Despite being diagnosed with cancer nearly a decade ago, Norm Macdonald kept his prognosis a secret while continuing to work in Hollywood up until his death on September 14. As fans began reflecting on their favorite memories of Macdonald after the news was confirmed to Deadline, a clip of the star surfaced on social media, featuring him joking about cancer. Back in 2011 during his “Me Doing Stand-Up” TV special, Macdonald created a bit on why he “[didn’t] like” when people say one is “battling” cancer.
“In the old days, they’d go, ‘Hey, that old man died.’ Now, they go, ‘Hey, he lost his battle.’ That’s no way to end your life. Ya know, what a loser what guy was. The last thing he did was lose!” Macdonald quipped as the audience erupted into laughter, according to a video on Twitter. Going on about how the term “battle” makes one sound “cowardly,” Macdonald said, “I’m pretty sure, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time. So that, to me, is not a loss. That’s a draw.”
Fans felt it was unlikely that Macdonald’s outlook changed as his life continued, but they did wonder if the comedian had already been diagnosed with cancer when he created the routine. “He probably already knew when he wrote this joke,” one Twitter user replied to the clip, while another added, “Just what I was thinking. Damn.”