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James Corden Pays Tribute to Norm Macdonald: “There Was Nobody Quite Like Him”

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 9/15/2021 Trilby Beresford

James Corden dedicated a portion of The Late Late Show on Tuesday to remembering veteran comedian Norm Macdonald, who died of cancer earlier in the day. He was 61.

“Some really sad news today — we have lost an absolute comedy legend, I’m sure you will have seen this in the news today: Norm Macdonald passed away today, far too soon, far too young, after a nine-year battle with cancer,” said Corden. “A battle that Norm never told anybody about. Because all Norm ever wanted to do was make us laugh, and he was absolutely brilliant at it.”

Corden went on to say, “There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged anytime I got to be in his orbit. He leaves us as one of the all time greatest comics, perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late night television.”

The late night host went on to recall a time Macdonald was on the show and did a bit about Mickey Mouse. “It wasn’t a planned bit. He said: ‘Mickey Mouse is huge at Disney World. If you see Mickey Mouse at Disney World, you’re like, yeah, go, kids! If you see that same Mickey Mouse at 7-Eleven, you’re holding the kids back.'”

During the segment, Late Late Show writer and comedian Ian Karmel said that watching Macdonald felt like watching a magic act “where you didn’t know what was going to come next; you were just completely in the palm of his hand.” Reggie Watts called him a “legend” and offered “massive amounts of respect.”

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Among notable moments in his career, Macdonald joined Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s and anchored the “Weekend Update” segments. He was remembered by a spokesperson of the SNL team as “one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation.”

Many other names in Hollywood paid tribute to Macdonald via social media, including Seth Rogen, Jon Stewart, Edgar Wright, Whitney Cummings and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. The comic was labeled as a “comedy giant” and “one of the all time greats” by his colleagues and fans.

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