I think the "crickets" scowl thinks he heard are due to the delivery of Norm's style (Norm MacDonald, by the way, IS a stand-up comedian). Its part of his charm. When he tells a joke, he will stare into the camera or at the audience listening to their reaction. Sometimes, even the stare can be funny in and of itself.
MacDonald was a very popular castmember on Saturday Night Live, and it was disappointing when he was fired.
Originally Posted by Speedskater
Why is it that Jimmy Fallon can put together a segment "The Wives of Late Night" with mostly amateur players that's as good as most of SNL ?
Because Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is not Saturday Night Live.
35 years ago, the "Not Ready for Prime-Time Players" that we all know and love were nobodies. They made SNL into what it is today. Now that SNL is an institution, people expect great things from it, and there is more of a microscope on it. Microscopes tend to magnify problems as much as successes.
No one expects great things from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, so they can get away with more, and that ends up being funnier more often than not.
If Jimmy Fallon were still a writer on SNL, chances are some of his Late Night sketches would never make it past the printed page.