny Man. Norm Macdonald yall. Norm Macdonald, Yeah. He put the C in comedy, the L in levity, and it's our show on Wednesday night, at 9:30 on ABC. I'm excited, I'm excited. Norm Macdonald y'all, on the great David Letterman...

DAVE: Don shouldn't you be out fixing fights?

DON: I'm in new business now.

NORM: He's not with boxing.

DON: They didn't want me there, so I'm here with Norm, and Norm's show gonna be great. That's how I predicted about this man, sitting hear years ago, that he would be globafied in a universal...and there he is. There he is.

DAVE: Don, what happened with that Lennox Lewis thing?

NORM: Let me tell you about the Lennox Lewis thing. If you fix a fight, you do not go to the judges, am I right?

DON: That is right. That is right. Not only is he funny, he is clever. He understands. We are so excited to have our new show Norm.

NORM: Let me tell you something, it's gonna be tough. We have tough competition here on CBS. We're up against 60 Minutes II.

DON: 60 minutes who? ... Does it have Mike Wallace? (No.) Ed Bradley? (No.) Morley Safer? (No.) Andy Rooney? (No.) Uh, Leslie Stall? (No.) What are you talking about...60 who? (laughter) ... It's the Norm Macdonald show. You aint got no competition, you gonna sore like an eagle. I'm telling you, this is a great comedy act....this man is good. And I'll tell you what makes America great, this man is a Canadian, but we welcome him in. America...the greatest nation in the word.

NORM: And you know who else is on the show... Laurie Metcalf...

DON: Three time Emmy winner! God she's funny. Beautiful lady. David, you've been so nice, here he is on another network, and your heart is so big, and you step out, and help a guy who is struggling, bring him in the forefront... you're to be commended.

DAVE: Thank you Don. You done with this? Give Don a standing 8 count.

NORM: Since I've been in business with Don. My career is going excellently...and I'll tell you something.

DAVE: (interrupts) Norm Macdonald, Don King, everyone...

Thank you Jacob Walker for transcribing this appearance.