'Sports Show with Norm Macdonald' premiere review: 'Wait, what?' Norm's sly sports jokes were winners

Sports Show with Norm Macdonald was a fine way to bring the terrific comedian back to weekly television. Combining his SNL “Weekend Update” news delivery with athletics, the show was a fast-moving, joke-packed half-hour.

Macdonald ran through a series of one-liners interspersed with taped bits and apparently regular, longer segments such as “Wait, What?” and “What the H.” This week’s “What the H” was “What the h is up with Tiger Woods,” in which the host analyzed the faltering golf career and scandal past of Woods. Macdonald ascribed Woods’ problem to “leading a double life: He golfed by day and then laid down with ladies by night.” This is one of Macdonald’s unique comic strategies; he’ll take a slightly arcane phrase such as “lay down with ladies” and repeat it with a (semi-)straight face, and it, kinda magically, becomes funny.

Macdonald can get away with poor taste humor, as he did this night with lines about Mike Tyson, Yogi Berra, and quick questions such as,  “When will the guys on Dirty Jobs be a prostitute? Isn’t that the filthiest job of all?” He does it with his perpetual half-grin and genial, what-me-worry? demeanor.

It’s great to have Macdonald back on TV regularly. I don’t follow many sports, but I’ll be watching this show on Comedy Central every week.

How about you?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (55 total) Add your comment
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  • angeljake

    Huge SNL fan and Norm was fine on there but his recent stand up was so bad I wont be tuning in. I mean that was some of the worst stand up I have ever seen.

    • Shaun

      Really the worst stand up you have ever seen? Guessing you have not seen much stand up. What were all those people laughing at? I know I was right there with them.

      • rerun

        I saw im like a year and a half ago, and he did this Sierra Mist joke and I was crying from laughing so hard. Long live Norm!!!

      • Matt W

        Yeah it was fantastic. Anyone who can make cancer and heart attacks funny, is great in my book. Although my book isn’t terribly big.

      • angeljake

        Sam Kinison at the height of his career second row…that was funny.

    • Roekest

      Then you’ve never seen Kathy Griffin or Elayne Boosler on stage….

    • HillBilly

      This show is boring, horrible & sad. Enjoy your last hurrah Norm. No one likes you.

  • Bette

    I LOVE Norm MacDonald. Always, always makes me laugh. Will definitely keep watching.

  • Jeff Sullivan

    This is great stuff. Like adding the anti humor of his modern stuff with the classic style. So glad he’s back, and can’t wait to see him at the wilbur theater in july

  • Jay

    watched his new standup….really wasn’t that funny. Watched him live about two years ago, and had to walk out because he seemed to be on something. That being said, i’m still a fan and i tuned in for his sports show. I’m glad i did, because it was Norm at his best. The show is exactly fit for him and his humor.

  • Rich

    I love Norm’s unique approach to comedy. Maybe he’s not the best stand-up around, but this “news show” format fits his style perfectly. The guy is incredibly funny. He’ said stuff on SNL that I still laugh about today. And last night with the one about the Extreme Fighting and Cage fighting merging to be come a sport called MURDER… That was hilarious!

    • YH

      The MURDER joke was the funniest line of the night.

      • Valerie Nolan


  • Colleen

    I loved the show! I love Norm and thought it was great. It was great that he used real sports stories and not made up ones like “The Onion Sports Dome”. The Onion sports was was horrible. I laughed so many times last night. Loved the line about MIke Tyson`s app!

    • Jah- Fou

      The Onion Sports Dome and The Onion News Network are parody shows, making fun of the inane hyberbole of sportscasters and news in general. Which they capture perfectly. Norm waits for people to laugh at his jokes and then their applause, at EVERY joke! It’d be fine if it was funny but his show is dead on arrival. This will be his last season. He’s funny when he can be swear and himself like on the Stern show but on this format he sucks. Too bad

  • Dumbledore Fluffernutter

    Have to add this show on my DVR.He is frequently hilarious.

  • ASH

    What network is this on?

    • nunya

      Yes, please let us know what network/day and time this show comes on – thanks!

    • Ken Tucker

      Sorry–it’s on Comedy Central; I’ve added it to the post now. Thank you.

  • Rush

    This guy still has a career?

  • Stuart

    Norm McDonald is to standup what Cuba Gooding, Jr. is to stylish shoes, if you get my meaning.

    • Brad Adien

      I for one have no idea what your meaning is.

  • L

    I give it a “meh”. A few good jokes, but not can’t-miss TV.

  • rich

    funny show from a funny guy who’s not afraid to “go there”.

  • joanne

    I watched it and I have to say only about half of it was funny to me. I didn’t care for the jokes in poor taste, he is funniest when he says something ironic/unexpected, and the mike tyson and yogi berra jokes were old and tired.

  • Will

    I thought it was terribly unfunny, especially the extended lame joke with Blake Griffin. Also, do we really need Mike Tyson rape jokes in 2011???

  • LP

    I love when people say they don’t GET Norm MacDonald. Many of the comments above, knocking either his show or his stand-up, are not fans because they don’t understand Norm’s humor. If you didn’t GET his roast of Bob Saget or his moth joke on Conan, don’t bother cus you’re not a fan and you never will be.

    • Susan

      I just looked up the moth joke after reading your post. I’m crying I’m laughing so hard! Hilarious!

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