Comedian, Poker Player Norm Macdonald Passes Away At 61
Comedy legend and poker player Norm Macdonald passed away Tuesday at the age of 61.
According to a Deadline report, the iconic member of the Saturday Night Live from 1993-98, died after privately battling cancer for nine years. Some of his most famous work came during the three years he served as the anchor for the show’s “Weekend Update” segments, but away from the stage, Macdonald was just another poker player.
In a 2019 interview with USA Today, Macdonald said that he began playing poker at 15 years old with most of that time spent playing cash games. Despite his affinity for cash game play, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to be spotted playing a mid-stakes tournament in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
The Quebec native earned $54,019 in live tournament earnings, most of which came after his 2012 cancer diagnosis. He cashed three times in World Series of Poker events, including a 20th-place finish in a $3,000 no-limit hold’em at the 2007 WSOP and two more in-the-money finishes at the 2019 series.
He was more than just a celebrity occasionally spotted at the tables. He was part of the community and truly loved the game. His biggest cash of his career didn’t come in a WSOP event. It came when there were no cameras anywhere to be found as he finished third for $20,915 in a 2006 Bellagio weekly tournament.
Just several months before his career-best cash, Macdonald replaced Gabe Kaplan as the host of High Stakes Poker. It was the show’s seventh and final season on Game Show Network and required analysis of some of the game’s best players at the highest stakes.
He was one of the poker community’s favorite comedians, which is why PokerStars chose him to headline a stand-up comedy show at the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship. Macdonald also made several appearances on televised poker games, including a 2019 episode of PokerGO’s Poker After Dark.
— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) September 15, 2021
RIP to Norm Macdonald, my personal favorite comedian of all time. One of the only times I’ve ever truly loved getting to meet a celebrity, and just the most brilliant deconstructionist of what comedy is and what the aspects of a joke truly are.
— Scott Seiver (@scott_seiver) September 14, 2021
Mine too. Busted up about this. Nothing funnier than his talk show interviews/stories.
— Brock Parker (@brock_parker) September 14, 2021
Sitting on a bench in the gym just watching @normmacdonald clips and laughing my fucking ass off.
— Andrew Neeme (@andrewneeme) September 14, 2021
Lots of folks reaching out about the passing of Norm Macdonald. Norm was responsible for some of the happiest moments of my life (see below). To open for & become close with my favorite comedian of all time, I will be forever grateful. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss his comedy more. pic.twitter.com/GnXkOTTLq0
— Joe Stapleton (@Stapes) September 14, 2021