The world became a demonstrably worse place today following news that Norm Macdonald has died. He was 61 years old.
Macdonald, the star of Saturday Night Live, his own self-titled sitcom, Dirty Work, and a long line of hilarious appearances on talk shows leaves behind a world of grieving fans and bookies.
He died of cancer. It surprised many as he hadn't openly talked about it and very few people seemed to know. Norm was notoriously private. One of the greatest things you might ever read is his not-at-all-revelatory autobiography, which is largely a fictitious account of his life and adventures on the road with good pal Adam Eget.
If you want to read a really good obit of Norm, check out this one at the New York Times. Or Variety.
The thing that I loved about Norm Macdonald was that he had no interest in using the trappings of comedy to monologue about pain or the human experience. He wasn't interested in being Nanette. Macdonald enjoyed telling jokes. Wry jokes. Dirty jokes. Terrible jokes. And through those jokes we heard truths about the human experience.
Also, he treated people as humans, with all of the baggage that can bring. He never joined the pile-on when Roseanne went a bit nuts. He had nothing but lovely things to say when former co-star Max Wright passed away. Norm wasn't just the funniest of all of us. He was the best of all of us.
Instead of obits or any of that nonsense, I wanted to share three great jokes from Norm that always make me laugh hard anytime I see them.
Here's Norm in the funniest talk show interview I ever saw:
Some cheap, dumb dirty humor:
And then there's this bit from an episode of the original run of Roseanne. Writing for Roseanne was one of his first showbiz jobs and this was inspired by a real-life moment from Norm's life:
Rest in peace, Norm. I hope you're having a great time watching the horses from wherever you are now.
- A reminder not to believe everything you hear on TV. Especially if it is on Fox News: 90% of all Fox Corp staff are now vaccinated. The remaining 10% will be required to test daily until they stop being idiots. Read: Deadline
- Netflix is making a series based on Matt Wagner's Grendal comic book series. Read: Deadline
- The Amber Ruffin Show has been renewed for a second season. Read: Variety
- Only Murders In The Building has been renewed for season 2. Source: Steve Martin
- Has HBO made Kieran Culkin taller in the Succession promotional poster? Read: Gawker
Is the future of TV writing the 'mini room'?
As TV moves more to short-runs of 6-8 episode seasons instead of those monster 22+ episode seasons of yesteryear, it is also changing the structure of the writers room and the investment networks will make in them.
Gone is the idea of the creator/showrunner writing the pilot and then staffing up a room after it has been greenlit. Instead now smaller teams of writers, 'mini rooms', are being established. Here a small team of writers will do the heavy lifting of writing - breaking out an entire season before production is greenlit. It means that fewer writers need to be hired on the series once greenlit and that even those writers breaking the story aren't guaranteed work on the series once it goes forward.
Share what you're watching via Apple TV
Announced at today's Apple event were two interesting TV-related upgrades. The first is that the Apple TV operating system will update to tvOS15 on Sept 20.
The second (which had actually already been announced at WWDC mid-year) is that a co-viewing function is coming to Apple iOS devices with 'SharePlay' - it'll allow you to share music and videos with your friends during a FaceTime call.
Supported apps include (at least for US SharePlayers):
Christopher Nolan leaves Warner Bros for Universal?
Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has been making movies under deals at Warner Bros for the past 20 years. Together, they made a whole lot of money and delighted movie audiences the world over with films like Inception, the Dark Knight Batman trilogy, Tenet, and Insomnia. He also made The Prestige.
But then last year Warner Bros announced that the company would take all of its 2021 movies day and date to HBO Max, releasing them on the streaming service the same day as they debuted in cinemas. Nolan got pissed off by this, believing that audiences were best served by being able to see movies exclusively on the big screen while sitting in crowds of diseased people.
His deal is winding up and he let it be known that he was not happy with how Warner Bros were treating cinema. So, he has been shopping his new movie around. He's landed at Universal, the company that has most aggressively been successful in shrinking the exclusivity window of theatrical movies and has also been releasing movies on the same day via its Peacock streaming service.
David Chase also angry at Warner Bros
Sopranos creator David Chase is also pissed off at Warner Bros. But, unlike Christopher Nolan, he actually has a movie being released day and date. His reasons for being annoyed are unique to his situation. His film is a feature spin-off from a TV show.
“I mean, I don’t know how much you go into this, you know, like…okay. If I was…one of those guys, if one of those executives was sitting here and I was to start pissing and moaning about it, they’d say, you know, there’s 17 other movies that have the same problem,” Chase said. “What could we do? Covid! Well, I know, but those 16 other movies didn’t start out as a television show. They don’t have to shed that television image before you get people to the theater. But we do. And that’s where we’re at. People should go see it in a theater. It was designed to be a movie. It was…it’s beautiful as a movie. I never thought that it would be back on HBO. Never.”
Locke & Key season 2 debuts on Netflix Oct 22.
What If...? continues on Disney+ and they would like to remind you of that.
Love Life returns Oct 28 on HBO Max with a new cast & story.
Maid debuts on Netflix Oct 1.
Bright: Samurai Soul is an animated prequel to the live-action Will Smith film Bright. It debuts Oct 12.
What's next? Tomorrow.