Norm Macdonald was supposed to go on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon today to promote his new Netflix talk show.
But because of what Macdonald told The Hollywood Reporter in an earlier interview that published this morning, that ain’t happening.
“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,” a spokesperson for the show said.
Macdonald himself attempted an apology on Twitter tonight:
Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) September 11, 2018
But there’s that word “if” that always counteracts any apology.
Of course, it’s one thing for a comedian to befriend other comedians — in fact, Roseanne Barr hired Macdonald as a writer a year before he got cast on Saturday Night Live, and had hired him to write for her Roseanne reboot on ABC this past year. And Louis CK wrote the forward to his 2016 book, Based on a True Story. And it was a friendly turn on his part to have CK talk to Roseanne so they could share their common plights as comedians suffering from their transgressions.
Perhaps, though, a defense like this is too much?
And defending them as victims worse off than the folks they victimized isn’t a great look, either. Having a quote like this — “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” — run on THR on Sept. 11 of all days is, well, what kind of cruel editor came up with that idea?!
Macdonald did admit that he lives in a particular cultural bubble in Hollywood. And yet, he still readily offered opinions on plenty of things outside of his bubble.
I can parse some of the quotes and tell you what I think Norm really meant or means, based on my own knowledge of him and his philosophy. But I’m not going to try to put words in his mouth. Nor am I going to really speculate how the heck this all went sideways, and who’s responsible for that.
And why are comedians who haven’t watched something commenting on the thing as if they know what they’re talking about, anyhow.
I’d rather wait and judge Macdonald’s Netflix talk show on its own merits.