Norm MacDonald Gave Me Career Advice That I’ve Never Forgotten
I'm saddened to hear about the passing of Norm MacDonald. He was a very, very funny man with a dry, weird sense of humor and he always made me laugh on SNL and in person with his stand-up.
There was a time about 10 years ago that I really thought about doing stand-up comedy for a living. I had done a few sets at our local Funnybone and had even opened for a few comedians that I really respected like Tammy Pescatelli, James Johan, Bill Burr, and Henry Phillips. I had put together about 10 to 15 minutes of stand-up that was moderately funny and I was feeling pretty good about my chances of doing more comedy.
Enter Norm MacDonald. Norm came to town to do a weekend at our local Funnybone and I did an interview with him on the radio. We talked about SNL, the short-lived Norm MacDonald Show, and his career on the stage doing stand-up.
I mentioned to him that I was doing some stand-up part-time and I was thinking about taking it to the next level. He asked if I had any video of me performing. I told him I did, but I wasn't going to waste his time with it. He insisted and I showed him the video of my stand-up. He watched and smerked once about 20 seconds in and then actually laughed that weird little stuttering laugh that he had. Holy SH!T! I made Norm MacDonald laugh...like actually laugh. I was on cloud nine.
So I asked him what he thought about my chances and he told me, "You're funny. Like, likable funny. Like Billy Gardell from Mike and Molly funny, but you'll need to put in thousands of hours of work to really make a living at it." So, I asked him if I should just give it up? Norm MacDonald then asked me if I liked doing stand-up and making people laugh. I told him I did. To which he replied, "Well, then who gives a f@ck what I think. Go do what makes you happy."
Norm MacDonald told me that was kind of his philosophy in life, "Go do what makes you happy." That's good advice from a great comic and a very nice guy. Thanks, Norm.
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