Norm Macdonald’s sniping of O.J. Simpson on Weekend Update contributed to the comedian’s SNL firing

Norm Macdonald delivered some of his best material on Weekend Update in order to take O.J. Simpson down every Saturday night.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

Norm O.J.

With the passing of controversial pop culture figure O.J. Simpson this week, some of us could only think of one thing…OK, maybe not just that. There was also the constant flaming of O.J. from Norm Macdonald during his tenure on Saturday Night Live, using his Weekend Update anchor duties to shred Simpson every single week. Unfortunately, his insistence on taking jabs at Simpson ultimately resulted in him being fired, as producer Don Ohlmeyer was good friends with Simpson.

Commenting on both the grip that the O.J. Simpson case had on the American public and Macdonald ripping it on Weekend Update, Conan O’Brien – who frequently had Norm on as a guest – told Jake Tapper, “It was a huge deal back then. Most notably…Norm Macdonald– one of my best guests of all time and one of the great comedians of all time – just told some of the most difficult, most brilliant, I think, comedy of anybody during that whole period.”

As with the late night talk show hosts of the day, Norm Macdonald had the luxury of a wide audience during prime O.J. Simpson time, taking over Weekend Update duties at the start of season 20 just three months after the infamous white Bronco chase. Using the subsequent trial and not guilty verdict (in October 1995) as fodder – “Well, it is finally official. Murder is legal in the state of California.” – Macdonald somehow made these jokes work week after week, finding fresh ways to skewer the former NFL running back, a skill unmatched by his contemporaries.

Unfortunately, Simpson had friends in high places, resulting in Macdonald being fired by Ohlmeyer from the gig midway through season 23, easily one of the worst decisions in the history of Saturday Night Live – and maybe modern television. While some might try to claim that it was Macdonald’s on-air “f-bomb” in 1997 that led to being canned, we all know it was for his jokes at the expense of Juice.

And so while some are mourning the death of O.J. Simpson, let’s also take this time to celebrate the comedic genius, the impeccable timing and the sheer guts of the great Norm Macdonald.

What is your favorite Norm Macdonald line about O.J. Simpson? Drop your pick in the comments below!

Source: CNN

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.