Comic Norm MacDonald campaigning for job as ‘Late Late Show’ host

06/01/2014 8:38 PM

06/03/2014 2:23 PM

When Norm Macdonald was fired from his role anchoring “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” in early 1998, there was little recourse for his hard-core fans.

“Time magazine had this thing,” Macdonald said. “If you wanted to keep Norm going, you had to clip out a coupon and send it to NBC.”

If only Twitter had been around then, he mused. Of course, since the executive then running NBC Entertainment, Don Ohlmeyer, had declared him “not funny,” even a groundswell of support might have made no difference.

In what has amounted to an unabashed “remember this name” plea, Macdonald has, over the past month, been at the center of a concerted campaign to enter his name into the running for the last remaining vacancy after the recent upheaval in late-night television.

That spot is the 11:35 p.m. “Late Late Show” on CBS, now occupied by Craig Ferguson, who has announced he will be stepping down at the end of the year.

How much does Norm Macdonald want Ferguson’s slot? Enough to retweet many of the encouraging messages with the hashtag #latelatenormnorm — and that has been a considerable number.

The volume has been heavy enough for his name to have been listed as trending nationally numerous times.

Needless to say, Macdonald has not been discouraging his followers.

“I know you’re supposed to be coy and say, ‘If nominated I will not run,’” he said. “But it would be so cool to get that job.”

While Macdonald’s pursuit is surely seen as a bit quixotic by some, he could be onto something new in show business: going the Twitter route to land a role, particularly given that his profile is not exactly exalted at the moment.

Macdonald’s realistic take on the situation is that he hopes CBS conducts the kind of tryout for the job that won Ferguson the position in 2005. He praised Ferguson for being experimental and said he, too, would try to shake the format up.

“I’m obviously not flavor of the month,” he said. “But I feel like I could beat out anyone else. I feel like I’m at my prime fighting age. I feel like a boxer sitting in my hotel room watching some flabby white guys on TV.”

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