Norm MacDonald Monologue the Best Moment in ESPYs History (Video)


Yesterday, we were all extremely saddened when we heard the news that comic genius Norm MacDonald had passed away at the age of 61. The Canadian comedic actor had kept his long battle with cancer private for nine years, so in addition to the tremendous sorrow we all were feeling, there was also extreme shock.

MacDonald lives on in many ways, one of which is his work, which makes us revisit his 1998 ESPYs monologue. The jokes are a stark reminder that ESPN was a completely different animal back then.

When Norm MacDonald hosted the show, the sixth edition ever, it was a completely different media world; especially so in sports media.

MacDonald opens his monologue with a Monica Lewinsky joke and closes with an O.J. Simpson punchline. Along the way, there is an Anthony Mason statutory rape joke. It is beyond politically incorrect and tremendously offensive on so many levels. That’s what makes this hilarious and brilliant, as it reminds us what comedians do, or used to do- push boundaries.

While watching this clip you realize “the ESPYs used to be held during the winter?” And the Winter Olympics just suck- that’s a simple fact of life. And that’s what makes me love what Norm MacDonald had to say about it here so much more.

Also love the “strippers and crack” joke about the Dallas Cowboys and the “German woman you could see the outline of her penis” line are also memorable. ESPN/ABC/Disney would never let something like this fly today.

Referring to that OJ joke, Macdonald likely sealed his termination from “SNL” when he delivered it, or so it is believed.

Here it is:

“And there’s Charles Woodson! How about that? What a season he had. He became the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. Congratulations, Charles, that is something that no one can ever take away from you,” MacDonald said at the end of his monologue.

“Unless you kill your wife and a waiter, in which case, all bets are off.”

When hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, Norm MacDonald delivered the O.J. verdict news by famously saying “this just in- murder is now legal in the state of California.”

In this version of his routine, it also includes the very awkward song and dance number that introed him and a brief prelude interview conducted by Linda Cohn. It was found on YouTube inconspicuously titled Norm Macdonald @ sports awards 1998“, 

In this clip, the monologue starts at the 4:20 mark.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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