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Joshua Cypess
+ Your AuthorsArchive @JoshuaCypess He/his. PhD social scientist & Orthodox Rabbi. We're all in this together. #BlackLivesMatter #Steelers #Mets #Resist Sep. 14, 2021 1 min read

1/ MacDonald died? Oh man.

First of all, I wish there was a website to find out if I'm allowed to publicly like a dead guy. Like a list of crimes so I know how to calibrate the right mix of sad, or happy, that he's dead.

[Please do that in Norm's voice]

2/ Certain people who're called "an [artist]'s artist" usually are extremists in that craft, and often unrecognized by all but a niche audience. In comedy, one of my areas of expertise, that doesn't always yield someone I personally enjoy.

3/ E.g. I detest Andy Kaufman's comedy because, for me, the barely disguised intend was cruelty. Other comedians work for "their time" like Lenny Bruce who I wish I found funnier than I do.

MacDonald was in that category.

(and this comment is great)

4/ I'm not surprised that the scandals that glommed onto him came from being oddly callous. I don't endorse that. But he was also merciless to the powerful. Just a white hot knife to the buttery pretention of 'polite' society that covers up crimes.

5/ I didn't find him tasteless for no reason; I felt that he recognized the risks and accepted the consequences when he would cross the line, which is way more than I his contemporaries/peers do, whining about 'kancel kulture'(TM). Norm took the blows.

6/ A family favorite is his routine about "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ox" (from his 2017 special).

And, as this fellow points out, don't say Norm lost a battle against cancer. Of course his comedy addressed that framing.

7/ I wish he were a better person so I could enjoy his comedy with a clear conscience. Maybe you can't produce his art without also being off-handedly callous. And/but what does that say about me?

It leaves me questioning my approach to art. Which I think fits his comedy.

8/ #NormMacdonald didn't stop to defend himself so I won't either. He was a pure artist in a field I care about, and I appreciate what he did to the pompousness of NBC & SNL, and what he made me confront.


please compile.

You can follow @JoshuaCypess.


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