The Las Vegas Strip performer paid tribute to the comedian with iconic reel
By Jason R. Latham
One of the great highlights of Norm Macdonald’s storied career came at the expense of longtime Las Vegas Strip performer Carrot Top. But hours after the comedian’s sudden death sent shockwaves of grief throughout the entertainment community, Carrot Top showed that he’s all class.
Let’s rewind for the uninitiated. In the late 90s, long before his headlining gig at Luxor Las Vegas, the prop comic, having achieved minor fame working comedy clubs and making television appearances, was poised for a breakout with his first leading role in the feature film Chairman of the Board. His co-stars included comedy greats Larry Miller, Fred Stoller, and Taylor Negron, and his leading lady was Melrose Place star Courtney Thorne-Smith.
The film was a box office flop, but it still talked about to this day because of Thorne-Smith’s appearance on a 1997 episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Macdonald, who at the time was widely known as Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” anchor, was also a guest on the show that night, and sat next to Thorne-Smith during her segment.
O’Brien, who was struggling to rein in the comedian, tried to focus on Thorne-Smith, asking the actress about her role as Carrot Top’s on-screen romantic partner.
“Lots of making out, nothing but making out,” Thorne-Smith said. “It’s like 9 ½ Weeks but with Carrot Top.”
That’s when Macdonald struck.
“Is it called 9 ½ seconds,” he cracked.
He then followed it up with a perfectly-executed Norm Macdonald coda; “Like he’s a premature ejaculator.”
O’Brien and sidekick Andy Richter cracked up, but that was just the door opening for Macdonald. When the host asked Thorne-Smith what her Carrot Top film was called, the comedian jumped in.
“If it’s got Carrot Top you know what a good name for it would be? Box office poison!” he said.
As the actress recoiled, O’Brien playfully chastised the comedian, but gave him yet another opening when Thorne-Smith revealed the title of the film was Chairman of the Board.
“Do something with that, you freak,” O’Brien teased.
Macdonald didn’t even flinch: “I’ll bet the ‘Board’ is spelled b-o-r-e-d.”
O’Brien lost it. Richter lost it. The audience lost it. Thorne-Smith lost it. Macdonald had won the night. That’s why the clip exists online under the title “Norm Saves the Interview.”
Upon Macdonald’s death from cancer Tuesday, the clip began circulating around social media once again, and Carrot Top took the opportunity to call out the late comedian from the stage during his show at Luxor.
“Norm was a very funny dude and a unique kind of talent,” Carrot Top told his audience. “I wouldn’t say we were best of friends, but I think we were friends and I met him many times.
“This thing he did on Conan O’Brien is just f***ing great.”
The comic then rolled a clip of Macdonald’s Late Night appearance. As the Luxor audience roared at “b-o-r-e-d” Carrot Top raised a drink; “So, cheers to Norm Macdonald.”
And what else is there to say? Cheers Norm, thanks for the memories.