Norm Macdonald is reaching back to his sketch comedy roots, inking a deal with Comedy Central to exec produce and star in a half-hour pilot.
Project, from Macdonald and producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra, will feature a series of sketches and standup from the comedian-thesp, who last starred in Fox laffer “A Minute With Stan Hooper.”
Comedy Central has ordered production on the pilot, but no start date has been set. Cabler is currently out to showrunners and directors.
Macdonald, known for his dry, deadpan humor, said the success of Dave Chappelle prompted him to head toward the laffer net.
“I was mostly inspired by ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ He was always the funniest guy, and it was so cool to see him (undiluted) on TV,” he said. “My standup is a little more harder-edged than anything I’ve done before for TV — Comedy Central said, ‘Great!’ ”
Laffer net’s senior VP of programming and development Lauren Corrao said that, like most talent that has gone through the broadcast network gauntlet, “Norm wanted to surround himself with people who get what he’s about.
“He pokes fun at pop culture and things in the news. And he gets obsessed with weird things like death. If you watch his standup, he spends half an hour on dying — not something your average fortysomething is concerned with,” she said. “Norm also has this darker and, at times, raunchy side, which we can handle.”
Macdonald sold the show to the network execs by enacting some bits that reminded Corrao of his “Saturday Night Live” days.
“Even when he was doing characters on ‘SNL,’ there was always some Norm in them — that’s really what made his sketches funny,” she said. “He wasn’t necessarily an amazing impersonator.”
CAA-repped Macdonald produced and starred in the ABC comedy “Norm” and wrote for “Roseanne” and “SNL.” Feature credits include “The Animal,” “Screwed” and “Man on the Moon.”
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)