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Norm Macdonald’s passing recalls memories of nightmare visit to B.C.

Macdonald joked about terrible bed-and-breakfast experience on Vancouver Island
Canadian comic Norm Macdonald arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day at The Langham Huntington Hotel on April 2, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision - Chris Pizzello)

Canadian comic Norm Macdonald has died, leaving behind countless stories and jokes, including an unpleasant vacation he once took to Victoria.

In an interview from 1998, the Quebec-born comedian and Saturday Night Live anchor told David Letterman about his regretful decision to book a bed-and-breakfast on the Island.

“The idea is you go there, it’s a guy’s house and you live in his room and then he makes you some breakfast,” Macdonald joked in his signature deadpan manner.

When Macdonald arrived at the “guy’s house” he was greeted by a gruff old man he called ol’ Harold Delaney, who showed Macdonald – the only guest for the night – to his room. As Macdonald was settling in to sleep, he said a knock came at his door.

“And I figure, uh oh, ol’ Harold Delaney wants to have sex with me,” Macdonald said.

But, no, the old bed-and-breakfast owner was simply after a game of Scrabble.

Macdonald told Letterman he went first and laid down “RABBIT”, a word he felt moderately proud of, before watching in disbelief as ol’ Harold Delaney took half an hour to produce “HAT” only to place it across the triple-word score, nowhere near Macdonald’s “RABBIT.”

Macdonald said he let it slide and continued to produce words like “SLEIGH’ and “AVOCADO,” building off his own words, while ol’ Harold Delaney produced “CUP” and other miscellaneous object words placing them wherever he pleased.

“I’m playing excellently, I should be in the lead, but instead I’m like a thousand points behind,” Macdonald joked. Finally, as the old man laid out “BOOT” across a triple-word score Macdonald was aiming for, he called ol’ Harold Delaney out on his game.

“Wha? You’ve never heard tell of a boot?” Macdonald said the old man responded with exasperation.

The next morning, Macdonald said he woke up hungry and was looking forward to the breakfast part of the bed-and-breakfast, but when he asked ol’ Harold Delaney what was on the menu, the only response he got was, “I never been much for breakfast.”

“So I go, ‘I guess I’ll go down to McDonald’s and pick up some breakfast or something’,” Macdonald said. “And Harold goes, ‘Can you pick me up an Egg McMuffin?”

Macdonald’s death was confirmed Tuesday (Sept. 14) by his management agency after a long, private battle with cancer. He was 61.

READ ALSO: Canadian comic Norm Macdonald dies after a private battle with cancer

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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