Turd Ferguson, a name made famous by Norm MacDonald on Saturday Night Live, has returned to the headlines for a hilarious reason. As CNN recently reported a contestant on Jeopardy! recently tricked Alex Trebek into reading her answer “What is the ballad of Turd Ferguson?” in the show’s Final Jeopardy round.
Ferguson is the name adopted by MacDonald’s parody of actor Burt Reynolds when he appeared on SNL‘s mock version of Celebrity Jeopardy. Playing off Will Ferrell’s impression of Alex Trebek, a rare case of Ferrell being the straight man, the pair had superb chemistry. But Reynolds/Ferguson was not the only great character Norm brought to life on the long-running comedy show.
While Bob Dole may not be making headlines these days, MacDonald’s riff on the ageing politician’s habit of talking about himself in the third person would often break down in simply repeating “Bob Dole. Bob Dole. Bob Dole” with the voice of a cranky old man.
MacDonald wasn’t the only SNL cast member to ever take on the role of David Letterman. But Norm’s gap-toothed send up appeared on the show three times, second only to Joe Piscopo. Norm’s portrayal of Letterman’s near manic laugh and receding hairline, as well as his repeated inane banter, rifted on the now-retired host near perfectly. Raising his pitch and talking with his hands helped Norm capture the spirit of director Quentin Tarantino. But it was his jokes about Tarantino’s oversized head that really sold the bit.
Norm was making fun of Clint Eastwood well before Eastwood made his famous empty chair speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. It was a speech the Huffington Post described as rambling and bizarre. Norm actually made Eastwood seem less odd than that, capturing Eastwood’s tougher, meaner side when he returned to host SNL in 1999. Eastwood appeared on a parody of Inside the Actors Studio and threatened to kick host James Lipton (played by Will Ferrell) in the mouth, as well as wishing Lipton would end up in Hell being molested by Satan.
Macdonald’s Turd Ferguson returned to the SNL for its 40th anniversary special in a sketch that also featured Darrell Hammond (as Sean Connery), Kate McKinnon (as Justin Bieber), Alec Baldwin (as Tony Bennett), Jim Carrey (as Matthew McConaughey), and Kenan Thompson (as Bill Cosby).
MacDonald was recently named as the new spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Since KFC was recently exonerated of charges of serving a fried rat they might not want their food associated with the word “turd” either.
Norm MacDonald is probably better know as the host of “Weekend Update” than for appearing in other sketches. But Turd Ferguson’s mention on the real life Jeopardy! proves he left a lasting impression.
[Image Courtesy NBC]