"I realized at that moment I'd done something unforgivable," the comedian said about his comment, which came about when he was attempting to apologize for previous comments about the MeToo movement when he said "You'd have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry" for harassment victims.
"It's always bad when you have to apologize for the apology," he told Joy Behar. He kept his eyes down and ate Tic Tacs while recounting the moments that led to his offensive comment.
"There used to be a word we all used to say to mean 'stupid' that we don't use anymore," Macdonald explained, "and stupidly I was about to say that word and then stopped and thought [about] what's the right word to say." He said as soon as he said Down syndrome, he knew he'd said "something unforgivable."
"Of course the victims have gone through worse..."
After apologizing for “minimizing the pain” of victims, comedian Norm Macdonald explains his controversial comments on the backlash to Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr. //t.co/cqQCWsWYDv pic.twitter.com/fQlwomxVGv— The View (@TheView) September 13, 2018
The Stern interview was meant in part to explain his previous comments to The Hollywood Reporter that he was glad the MeToo movement has "slowed down a little bit." He also slightly defended Roseanne Barr and Louis C.K. to THR, saying "There are very few people that have gone through what [Barr and C.K.] have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that."
Macdonald, who is the host of the new Netflix show Norm Macdonald Has a Show, explained that comment as well on The View, explaining that he remembered he couldn't "really talk" to a distraught Barr about her situation because he'd never been through anything like it — so he suggested she talk to his friend C.K.
"I said, not many of us have gone through this and so you should talk to each other," Macdonald said, adding that when the reporter asked about the victims, Macdonald responded that even they had not gone through this particular situation.
"Of course the victims have gone through much worse than that," Macdonald said on Thursday.
He also discussed the cancellation of his planned Tonight Show appearance following his comments, saying he was surprised when host Jimmy Fallon told him staffers were crying over his appearance.
"I don't want to be tossed in with people who actually did, not crimes, but sins, you know?" he said. "I barely have consensual sex."
He mentioned when host Whoopi Goldberg brought up his Netflix show that he felt "a little weird" plugging it, adding that at the early advice of Netflix's Ted Sarandos, the talk show will avoid topical subjects so that the episodes can remain evergreen.
"That's good," he said, "because I don't know anything topical."
At the end of his appearance, he told the hosts in all seriousness, "I hope I didn't offend any of you guys."
Photo credit: Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor / Getty