Some good friends hosted me for dinner recently. On the way, I picked up some flowers to give them as a gesture of thanks. Which, if you think about it, is a terribly inconsiderate gift.
I’m an asshole!
“Hi, thanks for having me over. I know you’ve been taking care of your kids all day while also trying to prepare a meal for me. So, I brought you a chore! Please interrupt your efforts to make my dinner so you can find a vase, cut the stems and put these flowers somewhere. I’ll just pour myself a glass of your wine while I watch you!”
So here are some additional scenes of party etiquette and discomfort.
1) An SNL classic from 1979: Superman and Lois Lane host a superhero dinner party. Highlight: John Belushi as the Hulk wrecks the host bathroom. (Sorry, no embedded clip available.)
2) From The Office. Conventional snark says that the U.S. version this show collapsed into uselessness after the first two seasons, which were almost identical reproductions of the Ricky Gervais U.K. production. But the Steve Carell U.S. edition had a longer shelf life and more magic than we give it credit for. Exhibit A: The Dinner Party episode from season four, in which Mike Scott and Jan host a torturously awkward dinner party that finally disintegrates into a loud breakup refereed by the cops. Might be my favorite episode of the series. Here is the delightful and underrated Melora Hardin as Jan, dancing to a song by her young former assistant commemorating a special night they shared.
Full episode here.
3) And finally, the only scene I ever remember from the movie Brain Candy, by Kids In the Hall. Dave Foley plays a grown son making a hilariously brief family appearance on Thanksgiving.
Because he seems despondent in them. You can’t tell me he’s not mainlining Klonopin to get through these spots. (Always pay your bookie first, Norm.)
And some other Norm news lately has been bad or just odd: His live PGA tournament update tweets that border on performance art. HIs peculiar recent controversy about being criticized on Twitter for his study of scripture (?), which made him a fleeting and unlikely rallying point for right-leaning religious types. His swiftly canceled sports show on Comedy Central that just never found a stride. Seems like rocky times to be Norm Macdonald.
Which sucks because Norm Macdonald is funny as hell. And not just from back in the day, in his SNL Weekly Update prime. This clip from a 2009 stand up special is a great example. I especially love this clip because beneath the detached snark he’s personal and poignant while wrecking the feel good characterization of “battling” a terminal disease. And he’s fucking funny. (I tried to embed the clip but Comedy Central’s crappy clip site gives you worthless code. So you just get the link, with an annoying commercial plus inexplicable bleeping of the “swear words.”)
Here he observes why it’s entirely expected for a crocodile hunter to die. As Jon Stewart squirms, Norm just mashes the gas even harder:
Finally, there is this, Macdonald’s much-discussed trolling at the Bob Saget Comedy Central roast a few years back. Norm commits to six-plus minutes of terrible hack jokes, ridiculing the entire roast premise while bewildering many and riotously amusing the handful who caught up with what he was doing.
And our friend Tim O’Shea always finds the hidden gems, in this case Norm breaking down his Saget roast experience to WTF’s Marc Maron. It includes the sublime line, “All I could see were the angry eyes of Alan Thicke.”
I don’t know who this CNN financial pundit is, but I can’t wait to see Bill Hader play him on SNL.