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I had a brief cherished friendship with Norm Macdonald online, and I'd like to tell you about it
Rest in peace to the Greatest of All Time.
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The truth feels unbearable. So often it is too much to bear. You can’t say it. You know you can’t say it. It’s killing you to not be able to say it…
And then there’s someone who just goes ahead—and says the thing. The thing you’re not supposed to say.
Do you know how THRILLING that is?
Norm Macdonald did.
A sort of throwback to an ageless kind of cool that fully represented Not Giving a Shit, Norm would say the totally unbearable thing, thereby suddenly making it bearable again and resulting in something like a wizard’s trick of quantum proportions.
Because the truth, when it is told in a comedic tone wherein everyone must emit laughter because of the enormity of tension that is released upon a person being able to articulate into words the reality of what everyone has been silently perceiving—but everyone also understands the rules of social decorum enough to never actually acknowledge it aloud—is so momentous and freeing, it feels like orgasm itself.
It feels like being alive.
What I loved about Norm Macdonald was his bravery in saying what was the actual hilarious very real thing to say was.
The truth is unbearable.
But not when you have guts.
If you’re not scared of the unbearable truth, then everyone else is so much less scared too.
It feels almost like being high because, let’s be honest, there is no greater high than being free and unafraid and unencumbered by anyone else’s energy and fears and concerns.
Like, just for instance, when you look at Norm’s interview with the chick from Melrose Place that has been recycled a bit around on Twitter in the wake of his death.
He and Conan are joking with Courtney-Thorne Smith about how she is in a new movie with Carrot Top, and in guessing the name of the movie Macdonald deadpans, “You know what a good name for it would be?”
“What’s that, Norm?” Conan sets him up.
“Box Office Poison,” Norm says.
Which is of course the funniest possible thing to say because it is the blistering, turn-to-ash, honest-to-God unbearable truth.
While the majority of people look to those around them for the perfect euphemistic answers and try to figure out how to ape the consensus-friendly talking point to make shit taste like sugar, Norm never suffered that quality-loss moment of focus-grouping because he knew that focus group platitudes are worthless. Only the truth has value. Only the truth is dangerous. Only the truth lifts the veil and makes reality undeniable.
Here’s my unbearable truth:
I began my friendship with Norm around the time my marriage was not working out, and it was a sweet friendship.
Then he blocked me after I was slow to respond to him one time. I thought it was because I sent him some donation request but I don’t see that in the history. Or, it could have been because I introduced him to a contact of mine which is an obvious no-no but I guess I was feeling pretty confident in my friendship.
So yeah, likely I violated one of the cardinal rules of friendships with celebrities, which is that you are precious with the relationship so they don’t feel used by you.
It was a strange thing when it happened, and even revisiting it right now, because my reaction was and is sheer flatness.
Which may sound like a bad thing but here’s what I really mean:
I don’t care anymore.
So maybe I succeeded in learning something from Norm after all.
I’ve gone through some of our various interactions and notated them for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy them, and mostly, I hope you too can experience the freedom that comes in relinquishing control of the outcome. It’s a good place to be.
Here is the story of my little friendship.
1. I wrote him encouraging words when the press were being total cunts to him while he was on his Netflix press tour.
2. I also offered various ways to help when I saw friends of his being maligned.
3. I shared with him the work of Lt. Corbis, a preteen comedic wunderkind provocateur who has since been removed from YouTube. Soph used a clip from Norm’s YouTube show.
If you aren’t familiar with Lt. Corbis (Soph), this is the clip that got her banned from YouTube and now lives on BitChute. It’s what I sent Norm.
4. I spammed him, another comic and Andrew Yang with a book about highly sensitive people that I got super autistic about for a while and couldn’t shut up about.
5. I started, like, aggressively sharing stock tips about Roblox for some reason?
6. And, finally, I also wrote him some real cringey-ass shit about my book. Which is like someone complaining, like, just DIRECTLY to Steve Wynn about their table view after checking into his hotel. Just—good lord. So missing the mark on my part and not understanding how Hollywood works. What a gentleman though. He gave me the gift of kindness in return with his reply. And that’s all people ever want, really: Hope. I still feel it, TBH.
Rest in all of the peace, dear Norm Macdonald.
Thank you for the courage.