Macdonald's longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told the Hollywood Reporter that the former Saturday Night Live star was working on new material for a Netflix special before being hospitalized in the summer of 2020, so he decided to film himself in his living room during an hour-long single take video in case things took a turn for the worse.
“His test results were not good, so during the heart of COVID-19 pandemic and literally the night before going in for a procedure, he wanted to get this on tape just in case — as he put it — things went south,” Hoekstra told the Hollywood Reporter. “It was his intention to have a special to share if something happened.”
Macdonald survived the medical procedure at the time and stored away the footage, but became very ill the following year and was unable to perform the same act in front of a live audience prior to his death last September.
“He ended up getting sicker last August and September, and he remembered he had shot this and asked me to find it so he could watch it,” Hoekstra told the Hollywood Reporter. “He ended up watching it before he passed away.”
Hoekstra added that Macdonald -- in line with his trademark self-deprecating deadpan humor -- suggested the show's title: Nothing Special.
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special will premiere on May 30 and, along with the living room standup footage, include clips of friends and fellow comedians Adam Sander, Conan O'Brien, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, David Spade and Molly Shannon discussing Macdonald, all of which was filmed during the recent 'Netflix is a Joke Fest,' the Hollywood Reporter reports.
Macdonald died at the age of 61 after a nine-year private battle with cancer on September 14, 2021.
Macdonald was a cast member on SNL from 1993-98, which included anchoring the show's 'Weekend Update' segments for three seasons and is credited for the segment's transition to more political satire from the previous slapstick approach of his predecessors.
The Quebec City native began his comedy career working clubs in Canada, honing his familiar deadpan style and was influential for a generation of comic who followed a similar style.
Macdonald was hired to write for Roseanne Barr's hit sitcom Roseanne from 1992-93 before joining SNL's cast.
Macdonald left SNL in 1998 and starred in his own comedy series, The Norm Show from 1999-2001 and later the Norm Macdonald Has a Show on Netflix in 2018.