The context is more important than the content in "Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special," a spare one-man comedy show that the former "Weekend Update" anchor, knowing that he was ill, wrote and performed in a single take at home alone before his death in September.

Netflix has bundled Macdonald's 50-minute performance with a half-hour chat including six of his friends: Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Conan O'Brien, and Molly Shannon.

Chappelle calls the stark setting "very endearing," while Letterman notes that without an audience to respond to the material, "We weren't watching standup comedy. Without that audience, you don't get the full measure of Norm."

Macdonald chafes against constraints on what's permitted for comedians to say and says "Words have changed" in terms of what may cause offence.

Beyond that, Macdonald's performance and the ensuing conversation/analysis (taped during Netflix's recent Netflix Is a Joke comedy showcase) benefit from a relaxed quality, taking viewers behind the curtain where they can listen in on comics' process and thought

Macdonald mentions missing the thrill of being able to perform live, but there's a comforting sense that he's well aware he's both doing something he loves and, for the last time, doing it both on a big stage and his own terms.

As his producing partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, described it, "He left this gift for all of us."

However one responds to the various jokes, there's something more sweet than sad about that. Macdonald is gone, but he was able to orchestrate his own curtain call, saying goodbye with a little help from his friends. "Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special" premieres May 30 on Netflix.