Why am I doing this today? So you’ll listen to this new podcast called Edge of Fame with /u/washingtonpost. The first episode follows me to The Tonight Show, a gig and an important time I was shaving.

You can find the episode here via Apple iTunes or on Stitcher here.

Oh. And there are other episodes of Edge of Fame coming up with David Letterman, Ava DuVernay and Weird Al. We’ll get started at noon ET, 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

Proof and here too

EDIT: I'm all done for today. Thanks to Gene of u/washingtonpost for setting this up. Listen to my podcast episode above and thanks for the questions!

EDIT 2: Edit: Also a thanks to the folks at the new reddit/WBUR podcast /u/Endless_Thread, who helped get the word out about this AMA today!"

Comments: 5166 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

barfyman4058 karma

What are your favorite fruits and vegetables?

ImNormMacdonald17456 karma

I guess Richard Simmons and Terri Schiavo, I'm now using Bob Hope's old writers.

CornelWestside4012 karma

All your fans love your podcast. David Letterman, your hero, loves your podcast. Everyone seems to love your podcast. Why do you seem so embarrassed by it, or like you hate doing it?

ImNormMacdonald9693 karma

I did my podcast in order to see if I could host a talk show. And I think I succeeded and have now been offered a talk show by Netflix. All the podcasts were rehearsals.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm only in negotiations. There's no show yet.

bozzltov2913 karma

Holy shit.

rarlsatan2804 karma

I literally just went over and shit on every desk in my office. I think they're gonna fire me :(. Thanks Norm Macdonald.

ImNormMacdonald4019 karma

You are my people!

HelenVonBiscuits3431 karma

Norm, have you ever listened to your farts, I mean really listened to them, to see if you can hear words within them that could serve as a warning of something horrific to come?

ImNormMacdonald4032 karma

I'm speechless.

hbxli2726 karma

Where do you get your ideas from?

ImNormMacdonald4690 karma

Ideas exist outside of man. And drift into one's consciousness if one allows it. None of these ideas are mine, I only take them from the ether and put them back out in a more solid form.

carlfartlord2600 karma

Norm, what is your opinion of Gene who works at The Washington Post?

ImNormMacdonald3090 karma

He's the greatest.

BryantRod2487 karma

What’s your favorite line to say in Mike Tyson’s Mysteries?

ImNormMacdonald4893 karma

I like the cursing that makes no sense and interjects itself, like "cock motherfucking son of a cunt bitch."

ExpensiveDay2373 karma

at what point in your life/career did you realize you were not everyday person level funny, but comedian level funny?

ImNormMacdonald6338 karma

I thought I was comedian level funny during my first year of comedy. Five years I realized I wasn't actually that level of funny. But five years after that I realized I was comedian level funny. So 10 years into my standup.

PizzaPuff1929 karma

How close were you to becoming a late night show host?

ImNormMacdonald3129 karma

Razor thin close.

the_TINIEST_hippo1826 karma

Do you celebrate Canadian or American Thanksgiving?

ImNormMacdonald4285 karma

haha Canadians have a tendency to steal American holidays and make them before the American holidays. It's very a very cunning form of fest that only Canadians can pull off.

JackFeety1786 karma

Which comedian makes you laugh the most?

ImNormMacdonald3995 karma

Of all time, Richard Pryor. At this moment, Brian Regan.

casparjasper1520 karma

Norm to what (if any) extent do you portray a persona whether that be on stage or in various interviews?

I've often seen interviews where the hosts seem shocked at some of your answers such as saying you don't participate in sex because you find it boring or your love for Russian literature etc.

I tend to take it at face value because you seem sincere when talking about these things - so, am I the idiot for believing you or are others the idiots for not?

ImNormMacdonald2492 karma

No I'm absolutely sincere.

golightlys1392 karma

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career?

ImNormMacdonald2970 karma

Due to multiple herniated discs, my pain level on a normal day is through the roof.

The_Rick_Sanchez1349 karma

Hey norm. Big fan. Do you have any plans to do the Joe Rogan podcast? I would love to see you on.

ImNormMacdonald2195 karma

I will do that.

barfyman1276 karma

What are you reading right now? Do you have any thoughts on Thomas Pynchon?

ImNormMacdonald1814 karma

I'm reading "Search for Lost Time" by Marcel Proust.

I find Pynchon to be the most knowing writer of our time.

Robinish1066 karma

Do you have more fun performing stand-up or hosting your talk show?

ImNormMacdonald4031 karma

I have more fun hosting my talk show because I've already perfected standup.

bozzltov923 karma

Norm, I love your book and loved the audiobook version the most. Is there any chance of the TV or movie adaptation happening?

Also, how's a fella go about getting you to sign his copy of your book at one of your shows?

(please come back to Jersey or Philly soon)

ImNormMacdonald1532 karma

Yes, a movie adaptation is worked on as we speak. You could send the book to Mark Gurvitz at Brillstein Grey and I'll sign it for you.

pyjamalovingbanana862 karma

Which four comedians would be on your "Mount Rushmore" of stand up comedy?

ImNormMacdonald2731 karma

Richard Pryor, me, Steve Martin, Brian Regan.

asthmatic_kitties848 karma

What is the most profound piece of life advice has a random stranger ever given you?

ImNormMacdonald3471 karma

A person once said to me that the homeless never get touched and that without human touch, the mind veers toward madness. So the homeless people I approach, I always give my money to, whatever it is I have, and I always hug them or touch them.

Hugenormfan842 karma

Will there be a Dirty Work 2?

ImNormMacdonald1107 karma

There are people who want to make it but I've yet to make up my mind.

Booshambles795 karma

Hello Norm,

Did you do your amazing Burt Reynolds impression before SNL? Also do you have any stories from celebrity jeopardy that we might not know about?

ImNormMacdonald1774 karma

I did do Burt Reynolds and that's why I created celebrity Jeopardy so I could do my Burt Reynolds. No one ever mentioned that I played Burt Reynolds as a 35 year old.

Devb0784 karma

Did you ever carry around a tape recorder to take your 'notes to self' in real life?

ImNormMacdonald2374 karma

Yes I do. I'm constantly talking to my phone. Whenever an idea occurs. Sometimes I don't say enough. I'll dictate "large coffee cup" and have no idea of what I thought was funny about that subject.

MattBaster778 karma

How do you build the perfect taco?

ImNormMacdonald4528 karma

You start with a Mexican guy and you pay him a $1.35.

suaveitguy728 karma

What's your favorite Phil Hartman memory?

ImNormMacdonald1685 karma

He returned to host the show when I was a cast member. And I did a character that pinched girls's asses, and said "YOU LOVE IT." And he's a great fan of it and thought it was going to be a huge character. And then it didn't get past dress rehearsal. And he said, "That's showbiz."

golightlys601 karma

What is the best and worst part of doing stand up comedy?

ImNormMacdonald2063 karma

The best part is standing on the stage with your comedy being able to turn a passive audience into an unruly mob. The worst part of standup comedy is the insane pressure on the spine and lower back from standing up for so many hundreds of hours.

bozzltov565 karma

Do you still talk to Dennis Miller? I loved your appearances on his shows, and would love to see him appear on NML.

ImNormMacdonald983 karma

Yes I love Dennis Miller. Dennis gave me my first job for which I will be forever indebted. He's been kind to me since and I would love to have him on the podcast.

IAmAMime472 karma

Back in August you said you'd been invited to meet with the world's greatest novelist. My friend thinks that means Cormac McCarthy or Thomas Pynchon. Me, I go with Rosie O'Donnell. Can you tell us who you met, and if they enjoyed your book?

ImNormMacdonald851 karma

I'm not allowed to say. But it was one of the first two. And they invited me to discuss my book. Yes he liked it very much but had critical things to say that will help me out in future books. It was a very kind gesture.

3quarksformustermark463 karma

Do you have a favorite story of messing with a talk show host?

ImNormMacdonald1292 karma

I've never messed with a talk show host. I'm just trying to make my segment as spontaneous and interesting as I saw talk show guests be when I was a boy.

Mondegreenies451 karma

Did you enjoy making Stephen Merchant so uncomfortable?

ImNormMacdonald1152 karma

I was told later that Stephen was uncomfortable but I didn't mean to. The conversation just flowed to British children's entertainers being largely pedophiles and I don't know why Stephen Merchant was tiptoeing around it.


What are you wearing?

Sorry, I meant wat r u waring?

ImNormMacdonald1174 karma

I'm wearing sweatpants, and a T-shirt with beef stew spilled all over it. I had some beef stew for breakfast.

br_onson398 karma

What's your elevator pitch for the story of humanity?

ImNormMacdonald1291 karma

Imagine a woman in a sports car, impossibly beautiful, speeding down a winding road and looking out her window at a man who is skiing down a mountaintop. And then the man comes to a stop, snow flies from his feet. The two lock eyes. And both know each will be the other's entire. And the car speeds off.

Babe_the_Gallant_Pig348 karma

Norm, I love you. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

ImNormMacdonald803 karma


jerelio346 karma

Hey Mr. Norm, this mystery has been keeping me up for years now...

What is your favorite cereal?

ImNormMacdonald1511 karma

Count Chocula. The least-respected, least-feared of all vampires.

BobC813338 karma


ImNormMacdonald1558 karma

In this day of political correctness, I suppose I should say nine grain.

But I won't. It's white bread.

cantonista333 karma

The greatest comedic novels (Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Pale Fire, Based on a True Story) all make heavy use of metafictional elements. I'm leaving out A Confederacy of Dunces because I hated that book. Anyway, were you consciously drawing upon that tradition in BoaTS? Or did the story you wanted to tell naturally take you in the direction of metafiction? I ask because you have claimed to hate meta.

ImNormMacdonald890 karma

I love all those books. I do hate meta but I was forced into by the scriptures of convention. I was hired to write a memoir, but secretly wrote a novel so I had to use the techniques of meta to mask it. I did it so well the New York Times called it a nonfiction.

Mintnose315 karma

What are your thoughts about separating artists work from their behavior? Specifically in cases of comedians like Bill Cosby and Louis C.K.

ImNormMacdonald1375 karma

I separate their work completely from their transgressions. Everything about their work is extraordinary. Everything about their transgressions is utterly ordinary.

Livetopick273 karma

Would you ever consider doing a sports show again? That show was awesome!

ImNormMacdonald680 karma

I would consider commentating golf which I think I can do better than anyone except Jim Nantz

Orkutguy238 karma

Normy Normy Normy!

Any chance you'll invite Conan to your podcast.?

Your book is phenomenal, and loved the audio narration. Stay amazing sire.

ImNormMacdonald338 karma


rarlsatan213 karma

Big fan, Norm! Aside from your own book, what are a few personal favorite books of yours that you recommend like-minded individuals read? I'm looking to have my perspectives SHIFTED.

ImNormMacdonald589 karma

The two greatest living writers are Cormac McCarthy and Alice Munro, so I would suggest a collection of Alice Munro short stories and McCarthey's masterpiece "The Road." My personal favorites are "War and Peace" and "The Death of Ivan Ilych" both by Tolstoy.

NewInSphere209 karma

What will be your pseudonym for your novel?

ImNormMacdonald658 karma

haha you clearly don't understand the nature of pseudonyms but I will publicize the book under a thick disguise.

PikesvilleAl195 karma

In the podcast Geoff Edgers said you take a pill for anxiety, but didn't state what causes your anxiety. Was it wrong for him to mention that?

ImNormMacdonald575 karma

Oh no. I suffered from panic attacks. Panic attacks as opposed to anxiety attacks are a feeling of impending doom. When one strikes you, you're paralyzed. One struck me directly before I had to do Weekend Update, and I understood I needed help. My doctor prescribed klonopin and advised me to take half a pill before any performance.

imnoobhere168 karma

I uhh.. Just wanted to say that uhh... You uhh... You're great. And uhh.. Yeah, thanks. You're great.

And my question is uhh.. What was the most embarrassing you have ever said on TV?

ImNormMacdonald408 karma

I said fuck on Saturday Night Live and I thought I'd be fired for it. I wasn't really embarrassed about it but I'm surprised I didn't say it a million times since it's live TV.

robertito42154 karma

Who do you think does the best impression of you?

ImNormMacdonald551 karma

I don't like any impressions of me but since Jimmy Fallon is the best impersonator I've ever met, when he does it I must believe that that's what I sound like.

LammergeierAteMyBone152 karma

Hi Norm Macdonald and Gene at The Washington Post. Norm, did anyone ever tell you that you look like you're related to Bruce Campbell? Gene, has anyone told Norm that he looks like he's related to Bruce Campbell?

ImNormMacdonald300 karma

I presume one person has but none before this morning.

Maxmidget147 karma

Are you still playing poker? Any favorite games / locations?

ImNormMacdonald301 karma

I play a high limit stud at Hollywood Park and in Vegas at the Aria.

ClausvonStauffenberg134 karma

What is life's purpose?

ImNormMacdonald746 karma

Well, it depends on your view I suppose but it's been my experience is that life's purpose is to suffer. To abide the inevitable pain and to bear it in a noble way.

Tooblekane111 karma

What does Bob Saget smell like?

ImNormMacdonald414 karma

I will say about Bob Saget that he's so recognized it's amazing. And people come up to him and say "You're Bob Saget." And he says "thank you." I guess that's what fame is.

PanglosAndRabbit41 karma

As a lover of Russian literature, who would you say your favorite Russian author is? Thoughts on Dostoevsky vs Tolstoy?

ImNormMacdonald109 karma

Well, to say that Tolstoy Gogol and Dostovesky are the great novelists from Russia would be akin to say that William Faulkner, Mark Twain and Harold Robbins are the great American writers.