Norm Macdonald reflected on mortality in Netflix special filmed before his death at 61

Norm Macdonald spoke about mortality in his final comedy special Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which dropped on Netflix on Monday.

In the posthumous release, the comedian – who died at 61 on September 14, 2021 after battling leukemia for almost 10 years – did not speak about his personal health, but spoke on topics such as speaking with God, composing his will and asking his family to ‘pull the plug’ on him if he was in a coma.

The Saturday Night Live alum had recorded the special by himself at a desk in his home in a single take prior to undergoing surgery amid his illness, according to the streaming service.

Details: The late Norm Macdonald spoke about his own mortality in his final comedy special Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which dropped on Netflix on Monday

Details: The late Norm Macdonald spoke about his own mortality in his final comedy special Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which dropped on Netflix on Monday

In the special, Macdonald sported a plaid blazer with a ballcap and headphones he was partial to because they covered his hair, which had turned white.

‘I don’t want anybody painting my hair black on account I don’t want to die and then be surprised when God says, “Well, I made your hair white – what do you think that was all about? I was telling ya to get your affairs in order for God’s sake, “‘the Quebec City-born comic said.

Macdonald in the special spoke about the importance of having a living will, saying, ‘You’ve got to be ready for anything life throws at you, in this world here. That’s what I’ve learned, as I’ve aged … you only got so much time; you’ve got to choose. ‘

A title card in the special read: ‘Norm was working hard preparing material for his Netflix special – until COVID shut things down. In the summer of 2020, he was scheduled to undergo a procedure and as he put it, “didn’t want to leave anything on the table in case things went south.” At home, the night before going in, he shot this – in one take. ‘

Macdonald in the special spoke about the importance of having a living will, saying, 'You've got to be ready for anything life throws at you, in this here world'

Macdonald in the special spoke about the importance of having a living will, saying, ‘You’ve got to be ready for anything life throws at you, in this here world’

In the special, Macdonald sported a plaid blazer with a ballcap and headphones he was partial to because they covered his hair, which had turned white

In the special, Macdonald sported a plaid blazer with a ballcap and headphones he was partial to because they covered his hair, which had turned white

The special is divided into about 50 minutes of material from Macdonald with another half-hour of Macdonald’s friends and comedy colleagues – including Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Molly Shannon, Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien and David Spade – providing commentary.

Chappelle said in the special, ‘This guy was, in a weird way, reconciling his mortality, hilariously. And ironically, he’s no longer with us. We’re sitting in the aftermath of Norm Macdonald, watching him be incredibly alive. ‘

Letterman said of Macdonald filming the special during his illness: ‘His circumstance, he nudged into it several times, but didn’t linger. And to us, from this perspective, powerfully meaningful. ‘

Sandler said that Macdonald ‘never let you know anything’ about his health, though he ‘did get emotional’ when they performed on a tour together.

In the posthumous release, the comedian did not speak about his personal health, but spoke on topics such as speaking with God, composing his will and asking his family to 'pull the plug' on him if he was in a coma.

In the posthumous release, the comedian did not speak about his personal health, but spoke on topics such as speaking with God, composing his will and asking his family to ‘pull the plug’ on him if he was in a coma.

A title card in the special explained the circumstances behind the special

A title card in the special explained the circumstances behind the special

Macdonald died at 61 on September 14, 2021 after battling leukemia for almost 10 years.  He was snapped performing in San Diego in 2017

Macdonald died at 61 on September 14, 2021 after battling leukemia for almost 10 years. He was snapped performing in San Diego in 2017

‘He would just all of a sudden get really teary-eyed and stuff, and he’d be like this is wonderful, just the tour itself,’ Sandler said. ‘He’d just be so much fun to see. He had so much energy to hang. ‘

Shannon recalled how Macdonald was uncharacteristically emotional with her when they saw each other at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special in 2015.

She said, ‘As soon as he saw me he was like,’ I love you, Molly. ‘ He blurted it out, right away. I could feel that he had this urgency to say exactly what was on his mind at the moment because maybe he’ll never have that moment again. I was like, “Oh, something’s different with Norm.”

The comic was known for hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, as well as his standup work and the feature film Dirty Work

The comic was known for hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, as well as his standup work and the feature film Dirty Work

A number of the late comic's peers gathered for a celebration of his life earlier this month in LA

A number of the late comic’s peers gathered for a celebration of his life earlier this month in LA

Molly Shannon recalled in the special how Macdonald was uncharacteristically emotional with her when they saw one another at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special in 2015

Molly Shannon recalled in the special how Macdonald was uncharacteristically emotional with her when they saw one another at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special in 2015

Conan O'Brien said that following Macdonald's death, he realized that the comedian would not have wanted the attention of people knowing about his health battle.

Conan O’Brien said that following Macdonald’s death, he realized that the comedian would not have wanted the attention of people knowing about his health battle.

O’Brien said that following Macdonald’s death, he realized that the comedian would not have wanted the attention of people knowing about his health battle.

‘When he went, everybody in the community was, we all thought we were the only one that didn’t know and we were so upset that we didn’t get a chance to tell him what he meant to us,’ he said. ‘I very quickly realized he would not have tolerated that.’

The special’s executive producer Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline following Macdonald’s death that the late funnyman ‘never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him.’

Hoekstra said in a statement that the presentation ‘was not originally meant to be the final product,’ as ‘COVID restrictions prevented him from filming in front of an audience.’

Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special can be seen on Netflix.

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