Let's talk about Norm Macdonald, divisive comic genius

“Norm splits people,” says Nerdwriter at the top of his latest video essay on stand-up icon Norm Macdonald. He’s not wrong. Macdonald has spent his career alienating audiences with jokes that repeatedly test an audience’s patience, whether it be through an “offensive” punchline (revisit his time hosting SNL’s…

Watch Norm Macdonald and Dave Letterman chit-chat for an hour about comedy and the state of late-night

Post-retirement, Dave Letterman continues to be selective (possibly even elusive) about where he pops up. A Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction here, a climate change documentary there, sure, but it’s rare to see him just shoot the breeze anymore. Which is why it was so invigorating to see Letterman mix it up with his…

Norm Macdonald tells a single joke in the teaser for his Netflix special

There isn’t much to say about this teaser for Norm Macdonald’s Netflix special, which is called Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery, as the whole thing is just him telling a single (pretty funny) joke. He’s basically questioning the basic concept of abbreviating “identification” into “ID,” which doesn’t really make a lot…

Our 20 favorite books of 2016

When things get hard, you can always retreat into a good book. For all the drawbacks of 2016, the year produced some wonderful books to lose ourselves in, from extraordinary memoirs to autobiographies seeking deeper truths about the nature of fame to fantasy worlds that hold us enthralled. In no particular order, The…

Read This: On SNL’s Bruce Chandling and other intentionally lousy comics

On the most recent edition of Saturday Night Live, Kyle Mooney brought back one of the strangest, most off-putting characters in his repertoire: Bruce Chandling, a hack stand-up comic whose utter lack of talent is rivaled only by his desperate need for the audience’s approval. Sad sack Chandling has no real “material”…

Read This: Conan O’Brien endures in late night by doing things his way

At 52, Conan O’Brien is the unlikely elder statesman of the late night talk show wars, as well as its longest-lasting current host. As an appreciative Washington Post article by Emily Yahr details, however, O’Brien is as boyish and spry as ever and seems delighted to be pursuing his own absurd comedic interests on his…

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Enter the Dancing Itos: 22 bits of pop culture ephemera inspired by the O.J. trial

From its opening statements in January to its October verdict, the O.J. Simpson trial dominated 1995. And while millions of people were transfixed on the actual day-to-day workings of the trial—watching it unfold live on TV like a twisted real-life soap opera—the trial’s ephemeral tentacles trickled into all sorts of…