Norm Macdonald’s Boring, Genius Twitter Golf Commentary   

Slate's Culture Blog
July 19 2013 12:46 PM

Follow Friday: Norm Macdonald’s Boring, Genius Live Golf Commentary   

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Norm Macdonald is one of the funniest comedians on Twitter, but little evidence of this fact remains online. Macdonald, most famous for his stint as host of SNL’s Weekend Update in the mid ’90s, uses the site to toss off splendidly silly one-liners and, bizarrely, to do play-by-play commentary of golf tournaments. Tragically, Macdonald deletes the vast majority of these tweets, leaving behind relatively few traces of his micro-blogging genius.

Currently, Macdonald (@NormMacdonald) is doing a live “Normcast” of this weekend’s British Open. Taken individually, these tweets appear to be nothing more than the poorly spelled ramblings of a former gambling addict and obsessive compulsive golf fan.

@normmacdonald: The players yet to tee off must be salivating. Jordan Speith, brimming with confidence, rady to take over Rory's glory.
@normmacdonald: Zach Jonhnson has it to 6 under through 12. Extraordinary.
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But within the context of an ordinary Twitter newsfeed—with its hive mind feeding frenzies and hourly memes—these golf tweets serve as delightful non-sequiturs punctuating otherwise banal streams of jokes about Detroit’s bankruptcy.

@normmacdonald: Meanwhile, the third member of that group. Tiger, is having an adventure at the first. Nobody expected this.

If you care about sports but don’t really care about golf, following Norm is the best way to stay up to date on what’s happening at the majors without having to pay any real attention. It’s not entirely clear whether Macdonald is skewering golf commentary with his bone-dry wit or parroting Jim Nantz and co. for an as-yet-indiscernible reason. It’s possible the punchline will come at some point in 2016, when Phil Mickelson is on the 18th green at Augusta. In the meantime, we’re treated to tweets like these:

@normmacdonald: Watney and Fowler doing nothing but watching Tiger now. He will soon have the rest of the field reduced to gallery as well. Tiger is back.

If the golf stuff is just too boring, though, there are plenty of other reasons to follow Norm. His Twitter comedy is reminiscent of the classic “note to self” bits he used to do on Weekend Update and in the movie Dirty Work, which were Twitter comedy before Twitter was invented. (“Note to self: no matter how bad life gets, there’s always beer”). Some recent examples:

@normmacdonald: The more I read about this Hitler character the more I don't care for him.
@normmacdonald: Never say never. fuck I just said it twice.          

Norm’s tweets are also similar to the classic Larry King as senile coot impersonation that he used to do in his SNL days:

@normmacdonald: I think if Abraham Lincoln were alive today he would look around,scream, and desperately claw at the inside of his coffin.
@normmacdonald: "Way to go Einstein": Albert Einstein talking to himself after doing something stupid.

Like in his legendary (to comedy super-fans) trolling of Bob Saget’s Comedy Central roast, Macdonald’s punchline is the idea that anyone would make such a stupid joke:

@normmacdonald: Someone just informed me it's daylight savings time tonight. Hah. That's a laugh. I give it six months.     
@normmacdonald: This twitter addiction is a serious thing. My doctor said its untweetable.

Still, while you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy Norm’s tweets, the best ones are often about sports. This lovely recounting of Norm’s childhood experience watching ice hockey’s classic 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet Union and his native Canada has a raw, almost poetic quality. 

@normmacdonald: The puck is dropped and the real Cold War begins. NOW!!!!
@normmacdonald: In the first intermission the gymnasium is alive with raw nerve. The young all say we will win for sure. The old men don't.
@normmacdonald: The second period is like taking a punch in the gut from the school bully.
@normmacdonald: And then the greatest moment in my life.
@normmacdonald: Cold wars don't end in ties.

Macdonald knows how to tell a story. I for one will be keeping an eye on Twitter Sunday afternoon to see what he has to say about the one unfolding at Muirfield.

UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: Since this post's original publication, Norm has deleted the majority of his remaining tweets and nearly all of his Twitter history going back to March.

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.