Back in February, a very specific group of friends (you know who you are) each sent me the same bit of news. Comedy Central had ordered 8 episodes of Sports Show with Norm MacDonald, which was then described as “part Daily Show, part Tosh.0 and part Onion SportsDome.” If you’re a fan of Norm’s, you might have fist pumped a little, knowing that 1) he’d be back on TV for you to laugh at and 2) he would be doing what he does best: reading the news. Fast forward to April, when we started seeing Norm MacDonald’s face on the late night circuit, hearing his 5 am slur on the Stern Show, and tonight, watching the series premiere.
Now there are 2 types of people in this world, people who find Norm MacDonald hilarious, and those who don’t. It seems his “funny for being unfunny” act doesn’t go over with everybody, and even though I have a VHS copy of Dirty Work at my parents’ house, I get that. But if you’re in the “don’ts,” let’s get it straight right now – you’re probably not going to like “Sports Show.” If you’re a fan, you’ll feel right at home from the first segment, which is pretty much a Weekend Update of the sportsworld, highlighted by Norm’s repeated enunciation of the name “Charl Schwartzel.” After that, Norm had Blake Griffin help out with a taped bit in which the host himself barely appeared.
Clever workaround by the guy who said he was “right to be fired [from Saturday Night Live] because “I couldn’t f****** act.” He took time to have some fun with Jim Nantz’s historic putt calls and offered his opinions on Tiger Woods “lying down with ladies” in a segment called “What the H?” reminiscent of fellow Weekend Update Anchor Dennis Miller’s HBO show in the 90s (which he worked on).
All in all, the format is definitely designed to put Norm in his element, although I’d like to see some guests in future shows. Reading the news is how his awkward cadence and dry delivery just work, and Norm of course takes opportunities to throw out some jokes to remind us that after all, he’s just a hilarious old hack at heart.
“I’m excited and look forward to doing this series,” said Macdonald. “On this show, we plan to put the central back in COMEDY CENTRAL.”