Norm MacDonald Did Not Retire

September 25, 2008
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Norm MacDonald stopped by to promote his three-night stand at Caroline’s in New York and Howard immediately asked him what the hell he was doing these days: “Did you retire?” Norm said he was just doing stand-up like he always has: “I just do stand-up, right? And then sometimes they offer me stuff that I’m no good at and I do that. Then I go back to stand-up.” Norm added that he stays out of the big-time comedian social circle: “I don’t want to seem like I want something. I don’t care if I ever do another movie.” Norm told the crew he doesn’t like to bomb on stage, but does think bombing is funny: “I see humor in that. It’s not like you’re up there trying to make them not laugh.” Howard wondered if Norm’s writing process was at fault, so Norm explained that his method was foolproof: “You come up with something and you stick it up in your head.” Norm said he had a lot of time to himself to write, as he’s more or less an agoraphobic and spends all day in his house: “Most days I just whack off.”

Howard asked if Norm was still a big gambler and poker player, but Norm said he wasn’t really anymore. Howard speculated that Norm had gone to therapy to deal with his gambling problem, but Norm denied it: “I’m not you. I don’t do that shit.” Norm claimed he’d seen a therapist when he was a seventeen and the guy killed himself a week later. Howard tried to pry more, but Norm struck back: “You go three times a week. I see a guy once when I’m seventeen and I’m f’ed up?” Howard played a clip from The Adam Carolla Show of Norm blaming the Stern Show for Artie’s drug problems, so Norm explained that he didn’t think Howard or anyone else on the crew was at fault, he just feels weird about Artie’s problems being fodder for the show. Artie said his problems, when viewed in retrospect, have their own arc within the context of the show and “eventually became interesting,” so they’re fair game.