Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show canceled a planned appearance by Norm Macdonald this week “out of sensitivity to our audience” after the comedian seemed to question the value of the #MeToo movement and defend his friends Roseanne Barr and Louis C.K. in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. On Thursday morning, The View welcomed him to their stage without hesitation.
The day before, Macdonald explained to Howard Stern that Fallon came backstage during the show’s taping to let him know he had been bumped, in part because “senior producers” were “crying” backstage over the prospect of him appearing on the show. The comic offered a sincere apology for his original comments on Twitter but then seemed to make things worse by telling Stern that “you'd have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry for” women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted.
Looking visibly shaken, Macdonald tried his best to explain the various comments he has made over the past few days. “I’ve known Roseanne for a while and I was worried about her because she seemed really, really in a bad place,” he told The View. “And I said, I can’t really talk to you about this because I’ve never been through anything like this, and I said I know Louis and he’s been through this where he’s had everything taken from him.” So he suggested they talk to each other. “I was really concerned about Roseanne and, you know, I don’t want someone to end up killing themselves,” he added.
When he told The Hollywood Reporter that “the victims didn’t have to go through that,” Macdonald clarified that he was talking about the experience of having their careers taken away—though that may not be the case when it comes to the female comedians C.K. victimized. “Of course,” he said, “the victims have gone through worse than that.”
As for his controversial comments to Stern, Macdonald said, “It's always bad when you have to apologize for an apology,” added that he “realized at that moment” he “had done something unforgivable” when he made that “terrible, terrible, terrible” joke about people with Down syndrome.
Later, Macdonald said it did surprise him that Tonight Show staffers were supposedly crying over the idea of him appearing on that show. “I have been surprised, because, you know, I never did anything,” he said. “I mean, I spoke, but I mean, I've never—I don't want to be tossed in with people that actually did, not crimes, but sins. You know, I barely have consensual sex.”
It wasn’t until the end of the interview that The View got around to mentioning the reason Macdonald has been doing press in the first place: This Friday, his new Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, begins streaming. “I feel a little weird plugging it now,” he said, despondently.