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Norm Macdonald on his gambling addiction

Larry King NowOct 17 '16

In his signature candid fashion, Norm Macdonald opens up about losing it all – twice – to his gambling addiction, and a night in Atlantic City when he made off with more than $100,000.


Larry King: What brought you down? Gambling?

Norm Macdonald: Well some, some have said it’s been the ruin of my, Larry.

Larry King: The ruin?

Norm Macdonald: But I don’t.

Larry King: What did you gamble on?

Norm Macdonald: I gambled on sports. And I will tell you this, you should never bet football cause the ball ain’t round. I keep telling people this. And so the ball hits and it does all kinds of crazy things, and then you don’t know. You wanna bet on a game with a round ball… but anyways, I quit. I don’t know why I’m even saying this. But I did go broke twice. And um, I must say that it was a very cleansing feeling in a way.

Larry King: Cleansing? Well when you went broke you had to make money again, right?

Norm Macdonald: Yeah.

Larry King: Cause you had to go broke twice.

Norm Macdonald: Yeah. Yes that’s true.

Larry King: Why did you go back to gambling after you made money, knowing that you went broke?

Norm Macdonald: Well, it’s like…

Larry King: That’s insanity.

Norm Macdonald: On a grander scale though how does Donald Trump lose $900 million? It’s because he has the guts to, to make the gamble, you know what I mean? Now most people I think if they got to 3 billion or 4 billion or whatever Mr. Trump is worth, would just sit on it. But uh, he’s willing to throw the dice. You know what I mean?

Larry King: And then also take it off his income tax and not pay income tax when he makes it.

Norm Macdonald: Yeah, but that’s legal.

Larry King: @Oblivious1 tweets, “I would love hearing anything about Norm’s amazing gambling run in Atlantic City.”

Norm Macdonald: Oh yes, that’s what happened. A friend of mine that’s very smart said, “I’ve been very lucky with gambling. I never won.” And uh, it was a very profound thing, you know what I mean? Cause if you never win you never get hooked. But I had a big week. So I was a casual gambler, you know? I would go and bed $25 on blackjack. I hit a craps table and went on a gigantic run. Won six figures. And ever since then, you can’t go back. You know what I mean? If you win that much money you can’t go back to $25 bets.

Larry King: Over 100,000?

Norm Macdonald: Yup. Just over.

Larry King: Did you get a little nervous walking out with the cash?

Norm Macdonald: I was afraid, I didn’t know you were allowed to win that much. So at the craps table I kept putting the chips in my pocket, you know? Cause this guy was rolling for, I don’t know the game. And I put money down, I only had $100 I just put it down, and I won and the guy said, “you want to press it?” And I didn’t want to look stupid, I go, “what do you think?” The guy pressed it, he pressed every bet. And anyways, all of a sudden they were just handing me huge amounts of money. Yeah, I got scared and started pocketing it. And then, I remember at the end I go, “man, I must’ve won $15,000” and the guy goes, “you won a hell of a lot more than that fella.” And then I went, and it was Atlantic City, they don’t escort you to your car or anything.

Larry King: Oh and in Vegas they do?

Norm Macdonald: Yeah you just drive into hell right when you get out of that casino, just every sign says, “we’ll buy your gold from your teeth.” It was horrible.

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