Controversial comedian Norm Macdonald has found himself on the outs again with Lorne Michaels and NBC. Macdonald's scheduled Sept. 11 appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (which is executive produced by Michaels) was abruptly canceled after Macdonald's remarks criticizing the #MeToo movement were published in a Hollywood Reporter interview that day. In the interview, Macdonald also expressed sympathy for disgraced comedians Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr. In 2017, Louis C.K. admitted to a long history of exposing his genitals to female colleagues without their consent, while Barr's "Roseanne" sitcom reboot was famously canceled in May by ABC, after she tweeted a racist remark about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Although Barr and Louis C.K. made public apologies, the damage has already been done to their careers, as they were dropped by their agents, and no major company is willing to work with them after the scandals.
After his "Tonight Show" appearance was canceled, Macdonald made his own apology, by tweeting: "Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry."
Macdonald's appearance on "The Tonight Show" was to promote his Netflix talk show "Norm Macdonald Has a Show," which premieres on Sept. 14. Ironically, Michaels is one of the show's guests, although his appearance was made before Macdonald got booted from "The Tonight Show."
"The Tonight Show" executive producer Michaels is also the creator/executive producer of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," where Macdonald was a cast member from 1993 until 1998 when he was fired.
In the Hollywood Reporter interview, Macdonald said, "I'm happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit." Macdonald defended Barr, saying that she "is not a racist." He also had this to say about the scandal that ruined Barr's career: "There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that."
NBC issued this statement about Macdonald's canceled "Tonight Show" appearance: “Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today, ‘The Tonight Show’ has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday’s telecast."
Macdonald was a writer on the original "Roseanne" series, as well as the reboot. During the Hollywood Reporter interview, Macdonald also said that he convinced Louis C.K. to call Barr to comfort her after the scandal hit and that the disgraced comedians both gave each other advice during the conversation. Macdonald also praised Jimmy Fallon, Michael Che and Colin Jost, three of the comedians who have followed in his footsteps as "Weekend Update" anchors on "Saturday Night Live."
During his controversial stint as "Weekend Update" anchor on "Saturday Night Live," Macdonald repeatedly made derogatory jokes about famous criminal justice cases involving black defendants, such as O.J. Simpson, Marion Barry and Michael Jackson, with Macdonald occasionally calling Jackson a "homosexual pedophile." On "Saturday Night Live" in 1996, MacDonald had this to say when talking about convicted killer John Lotter (whose murder of transgender man Brandon Teena was later the basis of the movie "Boys Don't Cry"), after Lotter was convicted of the attempted murder of a transgender woman: "I believe everyone involved in this story should die." Macdonald also committed an FCC violation in 1997, when he said the word "f**k" on "Saturday Night Live."
It remains to be seen what will happen to Macdonald's relationship with Netflix after this latest controversy. Netflix was one of the companies that severed ties with Louis C.K. after his #MeToo scandal.