The first “Weekend Update” segment of “Saturday Night Live’s” 47th season paid tribute to former cast member Norm Macdonald.
First, current cast member Pete Davidson joined “Update” co-anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost at the desk wearing a shirt with Macdonald’s image on it. Davidson sat down with them to discuss his appearance at the Met Gala, but shortly after, NBC’s late-night sketch comedy series used the last few minutes of the segment to celebrate Macdonald in a larger way.
Instead of talking about him, the show put together a package of some of his greatest hits at the desk, delivering what he liked to call “the fake news” well before that term became politically divisive.
The package began Macdonald talking about former president Bill Clinton being against gay marriages. “What’s more,” he said, “the president said he’s not too crazy about opposite sex marriages either.”
Not all of his jokes were overtly political, though. That one was followed by Macdonald discussing a proposed airport three miles west of San Diego, literally in the Pacific Ocean. “Built on 40 by 20-foot floating cylinders, it’s all part of a plan by city officials to have a huge disaster,” he said.
They also showed his joke about a “snake man” scaling a skyscraper and about O.J. Simpson.
The package ended with him using Walter Cronkite’s infamous, “And that’s the way it is, folks” sign-off.
Macdonald, who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” for five seasons in the 1990s (1993-1998) and then hosted in October 1999, died on Sept. 14 of this year after a long battle with cancer. On the sketch series, he was best known for anchoring the “Weekend Update” desk, which he did for three seasons, and for impressions that included David Letterman and Burt Reynolds.
“Saturday Night Live” airs live coast-to-coast Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC. The first four episodes of Season 47 also stream live on Peacock.