Norm Macdonald reflected on mortality in a Netflix special filmed before his death at the age of 61

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Details: The late Norm Macdonald opened up about his own mortality in his latest comedy special, Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which debuted on Netflix on Monday

Norm Macdonald spoke about mortality in his latest comedy special, Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which debuted on Netflix Monday.

In the posthumous release, the comedian, who died on September 14, 2021 at the age of 61 after battling leukemia for nearly 10 years, did not speak about his personal health, but instead spoke about issues such as speaking to God, writing his will and asking his family to pull the plug on him when he was in a coma.

The Saturday Night Live alum taped the special at a desk in his home in a single take, according to the streaming service, before undergoing surgery amid his illness.

Details: The late Norm Macdonald opened up about his own mortality in his latest comedy special, Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special, which debuted on Netflix on Monday

In the special, Macdonald wore a plaid blazer with a ball cap and headphones, which he liked because they covered his whitened hair.

“I don’t want someone to paint my hair black because I don’t want to die and then be surprised when God says, ‘Well, I made your hair white — what do you think all that was? I told you to get your affairs in order, for God’s sake,” the Quebec City-born comedian said.

Speaking on the importance of a living will in the special, Macdonald said: “You have to be prepared for whatever life in this world throws at you. I learned that as I got older…you only have so much time; you have to make a choice.”

A title card in the special read: “Norm was hard at work preparing footage for his Netflix special – until COVID shut things down. He was due to undergo surgery in the summer of 2020 and, as he put it, “don’t want to leave anything on the table in case it goes wrong”. At home, the night before he went in, he shot that – in one take.”

Macdonald spoke about the importance of a living will in the special, saying,

Macdonald spoke about the importance of a living will in the special, saying, “You have to be prepared for whatever life in this world throws at you.”

In the special, Macdonald wore a plaid blazer with a ball cap and headphones, which he liked because they covered his whitened hair

In the special, Macdonald wore a plaid blazer with a ball cap and headphones, which he liked because they covered his whitened hair

The special is broken up into approximately 50 minutes of Macdonald’s material, with an additional half hour of commentary from Macdonald’s friends and fellow comedians – including Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Molly Shannon, Adam Sandler, Conan O’Brien and David Spade.

Chappelle said in the special, “This guy has done a weird balancing act with his mortality, hilarious. And ironically, he’s no longer with us. We sit in the aftermath of Norm Macdonald and watch him incredibly alive.

Letterman said of Macdonald, who filmed the special while he was ill, “Due to his circumstances, he bumped into it several times but didn’t stop. And extremely meaningful to us from that perspective.”

Sandler said Macdonald never let you know about his health, although he “got emotional” when they performed on tour together.

In the posthumous release, the comedian didn't discuss his personal health, but instead discussed topics like speaking to God, writing his will and asking his family to unplug him if he were in a coma

In the posthumous release, the comedian didn’t discuss his personal health, but instead discussed topics like speaking to God, writing his will and asking his family to unplug him if he were in a coma

A title card in the special explained the circumstances behind the special

A title card in the special explained the circumstances behind the special

Macdonald died on September 14, 2021 at the age of 61 after battling leukemia for almost 10 years.  He was photographed performing in San Diego in 2017

Macdonald died on September 14, 2021 at the age of 61 after battling leukemia for almost 10 years. He was photographed performing in San Diego in 2017

“He’d suddenly be really teary-eyed and stuff, and he’d say, ‘That’s wonderful, just the tour itself,'” Sandler said. “It would just be so much fun to see him. He had so much energy to hang on.’

Shannon recalled how unusually emotional Macdonald was towards her when they saw each other on Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special in 2015.

She said: “As soon as he saw me he said, ‘I love you Molly.’ He blurted it out immediately. I could feel that he had this urgency to say whatever was on his mind because maybe he’ll never have that moment again. I thought, “Oh, there’s something different about Norm.”

The comic was known for hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, as well as his standup work and the feature film Dirty Work

The comic was known for hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, as well as his standup work and the feature film Dirty Work

A number of the late comedian's peers gathered in LA earlier this month for a celebration of his life

A number of the late comedian’s peers gathered in LA earlier this month for a celebration of his life

Molly Shannon recalled in the special how Macdonald was unusually emotional with her when they saw each other on Saturday Night Live's 40th Anniversary Special in 2015

Molly Shannon recalled in the special how Macdonald was unusually emotional with her when they saw each other on Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special in 2015

Conan O'Brien said that after Macdonald's death he realized the comedian didn't want the attention of people who knew about his health struggle.

Conan O’Brien said that after Macdonald’s death he realized the comedian didn’t want the attention of people who knew about his health struggle.

O’Brien said that after Macdonald’s death, he realized the comedian didn’t want the attention of people who knew about his health struggle.

“When he left, everyone in the community was, we all thought we were the only ones who didn’t know, and we were so upset we didn’t get a chance to tell him what he meant to us,” he said. “It was clear to me very quickly that he would not have tolerated that.”

The special’s executive producer, Lori Jo Hoekstra, told Deadline after Macdonald’s death that the late comedian “never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of their loved ones saw him.”

Hoekstra said in a statement that the presentation “was not originally intended to be a final product” as “COVID restrictions prevented him from filming in front of audiences.”

Norm Macdonald: Nothing special to watch on Netflix.

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