Tonight on Saturday Night Live, the Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che paid tribute to longtime cast member and Weekend Update anchor Norm Macdonald who died on September 14, following a private, nine-year battle with cancer, aged 61.
“It is a bittersweet night for us tonight,” said Jost. “Norm is the reason I ever wanted to do Weekend Update, and so tonight, we thought we’d turn the last few jokes of Update over to Norm.”
The broadcast then cut to several vintage clips of Macdonald at the Update desk, delivering some of his best one-liners.
“At the White House this week, President Clinton officially came out against same-sex marriages,” he said in one. “What’s more, the President said he is not too crazy about opposite-sex marriages, either.”
Another clip examined “a new airport planned for San Diego,” which was set to be constructed three miles out in the Pacific Ocean. “Built in 20-by-40 foot floating cylinders, it’s all part of a plan by city officials to have a huge disaster,” Macdonald said in his signature deadpan style.
In a third clip, Macdonald addresses a French man who climbed up the side of a Manhattan high-rise; in the fourth and last video, we see the anchor’s iconic coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
“In a brilliant move during closing arguments, Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran put on the knit cap prosecutors say O.J. wore during the night of the murders,” Macdonald said. “Although O.J. may have hurt his case when he suddenly blurted out, ‘Hey, hey. Easy with that! That’s my lucky stabbing hat!'”
While he was officially on hand to discuss his experience at the Met Gala, cast member Pete Davidson also paid silent tribute. He sported a t-shirt displaying a retro image of Macdonald, surrounded by an angel’s wings.
Last weekend, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels also paid tribute to Macdonald during his acceptance speech when the show won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.
Macdonald was with SNL from 1993-1998, anchoring its Weekend Update segment for three and a half seasons. He came to SNL as a performer and writer, after writing for Roseanne Barr’s sitcom Roseanne between 1992 and 1993.
Macdonald is remembered on the sketch side for impressions of Andy Rooney, Clint Eastwood, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Bean and Rod Serling and others, having most notably portrayed Burt Reynolds opposite Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek in an iconic series of Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches.
Macdonald hosted Saturday Night Live for the first and only time on October 23, 1999, with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg serving as musical guests.
Watch above Jost’s tribute to Macdonald. Below is Davidson’s segment, in which he discussed his headline-making Met Gala outfit, and more Weekend Update headlines.