Late Night with Conan O'Brien
OCTOBER 28, 2003 (NBC)
Conan: Alright everybody we’re back. [Crowd ‘wooo’s] Wooo! Yay television. Ha, ha. Better than books. Uhhhh- It’s a terrible message! Don’t read, watch! Uh- my first guest, of course, was a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Starting tomorrow night you can see him on his brand new series, “A Minute with Stan Hooper”. Please welcome... Norm MacDonald.
[Norm enters, he shares a fake passionate hug with Conan, turns to the audience and throws his hands up, then sits]
Conan: Look at you.
Norm: Look at this, huh?
Conan: You big show business guy, you.
Norm: Yeah, man.
Conan: How are you? Look at, what- what are you talking about? What, you look nice. You look great. I like the sweater and everything. You look very good.
Norm: Yeah, I got the sweater. I got, uh… the pants. [audience laughs]
Conan: Yeah, I’m glad you went with pants this time. That’s good. When you don’t wear the pants, that’s very upsetting. Are you glad- I just want to know, I haven’t talked to you in a while, are you glad to be back in New York City? Is it good for you to get-
Norm: Yeah. It’s the greatest city in the world. [massive applause from audience] I- I- I love New York, I lived here for five years. It’s fantastic. I went today to see my old doorman, Steve. Uh, I-
Conan: Was he- was he your doorman in the old days when you were just getting started out?
Norm: Yeah, when I was just getting started out, I got an apartment building, Adam Sandler got me in it. And, um, it was funny because, I was uh, in my first year on Saturday Night Live, I was hardly on anything. I was a writer. And, uh, Sandler would always go to the doorman and say, “Hey, you know, Norm’s on Saturday Night Live.” And he’d be kinda suspect, you know? And uh, so anyways, one time, I did a sketch on the show.
Conan: Uh huh.
Norm: They just put me in a sketch. And the idea was that I was a bad, uh, uh… I can’t even remember it. [awkward silence and then laughter from the audience]
Conan: [laughing] Can’t remember? A bad what?
Norm: The idea was that it was a bunch of celebrity impersonators and I- I was a celebrity impersonator, I was “Chekhov”. From the, uh, Star Trek?
Norm: And uh, so ah- so the joke was I didn’t sound anything like him. So they’d go, “Go on, do it” and I’d go [normally] “Beam me up, Scotty.” I didn’t sound much like him? So it wasn’t a very good sketch—[audience laughs] But anyways my doorman, Steve, was thrilled because he’d seen me on the TV, you know? So the next day I come down uh- uh, from my elevator and Steve’s there and he’s like “Hey, hey, hey—‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ [audience laughter] How you doin’, Beam Me Up, Scotty?”
So then for the next five years I was on the show...
Conan: You- you were on a lot.
Norm: Yeah, then I became a mega superstar on the show, and uh- and yet to Steve, I was always Beam Me Up Scotty. He’d never seen anything else.
Conan: He never watched it again after that.
Norm: Nah, never watched it again. So, and uh, he’d go, “How are ya doin’ today, Beam Me Up Scotty?” And I’d go, “Good. Good, Steve, good.” And one time, I was walking out of my building and Steve was there, the doorman, with his buddy, and he goes, “Hey, hey, hey! Beam Me Up Scotty, come on over here, man.” He goes, “I wanna introduce you to a friend of mine.” He goes [to his friend referring to Norm] “You know who this is, right?” The guy goes, “No.” Steve goes, “This is Beam Me Up Scotty!” [audience laughter]
He goes, “Do it for him! Do it for him!” So I went, “B-beam me up Scotty.” And the guy went [makes an appalled face]. [audience laughter] And Steve said, “Ahhh, he doesn’t know nothin’, this guy.”
So I went and visited him today. I went and saw- I just saw him earlier today.
Conan: And he still calls you that?
Norm: Yeah. “Hey, Beam Me Up Scotty, what’s up?”
Conan: Now, uh, you know, I don’t see you that much because I heard you’re afraid—you don’t like flying. You really don’t like flying.
Norm: No. I don’t care for flying.
Conan: And you don’t like, one of the things, and I don’t know if it’s true, but you don’t it because they search you at the airports now.
Norm: Yeah. Well, I went to Canada, you know, my, uh- my home, uh, land. I decided to go there and, uh, they wanted to, uh, search me. You know? And uh, I said, because I know a lot of this involves, you know, when they search you, they… you know, they always want to search your ass. [audience laughter] So, I said-
Conan: (laughing) Well, not always!
Conan: They don’t always want to go down there.
Norm: Well, that’s what this character wanted. [audience laughter] He thought there was something suspicious looking about my ass. So he’s like, so I go, “When we go in the back place there- when you take me in the back place, any, uh- any chance you’re gonna search my ass?” And um- because I don’t even want to know what’s in my ass. He said, ah- he said “Well, yes, sir, that’s what we will be doing.” So I said, “You know what, I don’t care for Canada that much.” [audience laughter]
Conan: It’s not worth that.
Norm: No. Canada’s a nice place and everything like that but, uh…
Conan: Well also, the way you say it, I’m just gonna point this out, when you go up to someone and say, “Any chance you’re gonna search my ass?” it almost sounds like you want them to. [audience laughter] That sounds bad. You notice that?
Norm: Yeah! That’s true!
Conan: It sounds a little- the way you say it, it’s like [slyly] “Hey, any chance you’re gonna check the old ass?” That sounds like you’re wanting them to do it which might cause problems.
Norm: Well, you know, John Glenn actually got searched, I read in the newspaper. The astronaut. They actually- they actually- uh, uh, he wanted to get on a plane and they decided to search him because of this- this incredible danger he poses to… he walked on the goddamn moon! [audience laughter] You’d think he’d get a free pass for that. But now they’re fiddling around in John Glenn’s ass.
Conan: No they’re not! I can’t believe that.
Norm: It’s ridiculous!
Conan: Now, umm- I’ve never asked you this before, and we’ve been good friends for many years. Okay, I made that up. But—
Norm: We haven’t?
Conan: No, no. We’re friends. We’re good friends. But I don’t know what your—“MacDonald”—is that Irish? Is that Scottish? What’s your ethnic background?
Norm: My ethnic background is Polish. [cheers and clapping from the audience]
Conan: Are you really Polish? Wow. I didn’t realize that. “MacDonald”, you don’t…
Norm: Well, my parents changed their names. They had to because of the constant ribbing they’d get for being Polish, you know? And, uh, so they changed their name to MacDonald, but uh- you know, that’s one of the things, I get a little upset about it, you know? Because, uh, you know you can’t-
Conan: All the Polish jokes and stuff.
Norm: Yeah, because you can’t make jokes about other people but for some reason but for some reason you can make jokes about Polish people.
Norm: I don’t like it. [laughter from audience]
Conan: You shouldn’t. That sounds bad.
Norm: I had an experience, you know, I go in, and- and- and- I order a Polish sausage. From this guy, you know? And uh- so the guy says to me, “Oh- oh, uh, you must be Polish.” So I said, “Come on, man. I mean, come on. Think about it, what you’re saying.” You know, I’m trying to knock some sense into this fella’s head, maybe give him a wider world view, you know?
Conan: Sure, yeah.
Norm: I said, “You think because I order a Polish sausage I’m Polish?” I said, “What if somebody came in here and ordered French toast, would you- would think he was French? You know? What if someone came in here and ordered, why a- why a Belgian waffle, would you consider that guy a- a Belgian? You know? I mean- I mean if a guy came in and ordered a-a German bratwurst? Would you- would you consider that fella to be a German… fella?” I said, “What if a guy came in and ordered German potato salad, I’d suppose you’d think he was German too.” You know?
Conan: Yeah. Yeah.
Norm: What if a guy, said, what if a guy—
Conan: Wow, you talked to this guy for a while. [audience laughter]
Norm: I’m telling ya, man… with- with racists, you have to get through to them.
Conan: You have to really get it into their head, right.
Norm: I said, “If a guy came in and ordered a Cuban Hamburger? Are you gonna assume he’s Cuban?
Conan: Right, right... right.
Norm: I think it is absolutely ridiculous that just because I come in here and order a Polish sausage, why would you jump to the fact that I’m Polish?”
Norm: And the guy says to me, “First of all, it’s a hardware store.” [audience laughter]
Conan: And you hate Polish jokes, don’t you? You just hate them.
Norm: No- no, I think they’re disgusting.
Conan: Let me ask you quickly, I haven’t talked to you in so long. I want to ask you about your family.
Norm: Ah, my great family. I love them all.
Conan: How’s your- We used to talk to you back in the old days, you and I, you used to spin some yarns about Uncle Hector. How’s Uncle Hector?
Norm: Oh, Uncle Hector. Uncle Hector—
Conan: He’s Polish too, I’m guessing.
Norm: No, he wasn’t Polish.
Conan: Oh, okay.
Norm: No, he was from my, uh, cousin’s side of the family. And he was, uh—
[audience laughter] He was a- he was a great man, my uncle, you know? Uh- uh, he, uh, was an old fella, he- he- he actually rode the rails during the Depression. You know? He was a hobo...
Conan: A hobo.
Norm: ...as you might call him. I don’t like that term.
Conan: Tramp, or whatever, what have you.
Norm: Railroad bum. [audience laughter] But he wasn’t a bum! He was just a good, honest man during the depression searching for work, you know? He had no money, so he’d travel the country trying to find work and he actually rode the rails, Uncle Hector. And uh, he told me an interesting story. He’d go through—this is in Canada—and there’s a town called Kitchener in Canada. And the railroad cops were tough, boy. They were tougher- tougher than the real cops, you know? They had a law of their own, the railroad cops… [audience laughter]
Conan: I feel like I should be tucked into bed, listening to you. [audience laughter] Anyway, a law of their own, those railroad cops.
Norm: But there was not a railroad cop tougher than Kitchener Leslie. Oh, boy. He was well known- he was well known for beatin’ hobos to death.
Conan: Really! If he found a hobo on his train, he’d beat him to death.
Norm: He’d beat him to death. And, uh, so, what the, uh, railroad bums would all do is, as Kitchener approached, of course—[seeing someone offstage] Oh, hey, Norm, how ya doin’? [back to Conan] So, um… [audience laughter]
Conan: [laughing] Wow, such focus on these stories.
Norm: That wasn’t a mirror, that was another guy I know.
Conan: That was a guy named Norm, yeah.
Norm: So uh- uh- uh, the railroad bums would all hop off before they got to Kitchener to avoid being beaten to death by Kitchener Leslie. Anyways, my uh- my uh, Uncle Hector—a good man, you know—and he walked into a mine one day. This is a story I think the young people could learn from. [audience laughter]
Conan: Yeah. Don’t go mine hopping, kids.
Norm: During the height of the depression, when there was absolutely no work, my Uncle Hector walked into a—I won’t say the name of the mining company but it was MacIntyre Mine. [audience laughter] He walked in, he had his lunch box with him, his, uh, work boots and he said, “Sir,” he said, “I want a job.” And they said, “We have no jobs.” And he said, “Well, five hundred people work here at MacIntyre Mine.” He goes, “I don’t think there are five hundred men here better than I.” He says, “As a matter of fact, I don’t think there are two hundred men better than I.” He says, “I think you’d be strapped to find a hundred men better than I.” And by golly, he got the job. What do you think of that?
Conan: That’s a great story. [audience applause] I’m sensing that there’s more. Now back to Kitchener Leslie.
Conan: The most dreaded—
Norm: No, no, no. Uncle Hector, Uncle Hector— [audience laughter]
Conan: What? I’m sorry, I’m trying to help you out!
Norm: No, Uncle Hector—
Conan: [as if small child] Dad, where is this story going?
Norm: Uncle- Uncle Hector worked in a mine. And it’s a hellish job, the mine, as you well know. The darkness, you know?
Conan: It’s dank, it’s—
Norm: Yeah, it’s… coal-y. [audience laughter]
Norm: Well, you’re in a coal mine, it’s—
Conan: It’s not “coal-y”, it’s… coal-ridden, coal-infested. It’s not coal-y.
Norm: It’s coal infested. So he worked in the mine and by God he worked hard. And after a week of working hard, he said to the shift manager, he said, “By golly I’d like to have a lady. I work hard. Where would I find a lady here in town?” “Well,” they said to Uncle Hector, they says “We don’t have, uh, we have sex with animals here.” [audience laughter] “By God,” says Uncle Hector, “I’m not gonna do that. Why, I’m a normal fella.” “Well, then, uh, be to your own devices then.”
Conan: [laughs] “Be to your own devices”? Wow.
Norm: Uncle Hector continued working in that mine. He worked long, he worked hard, he worked for a looow wage. But he was a man. [audience laughter] Uncle Hector, after a couple weeks passed, he started to get a little itch, you know, as you and I say.
Conan: Right, right. When we’re thinking about the—
Norm: The ladies, you know? But he kept it under control. And again he asked, “Are you sure there’s no ladies here?” “No, we have sex with animals.” “Ah, my God.” Six months passed and Uncle Hector couldn’t take it any longer, he told me. He said, “By God, I- I’m just a man. I’m weak, you know? I’m not a saint. You know, and I was born in sin, I suppose, and I couldn’t resist. I just needed it.” So he said he walked by a pasture and there was a pig.
Conan: Oh, God. That’s terrible.
Norm: Terrible. So Uncle Hector said, “Well,” he said, “I walked up and I began having sex with a pig.” And he said, all of a sudden, he saw all the miners around him, looking at him. They go, “Uncle Hector, what the hell are you doing over there?” And Uncle Hector’s like indignant, he’s like, “What? Why, you’re the guys that told me that you have sex with animals!” They’re like, “Uncle Hector, you damn fool! That’s Kitchener Leslie’s girlfriend!” [pause and audience laughter and applause] Of all the animals—
Conan: Of all the animals to have sex with, not with Kitchener Leslie’s pig!
Norm: Not Kitchener Leslie’s pig, Kitchener Leslie’s lady.
Conan: Oh, yeah. [awkward pause] You tell quite a yarn, man.
Norm: Well, I have shorter ones but…
Conan: There’s no other guests tonight, that pretty much…
Norm: I have one other funny anecdote and it’s really short.
Conan: [looking past camera] I don’t think we can. There’s no way. Look, my producer’s on the phone, he’s trying to find out—I think there’s no Carson Daly tonight on the show. His whole half hour’s gone. Norm MacDonald everybody, Laura Prepon coming up, we’ll take a break, we’ll be right back.
[Applause as the band plays to commercial.]
[Sustained appause as the band plays back from commercial. As the shot goes to the set, Norm rushes on to sit in the chair.]
Conan: Where did you go?
Norm: I had to go, uh, [slyly] powder my nose. [audience laughter]
Conan: Oh, man! I’ve never seen a guest do that before. You ran away during the commercial break and then—
Norm: I ran away, I freshened up, I powdered my nose—
Conan: Freshened up?
Norm: And then I took a piss in the sink. [audience laughter]
Conan: Alright, alright. Why? Why do I ask? It’s my fault. Alright, hey, we got to our next guest. That was incredible. Our next guest is one of the stars of Tha—
Norm: Hey, I think we’re short a cup.
Norm: [referring to mugs] We should have two cups.
Conan: You know, we should have two cups. What is wrong tonight? This is the weirdest show—
[A stagehand runs onto the set with a second mug.]
Norm: Oh, here’s the cup!
Conan: Wow, here we go. That’s a crack team we got, uh…
Norm: You got editing facilities here, right?
Conan: We can’t afford that crap.
[Conan is interviewing Laura Prepon from That 70’s Show about shooting a recent film in Alabama.]
Laura: It got a little creepy sometimes. Like, there was this place called (some coffee place) ‘cause I’m obsessed with coffee, ‘cause I’m a huge coffee drinker. And I would go in every day to get my coffee and there was this one day where, like—more and more, like day by day a lot of people started coming to hang out because they knew we were there. So I was ordering my coffee and I felt this weird vibe behind me. It was weird so I turned around and this guy was, like, reaching for me. And I’m like, “Whoa!”
Conan: What do you mean “reaching for you”, like to touch you?
Laura: Yes! He was like reaching—you guys, it was really weird.
Conan: Who stands behind someone and [making menacing reaching gestures] just goes like that?
Laura: I don’t know! Someone from Coleman, Alabama! That’s what it was, it was freaky. So I turned around and I was like, ‘Don’t do that. That’s not cool.
[Behind Laura, Norm begins to slowly reach for her. The audience laughs.]
Conan: [laughing] Yeah, thank you, Norm.
[Laura slaps Norm’s hands away.]
Laura: That’s not cool!
Norm: What? I grew up in Alabama! [lots of laughter]
[As Laura and Conan are conversing about the South, Norm interjects.]
Norm: Do you know what I always say, Conan?
Conan: What do you always say, Norm?
Norm: Well, ‘cause I love the South, and I always say, “If there was no South, there’d be no North.” [audience applause and laughter]
Conan: Somehow, tonight, because of you, Norm, this talk show became a back porch, and you became an old black man dispensing wisdom. [audience laughter] I don’t know how it happened.
Laura: It’s like a holiday party with like my drunk, you know—the guy who’s always telling those stories where you’re just supposed to sit there.
Laura: [patting Norm’s knee] No, your stories are good but you know what I mean?
Conan: What the hell was that?! [audience laughter]
Laura: No, you know what I mean? Where you sit there and you’re like—
Norm: Listen, I’m not gonna kid you. I enjoy the- I enjoy the occasional smidgen of whiskey. [audience laughter] I enjoy an occasional schooner of beer. [laughter]
Conan: “Schooner of beer”? What’s a schooner of beer?
Norm: I’m not gonna say—
Conan: What century are you from? [audience laughter] I like a flaggin every now of Mead, if you will.
Norm: All right, fine. Fine. I’ll be a little more modern in words that you’ll understand. I occasionally enjoy stuffing my mouth full of Oxycontin. [audience laughter]
Conan: Oh, jesus! Alright, I’m ending this segment now. Just not during a commercial break.
[The band plays back from commercial and again, Norm appears to have just made it back to the couch in time.]
Conan: Again, you just made it back in time. I’ve never seen—in over ten years, I’ve never seen a guest do that.
Norm: I think I may have some prostate problem. [audience laughter]
Conan: That’s terrific, uh… Well guess what, comin’ up tomorrow night on the show. If you like tonight’s show, you’re gonna like tomorrow night’s show. Political commentator and author Al Frankin’s gonna be joining us. From ‘According to Jim’ Courtney Thorne Smith. [to Norm] Remember Courtney Thorne Smith? You guys used to spar on the show back in the day. And musical guest, ‘The Thrills’. So watch that sha-zowe. We’re gonna take a break. When we come back, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog will be here.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Dave.ca for transcribing this appearance.