"I have never seen the Nanette thing because I never wanted to comment on it. But from what I have read about it, [Gadsby] is saying that comedy is now not about laughter," said Macdonald, who was fired from Saturday Night Live in the late 1990s after calling Michael Jackson a "homosexual pedophile" and saying trans murder victim Brandon Teena deserved to die.
"And of course that's a slap in the face of a traditional stand-up comedian who thinks that comedy by dictionary definition is about laughter. And that that's your job. You actually do have a job onstage."
Gadsby was quick to clap back at Macdonald's dismissal.
I'd never heard of this Norm McDonald bloke because I didn't want to make a comment about him. I don't like him though. #dickbiscuit
— Hannah Gadsby (@Hannahgadsby) September 11, 2018
Macdonald, who is promoting his upcoming Netflix talk show Norm Macdonald Has a Show, also campaigned for the redemption of his friends Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr; the former accused of repeated sexual harassment and the latter fired from her show for a racist tweet. Barr gave Macdonald his first Hollywood gig and once again employed him to write on her show's recent reboot.
"Roseanne was so broken up [after her show's reboot was canceled] that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that. But she was just so broken and just crying constantly," he told THR. "There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that."
After undermining the immense trauma victims of sexual misconduct and racism face, Macdonald went on to say, "I'm happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit ... that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there."
In response to a speedy backlash to his remarks, Macdonald tweeted out an apology.
Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) September 11, 2018
He's yet to apologize to Gadsby — or Brandon Teena's family.