History repeated itself tonight, as an NBC late-night program abruptly booted comedian Norm Macdonald from a high-profile gig. This time, it wasn’t Saturday Night Live and “Weekend Update,” though, but The Tonight Show, which announced just a few minutes ago that it was killing Macdonald’s planned appearance on tonight’s episode in the wake of a controversial interview with the veteran stand-up that ran in The Hollywood Reporter today.
As previously reported, Macdonald’s interview managed to fall on the “predictable but disappointing” side of a shocking number of pop-culture issues, from his hearsay objections to Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, to his support for old friends like Louis CK and Roseanne Barr, to his belief that Chris Hardwick was a hapless victim of the #MeToo movement. And while Macdonald has now issued an apology for “minimizing the pain” of the people hurt by CK and Barr’s actions, it doesn’t appear to have been enough to stop The Tonight Show producers from wanting to distance themselves from his comments and the anger surrounding them.
“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,” the show said in a statement tonight. (They’ll be extending a Matthew McConaughey interview in the Macdonald segment’s place.)
As it happens, Macdonald touched on Tonight host Jimmy Fallon during the interview, defending him from accusations of “humanizing” Donald Trump during the run-up to the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, Macdonald’s new Netflix series, Norm Macdonald Has A Show, debuts this Friday, September 14.