Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'm gutted on hearing this. I’ve been on one of my regular Norm YouTube binges, and was watching a ton of them just last night. His dedication to comedy was legendary, and his complexity was intriguing.

Norm’s fake late gift to Conan for The Tonight Show, given after Conan was leaving, is a great example of his sort of expectation-bending humor.


His appearances on The View are legendary examples of his ability to be uncontrolled and play the dumbest guy in the room at the same time while actually being the sharpest. His intentional subversion played off as uninformed is a seemingly one of a kind talent. There are videos of interviews where he describes some of the background to things he did on the show.



“Not everything has a point” just gets me. It’s amazing how the hosts just want to jump from talking point to talking point and just refuse to let the guest actually talk, which Norm really plays off of.

And lastly, the moth joke remains a shining example of his anti-jokes.


His monologues at roasts, awards shows, and the correspondents dinner were examples of not being afraid of anything.

This is a great summary of what made him stand so far apart from other comedians and entertainers. He was fundamentalist in his dedication to the art of comedy. He could easily tell a clean dirty-joke or a dirty clean one and he never pandered to the audience.

The other part about Norm that I'm not sure everyone knew was how compassionate and well read he was. This came out on his podcast frequently. Not only could he deliver a multi-layered joke on the fly but could casually pull references to art & literature.

I always appreciated his reverence toward his guests. Even during Jim Carrey's infamous and awkward flame-out on his show, he was never fazed or allowed it to affect his conduct towards his guests. Unless he had extra special reverence for them, in which case he might give them a harder time.

He's the only celebrity loss I can remember being brought to tears over. An absolute legend.

As a fellow binger, may I contribute this one that I never see on YouTube or shared around much, but is a long-time favourite of mine.


(If outside the US, you'll need a VPN.)

That was great! I hadn’t come across that one before. Really shows Norm’s irreverence but at the same time his practical approach to life, all while being hilarious.

> the dumbest guy in the room at the same time while actually being the sharpest

He would've won top prize on Millionaire but backed off before answering the last question from nerves.


What a legend

Yea, Regis really flustered him on that question and made him second guess himself even though he had the right answer.

What's extra funny about that is that one of his The View appearances (linked above) was the day of or soon before his Millionaire appearance. One of the hosts said something along the lines of "you think he's dumb here, just wait until his appearance on Millionaire", and of course they all cackle at that. Then he goes and gives a great performance.

He said that one of his fav quotes was from Letterman, something along the lines of "People hate you if they think you're smarter than them". He always played the idiot which made him more likeable, but he was always the sharpest cat in the room. RIP to a true legend.

My favorite joke of his is the one where a salesman is convincing him to buy a pit bull.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact