Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special Review: Contemplating His Life In The Last Netflix Stand-Up – Leisure Byte

Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special Review: Contemplating His Life In The Last Netflix Stand-Up – Leisure Byte

Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special is the late comedian’s last stand-up released on Netflix on 30 May 2022. Norm Macdonald was a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, and writer, known for his poker-faced dry humour style of comedy. He was a writer and an acclaimed cast member on Saturday Night Live for five seasons in his early career. Later on, he hosted various talk shows like Norm Macdonald Has a Show (a 2018 Netflix series) and voiced characters for Family Guy, Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Orville and the Dr Dolittle films.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but kept his illness private. In 2020, before going in for a procedure, Norm filmed this hour-long set in his living room, in case things didn’t go well. Fortunately, his procedure went well but Macdonald became very ill a year later before his special could be filmed before an audience.
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special has a runtime of about 1 hour 26 minutes and has a special appearance and commentary by Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Adam Sandler, Molly Shannon and David Spade in the end.
Netflix describes the special as:
“In his final comedy special, Norm Macdonald ponders casinos, cannibalism, living wills and why you have to be ready for whatever life throws your way.”
-Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special Review Does Not Contain Any Spoilers-
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, the self-deprecating name given by the man himself is the embodiment of who he was and what this stand-up is all about. Nothing special feels quite ironic considering the aftermath and the purpose of recording it in one single take. In the stand-up, he starts off with his love for casinos and gambling which he used to do avidly and says that if he were to perform for the last time, then he would perform in a casino.
He acknowledges the elephant in the room or lack of, that is there was no audience and it was just him in front of the camera with a microphone. It feels more like a live streaming podcast because of the reason. Then moves on to say that he wishes there was no pandemic but during this time he realised the reason behind his fear of boarding aeroplanes. And for a big chunk, he talks about his fear of dying in a plane crash.
Throughout his set, he talks about life and death in various contexts. He often loses his train of thought as well but comes back to the topic in a roundabout manner. It seems like Norm Macdonald was contemplating his own mortality, anxious about his own future and letting out whatever was going on in his mind, but trying to make fun of it so it doesn’t become serious.
If the special was released in 2020 only, then maybe the audience might not have viewed it favourably and could think that why a stand-up comedian is trying to sound like a self-help guru, asking his audience to make the most of their lives as he says, “You only got so much time. You’ve got to choose.” But looking at it now it sounds powerfully meaningful, knowing what was going on behind the curtains. At one point he even compared the contemporary comedians to the modern-day philosopher, which eerily seem fitting to his set.
In the last 30 minutes, there is a special appearance of Norm Macdonald’s close friends like Adam Sandler, David Spade, Conan O’Brien and others. They comment on the one-take recording as a self fuelled terrific performer, who is certain in his comic sensibilities. We have to agree that Norm was a master of comedic pauses. He didn’t perform for the audience but they were his partners.
He used to have it all planned on where he could anticipate what the audience’s reaction will be, even when there was none, as witnessed in the special as well. He would go ahead with the jokes that he knew would fail because he personally liked them. The late comedian died in September 2021 at the age of 61 after a long battle with cancer but left a parting gift for all his fans to see.
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special on Netflix is the last sign off by the comedian for his audience. Some jokes may seem out of touch or strange(wanting to have down syndrome because they seem happy), but he is utterly honest and transparent in his thoughts and observations with his timeless deadpan humour.
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special is streaming on Netflix.
Also Read: Ricky Gervais: SuperNature Review: Cutting Too Close To Being Provocative
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