photo & text by nacrowe
seriously, i should have known better reading anything by NORM MACDONALD.
this "memoir" ironically entitled BASED ON A TRUE STORY: NOT A MEMOIR (RANDOM HOUSE, 2016). comes from none other than MACDONALD, a man whose job description is to DEFY EXPECTATION. can't say it is not an accurate title, since being "based on true story" is an admittance of sorts that what you are about to enter is not entirely factual, true or based in any demonstrative reality that humans encounter on a daily basis.
the world of this "memoir" is one that allows MACDONALD to go on a series of inane trips and encounters that have NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING. things like going on a drug fueled bender in LAS VEGAS gambling away life savings to hopefully garner funds for a ranch in MONTANA while reminiscing about how you once took a MAKE-A-WISH patient to CANADA to help him fulfill his dream of stabbing a baby seal between the eyes. and so on. only interspersed between this seemingly random INSANITY are brief asides about SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, meeting CHRIS FARLEY, hosting WEEKEND UPDATE and his film DIRTY WORK (MGM, 1998). and how did he go about securing the much heralded WEEKEND UPDATE gig you may ask? through peddling opiates to show producer LORNE MICHAELS, of course.
reading this book is akin to listening to MACDONALD's legendary "moth" joke (embedded below from a celebrated CONAN appearance). in fact, the joke is included in BASED ON A TRUE STORY as being said by a doctor at a hospital before getting into a fight with MACDONALD.
this non-memoir is in essence an ENDURANCE TEST. all premise and no punch line or paint. but maybe that is the joke. the joke is on me for spending time and energy to read it expecting anything. and that is why i love MACDONALD. just the fact that he would write a memoir that defied all expectations of the genre. talk about playing the long game. well played sir, well played.
you are still missed.
RIP NORM MACDONALD