Heart-warming stories, waves of shock and recycled jokes took over Twitter Tuesday following the death of comedy giant Norm Macdonald, who died at 61 after privately battling cancer for nine years.
Comedians and actors influenced by the former "Saturday Night Live" star mourned his death, which cut deep and prompted sobering missives from celebrities and social-media personalities.
Macdonald hosted Weekend Update on "Saturday Night Live" for three seasons and made a long-winded moth joke famous, and also starred in the sitcoms "Dirty Work" and "Funny People." But it was his influence on young comics that came through on social media Tuesday.
"To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm MacDonald," wrote "Family Guy" star Seth MacFarlane. "You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I’m gonna miss him."
To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm MacDonald. You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I’m gonna miss him.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) September 14, 2021
Sarah Silverman, one of the few female comedians to publicly comment on Macdonald's legacy, tweeted that he "was in a comedy genre of his own."
"No one like him on this planet. Please do yourself a favor and watch his stuff. He was one of a kind of all time," she wrote.
Norm was in a comedy genre of his own. No one like him on this planet. Please do yourself a favor and watch his stuff. He was one of a kind of all time
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) September 14, 2021
Actor Seth Rogen said he "essentially ripped off" Macdonald's delivery when he first started acting: "I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the the all time greats. RIP," he tweeted.
"Norm, I didn’t just like you. I loved you," tweeted fellow "SNL" alum Rob Schneider, sharing several photos of them together. "You didn’t just make me laugh. You made me cry with laughter. I’m still crying today. But when I think of you, my tears will run down my face with all the memories of all the laughter and all the joys that you brought to all of us. Rest."
"In such a divisive time even among comedians, we can all agree Norm MacDonald was the best," added "Crazy Rich Asians" star Ken Jeong.
"Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today," O'Brien wrote.
I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 14, 2021
"The Late Show" legend David Letterman, in a statement to The Times, praised Macdonald's contributions to stand-up comedy.
"In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best," Letterman said via spokesperson. "An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you. I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze. (I’m trying to avoid using the phrase, 'twinkle in his eyes'). He was a lifetime Cy Young winner in comedy. Gone, but impossible to forget."
Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas), whom Macdonald impersonated on "SNL," described the comedian as "a great talent" and that he "loved laughing with him on SNL."
"One of the funniest people #SNL ever produced is gone, but will never be forgotten," added "Star Wars" star Mark Hamill. "I've spent many an hour on YouTube over the years enjoying all the characters he gave us. In a word: HILARIOUS. Thanks for a lifetime of laughs."
"We’ve lost a comedic genius, and a great Canadian," tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Sending my condolences to his loved ones and countless fans mourning his passing."
Here's a look at more of the reactions and tributes:
My dear friend Norm MacDonald passed after a brave 10 year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him.
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) September 14, 2021
Today the world lost a very, very funny man. We miss him already. R.I.P Norm Macdonald.
— Eugene Levy (@Realeugenelevy) September 14, 2021
I’ve got so many laughs in my life by just repeating Norm MacDonald jokes. One of the funniest to ever do it - RIP to a king
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) September 14, 2021
Norm Macdonald was the patron saint of grumbling comics yet he was never cynical for cynicism's sake and you also had the sense he was not a dick at all, which was the point of so much comedy then. Slyly conscientious through the sarcasm.
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) September 14, 2021
Years has always left me feeling like I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. This one really hurts. RIP Norm Macdonald. Your comedic brilliance was only second to your compassionate humanity. 💔
— Jennifer Sterger (@jennifersterger) September 14, 2021
Sometimes while filming poker shows he would whisper a joke to me under his breath. He didn’t seem to mind that his joke only had an audience of one. He just enjoyed making them. He didn’t really need the entire table to laugh at his witticisms.
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) September 14, 2021
Oh my God. We lost a legend. Norm was punishingly funny. A unique special point of view and completely organic. RIPNormMacDonald https://t.co/u3nkFjs099
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) September 14, 2021
NOOOOO GODDAMIT. Oh my God what is even happening.
Good bye, Norm. You were never not 100% hilarious. https://t.co/loW3QsEjgW
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 14, 2021
seriously this really hurts https://t.co/loW3QsEjgW
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 14, 2021
— DL Hughley (@RealDLHughley) September 14, 2021
In such a divisive time even among comedians, we can all agree Norm MacDonald was the best. Rest In Peace.💔
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald was a good guy and a superb comic innovator. We’ll miss Norm.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) September 14, 2021
Usually when you see a celebrity trending, you check it out because you're afraid they may have died. You click their name and most of the time it's something innocuous. Not this time sadly, #RIPNormMacdonald
— John Stamos (@JohnStamos) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald always felt to me like a fundamental part of comedy, like on the periodic table of comedy. The comedy world without Norm doesn’t even make sense in my brain
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald on battles with cancer cancer: “and I’m pretty sure, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer dies at the same time. That’s not a loss. That’s a draw.”
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) September 14, 2021
Dammit. Norm. I think of this Norm Macdonald joke about once a month:
"In music news, Number 1 on the college charts this summer was Better than Ezra. And at Number 2: Ezra."
— Craig Thomas (@HimymCraig) September 14, 2021
Can’t believe Norm MacDonald is dead. First met him in the mid 80s. I thought he was way too funny to be successful. I was half right. My deep sympathy to his family, close friends and his fans. #ripNorm
— Dave Foley (@DaveSFoley) September 14, 2021
Norm’s contributions to comedy were so exceptionally wonderful, weird and personal, he will be remembered as one of the greats.
Really makes you wonder where he got his ideas from.
Rest In Peace and laughter. pic.twitter.com/pa7dWyiIS5
— The Comedy Store (@TheComedyStore) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald was my OG Weekend Update anchor and a pantheon level late night guest. So funny, witty, irreverent and understated. The comedy world just lost a 1 of 1. RIP.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) September 14, 2021
Sad to hear about Norm Macdonald. Got to be on his talk show. Laughed a lot with him. He was very kind to me. #RIPNormMacdonald
— M. Night Shyamalan ⌛ (@MNightShyamalan) September 14, 2021
R.I.P. Norm Macdonald. I never got a chance to know him but he made me laugh so many times with his brilliant wit and delivery. Comedy lost a great one today.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) September 14, 2021
Aww man...Norm Macdonald. 😔
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) September 14, 2021
The Winnipeg Jets would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary comedian, Norm Macdonald.
He will be greatly missed by all 🤍💙
(📷Fabiola Carletti/CBC) pic.twitter.com/dJkNHJgmpL
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) September 14, 2021
The world was a much funnier place because Norm Macdonald was in it. We’ve lost a comedic genius, and a great Canadian. Sending my condolences to his loved ones and countless fans mourning his passing.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 14, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of Norm Macdonald. He was a bold, fearless and original voice. This is a huge loss.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) September 14, 2021
Honestly I was never sure where Norm MacDonald stood on anything, but he ruled at Weekend Update.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald & the Moth joke.
He was the funniest guy ever. 🙏❤️ https://t.co/yVC1SUMLkP
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) September 14, 2021
— Kennedy (@KennedyNation) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald was the comic who could find the funny in anything no matter how tragic. I’m sure he had a great take on his own untimely death but that’s beyond me. I’ll miss running into him at various comedy do’s. No matter who was there he was always the funniest in the room.
— Scott Thompson (@ScottThompson_) September 14, 2021
that Canadian legend, Norm MacDonald, one of my favorite comedians of all time has transitioned out of here RIP
— Bonnie McFarlane (@bonniemcfarlane) September 14, 2021
It was Norm Macdonald’s unique gift to make every individual who loved his comedy believe they were the only one - members of a tiny, esoteric audience that happened to include everyone.
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) September 14, 2021
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.