TORONTO — There’s a moment on Norm Macdonald’s new talk show where the Canadian comic muses on what is and is not appropriate to say: “I always felt that some epithets were less abrasive than others, you know,” he tells his guest, a lively Drew Barrymore.
“It’s like navigating a one-inch tightrope on an ice skate,” the seasoned actress concurs. “That’s what talking feels like today in this world.”
It’s an oddly prescient exchange that appears in the second episode of the new talk show, “Norm Macdonald Has A Show,” given the firestorm Macdonald has ignited in recent days.
While promoting the Netflix series, which premieres Friday, he’s had to issue an apology for several offensive remarks, and then an apology for that apology after further digging himself into a quagmire.
The standup veteran is known for speaking his mind, but the social conventions, celebrity culture and news industry have changed vastly since he skewered O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson as the Weekend Update anchor on “Saturday Night Live” in the late ’90s, note several media observers.
Macdonald’s multiple blunders are a good reminder that celebrities are often better off just keeping their mouth shut when asked to comment on hot-button issues, says public relations guru Natasha Koifman, of the Toronto-based NKPR.
“Listen, I wish they were a little more nervous,” Koifman says when asked how these blunders continually plague seemingly smart, veteran performers.
“They have to be super-careful and I think that sometimes they forget that what they say actually matters.”
Macdonald has since said he was “confused” when he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Tuesday that he was “happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a bit” and that his famous pals Roseanne and Louis C.K. lost “everything in a day” while “the victims didn’t have to go through” what they did.
The next day, he told “The Howard Stern Show” that he was misinterpreted and that he saw value in the #MeToo movement — however while trying to clarify his comments on sexual misconduct victims, Macdonald made an insulting reference to people with Down syndrome.
He appeared on “The View” on Thursday to apologize for that odd comment, saying “I realized at that moment I’d done something unforgivable.”
Macdonald’s former talent agent Louise Parent says she finds it hard to believe he meant any offence, nevertheless admitting she hasn’t spoken to Macdonald in years or read all the coverage about what is increasingly becoming his …read more