Norm Macdonald Discusses Life and Death in Posthumous Netflix Standup Special

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Norm McDonald
Norm McDonald

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Norm Macdonald's didn't shy away from joking about the end of his life in the comedy special that would end up being his last.

The Netflix special, titled Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, included a few jokes about writing his living will, talking with God and telling his family to "pull the plug" should he ever find himself in a coma.

While the dark jokes about death could be connected to his battle with leukemia, Macdonald didn't directly address his illness in the special. He died in September 2021 of the cancer after keeping it a secret from the public for around 10 years. The Saturday Night Live alum was 61.

The special was filmed solo by Macdonald in one take at his home before he underwent a medical procedure, Netflix revealed.

Norm Macdonald
Norm Macdonald

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RELATED: Saturday Night Live's Norm Macdonald Dead at 61 Following Private Cancer Battle 

"Norm was working hard preparing material for his Netflix special — until COVID shut things down," a title card on the Netflix series explained. "In the summer of 2020, he was scheduled to undergo a procedure and as he put it, 'didn't want to leave anything on the table in case things went south.'"

So, the special was filmed in his own home just a night before the surgery. For most of the special, Macdonald sits in a desk chair with a single camera on him. But the final product is not entirely made up of his routine.

The episode also features commentary from some of Macdonald's friends and fellow comedians, including Dave Chappelle, Molly Shannon, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Adam Sandler and David Spade. In their odes to Macdonald, some wished they knew more about his illness while others praised his legacy.

"This guy was, in a weird way, reconciling his mortality, hilariously. And ironically, he's no longer with us," Chappelle said. "We're sitting in the aftermath of Norm Macdonald, watching him be incredibly alive."

RELATED: Norm Macdonald Summed Up His Life in 2016 Memoir Before Death: It's 'Impossible for Me to Be Bitter'

In total, Macdonald's impromptu comedy performance runs about 50 minutes. Moments of reality are included, too, including outside noise from his dogs barking, as well as a phone call Macdonald has to answer while filming.

Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special is now available to stream on Netflix. The comedian has two other projects available on Netflix — Norm Macdonald: Hitler's Dog, Gossip and Trickery and one season of his talk show Norm Macdonald Has a Show.