Macdonald was working on new material for a Netflix special while undergoing treatment for acute leukemia, a disease he quietly lived with for nine years. In case “things went south,” the SNL alum wanted to get something on tape, so he shot an entire hour’s worth of material in his living room in a single take.
“His test results were not good, so during the heart of COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case — as he put it — things went south,” said Macdonald’s longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra (via The Hollywood Reporter). “It was his intention to have a special to share if something happened.”
Macdonald made it through the procedure just fine and intended to film the special in front of proper cameras and a live audience. However, Macdonald’s condition soon took a turn for the worse. “He ended up getting sicker last August and September, and he remembered he had shot this and asked me to find it so he could watch it,” Hoekstra revealed.
“He ended up watching it before he passed away,” Hoekstra added. “He looks great and the material’s fantastic.”
Netflix is now set to release the home video recording, titled Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, on Monday, May 30. The program will include clips of Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, David Spade, and Molly Shannon discussing Macdonald during the recent Netflix Is a Joke Fest.
“It makes me so happy that I can share it, but also so sad that we can’t share it with him,” Hoekstra continued. “He didn’t do this for the shock that it exists. He shot it because he loved his material and was so proud of his material. He worked so hard and it really would’ve bothered him to have done all that work and not been able to show everybody. He did it for the stand-up. I just hope people appreciate that he did this.”
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, Monday, May 30, Netflix