Comedy did not appear out of nowhere. There were greats who came and changed the landscape forever. This page was created to pay tribute to these greats, and to pay tribute to their contributions to our industry. If you would like to learn more about them, we welcome you to read the page below.


1959 - 2021

The Quebec Comedy Guide proudly pays tribute to the Canadian Stand-up Comedian, writer, and actor, Norm MacDonald.

Norm MacDonald grew up as an Anglophone in Quebec City.

In the 1980’s he was a working Stand-up Comedian who appeared regularly at Montreal’s Comedy Nest. In 1986, The Montreal Gazette promoted him as one of Canada’s hottest comedians for his first appearance at The Just For Laughs comedy festival. You can hear this routine on YouTube.

That performance led to writing jobs for Roseanne and Dennis Miller. As well as many US television appearances. David Letterman said “If we could have, we would have had Norm on every week.”

norm macdonald

In 1983 Macdonald joined the cast of NBCs Saturday Night Live (SNL) television program, where he performed impressions of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Charles Kuralt, and Bob Dole, among others. The following year, during the show's twentieth season, Macdonald anchored the news satire segment Weekend Update.

Some of MacDonald’s most popular jokes on Weekend Update were about OJ Simpson after he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her lover. The President of NBC West-Coast’s division, Don Ohylmeyer was a personal friend of OJ’s. He made several requests for those jokes to stop. In 1988, he had MacDonald removed as Weekend Update anchor.

In 1998, MacDonald co-wrote and starred in Chris Farley’s last movie Dirty Work. The next year he had his own ABC sit-com Norm.

After that, MacDonald appeared in many movies and TV shows including, Man on the Moon, The People vs Larry Flint, Family Guy, My Name is Earl and many others.

In 2013 Norm MacDonald was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He only told his close friends and family because he didn’t want the world to see him any differently. The cancer went into remission but came back in 2020.

At the age of 61, Norm MacDonald died from acute leukemia. Many celebrities expressed what a great loss this was. Someone who put it best was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau when he wrote on Twitter; "The world was a much funnier place because Norm Macdonald was in it. We've lost a comedic genius, and a great Canadian."

MacDonald was an incredible and unique talent that never lost his humble and honest Canadian voice.


1927 - 2021

mort saul

The Quebec Comedy Guide proudly pays tribute to the Canadian Stand-up Comedian Morton Lyon Sahl.

Mort Sahl was born to Jewish parents in Montreal. His father owned a tobacco shop.

At the outbreak of World War II, his family was then living in California and a fifteen-year-old Sahl ran off to join the US Army. After two weeks, his mother went to get him. She couldn’t keep him for long as Sahl soon signed up for the US Army Air Corps, the predecessor of the Air Force, upon graduating from high school.

In 1950 Sahl went to Hollywood to pursue a career in Comedy. Someone at NBC told him he would never succeed as a comedian. To be fair, nobody had ever experienced the type of comedy Mort Sahl would do after that. Before Mort Sahl, stand-up comedy was built up through Vaudeville and repeated with the same formula for years throughout the Borscht Belt. It was all about set-up and punch. Sahl never wrote any jokes or material for his live performances. He always ad-libbed and would often take up that day's newspaper for political commentary.

Mort Sahl became the first modern stand-up comedian. You might think he sounds like Lenny Bruce but he actually started just before Bruce. They would often perform across the street from each other in San Francisco. You could say he was the “clean” Lenny Bruce as Sahl did not swear, drink or do drugs. His material was about politics, not sex.

Woody Allen saw Sahl perform in New York in 1964 and said "He was suddenly this great genius that appeared who revolutionized the medium.” John Cleese would give him the type of respect that the Beatles reserved for Elvis Presley. Milton Berle described him as "One of the greatest political satirists of all time.”

Sahl was the first comedian to release a comedy album with At Sunset which was recorded in 1955. He was also the first comedian to tour college campuses and to be nominated for a Grammy. He was actually the first person to emcee the Grammy Awards in 1959.

In 1976 wrote an autobiography called Heartland.

In June 2007, a number of star comedians, including George Carlin and Jonathan Winters, gave Sahl an 80th birthday tribute.

In 2008 Sahl became a good friend and neighbor with Robin Williams.

Until the Pandemic in 2020, Sahl worked every Thursday night taking questions from a live audience and social media.

At the age of 94, Mort Sahl died from natural causes in his home in the San Francisco suburb, Mill Valley.

Even though Mort Sahl was born in Montreal and spent his early life in Canada, he will forever be known as the greatest voice and influence in American, political satire.

His voice will be missed.



We remember those who have helped to make the comedy landscape what it is today.

Improv Comedy


Improvisational comedy has been a great way for people to bond and to see something that only the people in the room can share. The show couldn't be repeated even if the performers tried to.

Stand-up Comedy


The traditional form of comedy where someone literally stand-up before an audience. The comedian tells stories and jokes to entertain while possibly speaking towards a specific theme.



Find locations around the province where you might find comedy. This can include cities, towns, and areas in various regions. These can include public shows and private parties.



Learn a bit of the vocabulary used by comedians to communicate with one another. It can help you understand the process and the people who have chosen comedy as a vocation.