Bill Maher Praises Norm Macdonald for Keeping Cancer Diagnosis Secret

“The fact that I didn’t know about this, nobody knew about this — good one, Norm.”

Bill Maher reflected on the passing of standup great and SNL alum Norm Macdonald during a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

The 65-year-old Real Time With Bill Maher host praised Macdonald’s pure artist’s approach to joke writing.  

“A guy who was never afraid to be too subtle for most people,” Maher said. “He did the jokes he wanted to do. I love that.”

Maher also commented on the surprise manner in which Macdonald’s nine-year battle with cancer was only revealed after he’d succumbed to the disease. 

“I love that I found out he died after he died. Because to me, show business: We’re here for [the audience]. You’re not here for us.”

Maher added that he wasn’t “judging anybody,” but said that keeping the public informed of his personal health isn’t something he would do. 

“Sometimes, the audience loves that. I’ve never been in that camp,” he stated per the New York Post. “I am not here to burden you. I am here to lighten your burden.”

“So the fact that I didn’t know about this, nobody knew about this — good one, Norm. He kept it to himself because he’s in show business. He’s here to make you happy.”

Maher is one of many celebrity entertainers who have spoken on Macdonald’s legacy after death, including Steve Martin, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey

Upon hearing the news, Conan O’Brien tweeted, “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Jeselnik wrote, “Battling cancer for 9 years without telling anyone is the most Norm Macdonald shit ever.”