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Bob Saget Remembers Longtime Friend Norm Macdonald, Their Final Communications And The Real Story Behind That Famous Roast

·3 min read

Bob Saget, whose friendship with fellow comedian Norm Macdonald stretched back to their earliest days in Ottawa’s stand-up comedy clubs, remembers the late, great comic in an emotional, heartfelt 37-minute video tribute posted in the wee hours of the morning today, “when most of you who loved Norm will be awake and the people close to him will be up because we’re f*cked up and just can’t sleep.”

In a stream-of-consciousness delivery, Saget recalls their early days in comedy clubs; their collaboration on the 1998 movie Dirty Work; the true story behind Macdonald’s decision to deliver the old-school roast of Saget in the now-classic 2008 Comedy Central event; what the two had planned for the future; and, perhaps most poignantly, their final communications.

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Saget, audibly emotional during much of the tribute, says that while he’s no stranger to loss — two sisters, parents, grandparents and “many friends” — the death of Macdonald “is just a f*cking knife in the heart for all of us who were close to him and all of you who loved him.”

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Saget begins the remembrance by explaining that he chose to post a “conversational, almost non-quotable” video rather than offer a concise statement on his friend’s passing “because I’m not functioning too well.”

The Full House star also recalls the story behind the infamous and beloved 2008 roast, in which Macdonald chose not to participate in the usual insult humor and instead performed a stand-up routine of decidedly old-fashioned style, much of which, Saget says, was greeted by a silence among the audience and ended up on the cutting-room floor.

“I talked to him a week before the roast and, and he said, ‘I can’t say mean things about you because you’re my friend,'” Saget recalls, remembering that Macdonald had warned that he planned to instead “read jokes from a ’40s joke book.” Even though Saget advised his friend to toss in some cursing in keeping with the Comedy Central mood, Macdonald “chose the path of dignity.”

Watch Norm Macdonald’s Top Moments: Burt Reynolds, Conan, Letterman, Bob Saget Roast & More

Saget and McDonald - Credit: Everett Collection
Saget and McDonald - Credit: Everett Collection

Everett Collection

In recalling the event, Saget refers to Macdonald in the present tense, explaining, “I can’t accept that he’s gone.”

Although Macdonald did not share details of his nearly 10-year bout with cancer, Saget says he himself suspected Macdonald’s health had taken a turn for the worse recently. “I knew that the last month was a turn in whatever was going on,” Saget says, adding that he suspected it was cancer but the two never discussed it. The friends had even been planning a project together, though Saget doesn’t go into details.

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“Last week, I got a text and it just said ‘I love you.’ And I didn’t say much back. I just said, ‘I love you Norm.’ And that was my [final] communication with him. … One of the gifts of my life is that he loved me, and that I loved him.”

“I loved him, and I love him,” Saget says. “What do we do with that when we lose someone?”

Watch the video above.

‘Saturday Night Live’ Pays Tribute To Norm Macdonald: “No One Was Funny Like Norm”

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