Thrice. Norm MacDonald lost everything he owned on three separate occasions, not due to a compulsive gambling problem that ultimately led him to a psychiatrist’s office.
“The psychiatrist said, ‘You focus on the game in order to escape your real thoughts.’ And I said to him: ‘That’s not what you do everything in life for.’ I baffled him!
Sports betting has always been Norm’s kryptonite, because picking teams allows you to “kid yourself” to have a say in the matter.
- In 2011, Norm put $ 25,000 on Manny Pacquiao to beat Shane Mosley, although the payout was only $ 3,000 and Norm didn’t know anything about boxing.
- Norm once told Larry King that the biggest bet he ever placed was $ 400,000 for Super Bowl XXXIII (1999), taking the money line (pay 3 to 1). Norm lost everything.
Norm spoke to Marc Maron about his gambling propensity in 2011, saying gambling not only alleviated his crippling fear of his own mortality, but on some level going bankrupt was an emancipation from an overwhelming obsession.
“I’ve never had any addiction issues, but it’s like people who know they’re going to hit rock bottom and somehow want it. Because it gets exhausting to be obsessed with something. If you’ve got $ 450,000 in the bank and you lose $ 400,000, you’re like, “Damn, I don’t want to have $ 50,000.” I don’t want money to remind me that I had more money.
“I did something stupid once. It was my big statement in Atlantic City on the boardwalk, I threw $ 60,000 in the ocean. Stop… the same way an addict would throw his drug into the ocean.
Here’s Artie Lange, who was with Norm when he made jellyfish very rich, talking about a particularly brutal bad beat he suffered with Norm during the NBA Finals in June 1998.
The Chicago Bulls demolished the Utah Jazz 96-54, which for Norm and Artie was like throwing thousands into the ocean.