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Original Issue

True to Norm

An ex-SNL funnyman swings his dry schtick at sports

Thirteen years after being fired from Saturday Night Live—reportedly for going too hard after O.J. Simpson—Norm Macdonald is back with snarky insights into athletics on Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, which airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. SI caught up with the comedian:

SI When you hosted the ESPYs in 1998, you joked that owner Jerry Jones vowed to get the Cowboys back "to what made us a championship team: strippers and crack." Will you pull any punches on the show?

Macdonald We'll go nuts. It's not like these are world leaders who are going to blow up the world. These are guys with big arms. Barry Bonds failed a drug test. First of all, that's how these guys got here. They failed a lot of tests.

SI Whom do you consider funny in sports?

NM I liked [former Nets center] Jayson Williams a lot. I thought he was really funny, but then he shot his limo driver in the chest. I just did this thing with Blake Griffin for the show, and that guy is hysterical. He's a cool, funny kid.

SI You recently tweeted: If murder were legal in football, O.J. would still have his Heisman. Why do you love O.J. jokes?

NM That guy cracks me up. Anybody who protests their innocence against such overwhelming evidence makes me laugh. Nobody is funnier than Charles Manson to me.

SI Are you bothered by the behavior of Ben Roethlisberger or Michael Vick?

NM I don't care about gossip. I just feel gypped that I can't see them play. Look at Tiger. I've been watching golf forever. Tiger reenergized it, and then he lays down some ladies and I don't get to watch him? I'm the victim in having to watch some guy named Martin Kaymer.

SI You finished 20th at the World Series of Poker in 2007. Where does this rank with, say, Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins?

NM They always ask, Is poker a sport? I consider it not to be a sport because some moron like me can come in 20th. A guy who has never played poker in his life can win the world championship. That can't happen in the World Series of baseball.