Norm Macdonald discusses his new Netflix talk show, his love for Judge Judy and “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update. USA TODAY
“Norm Macdonald has a Show” is like every other talk show’s laid-back older brother.
The no-frills Netflix series (10 episodes due Friday) is the brainchild of stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald, 58, best known for his mid-’90s stint as a “Weekend Update” anchor on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and a string of short-lived TV comedies and late-night appearances.
Sitting in an empty studio with just a desk and refrigerator, Macdonald welcomes celebrity guests including Jane Fonda, Drew Barrymore and David Letterman (also an executive producer) for wide-ranging, half-hour conversations.
“He’s eccentric, but he’s always had his own voice, and I respect that,” says “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels, one of his guests. “He likes the part of the curmudgeon, but he is truly funny.”
Macdonald drew flak this week for his controversial comments in The Hollywood Reporter on the #MeToo movement and for his defense of disgraced comedians Roseanne Barr and Louis CK. He chatted with USA TODAY about those hot-button topics and why he refuses to do political comedy.
Question: Before this Netflix series, you had three seasons of your podcast, “Norm Macdonald Live,” in which you had conversations with other comedians and actors. How do you typically prepare for an episode?
Norm Macdonald: I don’t do any research. Sometimes after, I go, “Dang, I should’ve talked about this or that.” But I just want it to be like a (half)-hour slice of two people talking rather than something with any agenda. And we have nothing on the show that’s time-stamped – we even have guests with Netflix shows on the air, but we didn’t plug anything. That’s why we didn’t want any topical jokes, because we didn’t want anything that couldn’t live on in the Netflix library forever.
Q: Who was the guest that surprised you most?
Macdonald: I loved having Judge Judy, because she’s my favorite person ever. I thought I was the only one who loved her, but then she came to the show, and it…
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