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Norm Macdonald Tells Howard Stern: “You’d Have To Have Down Syndrome” To Not “Feel Sorry” For Harassment Victims

Deadline logo Deadline 9/12/2018 Greg Evans
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(Video provided by THR.com)

Norm Macdonald, whose scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was canceled by NBC in response to the Netflix comic’s comments about #MeToo, told radio host Howard Stern this morning that “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for harassment victims.

“Down syndrome,” Macdonald repeated. “That’s my new word.”

Macdonald expressed regret over agreeing to a print interview (his comments supporting Roseanne Barr, Louis C.K. and Chris Hardwick appeared in the Hollywood Reporter). “I wish I never had to do interviews,” Macdonald said on The Howard Stern Show, “especially print interviews. They ask you questions that maybe you don’t want to answer.”

“I’m a f*cking dumb guy,” said the host of Netflix’s upcoming Norm Macdonald Has a Show. “I get confused a lot and sh*t.”

Macdonald said he was told personally by Fallon backstage last night that he’d been bumped. They’d initially considered having Macdonald make a statement addressing the controversy at the beginning of the show, with Macdonald then suggesting making the statement at the end of the show. Some comedy bits with Macdonald and guest Matthew McConaughey had already been scrapped, but all agreed that Macdonald could talk about the late Burt Reynolds.

Norm MacDonald smiling for the camera © REX/Shutterstock “Then Jimmy came back in, said can I talk to you buddy?”, Macdonald said. “He was very broken up about it, he said ‘I don’t know what to do..it’s just that I have so much pressure, people are crying. Senior producers are crying.’

“I was like good Lord, bring them in and let me talk to them, I don’t want to make people cry,” he said. “Jimmy said come back whenever you want, but I think it’ll hurt the show tonight.”

Macdonald said he’s spoken to Netflix honcho Ted Sarandos and that “he knows I’m a good person.”

Tomorrow’s appearance on ABC’s The View is still on, Macdonald said, though he seemed to be reconsidering a print interview with Rolling Stone.

Though his tone-deaf Down syndrome comment seems likely to stir up a whole new controversy, Macdonald walked back his earlier #MeToo statement, telling Stern that the movement “is what you want for your daughters. We want that to be the future world, of course.”

Of Macdonald’s nixed Tonight appearance, NBC stated, “Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today, The Tonight Show has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday’s telecast.”

In the THR interview, Macdonald said he was glad that #MeToo seemed to have “slowed down a little bit,” and said of C.K. and Barr, “There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”

He later clarified his comments and apologized on Twitter.

Macdonald’s Netflix program, Norm MacDonald Has a Show, remains on track for a Sept. 14 launch.

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