Tracy Morgan hosted the 2019 ESPY Awards, Wednesday night. Thanks to his opening monologue the comedian was trending on Twitter, but probably not for the reason he hoped. The vast majority of viewers were not fans of Morgan’s performance.
A significant portion of Morgan’s material centered on the large settlement he got from Walmart, after his car was struck by a Walmart truck leaving him critically injured. The event took place 5 years ago, and put the focus of the show on Morgan rather than the athletes.
Some of the other jokes seemed out of touch with today’s social climate. “Everyone’s into fantasy football but when Janet Jackson’s boob popped out, to me, that was fantasy football,” said Morgan. He then discussed how weird Adam Levine’s nipples look.
Morgan appeared to struggle with reading from the teleprompter at times, impacting his delivery and performance. Most of the reaction shots from the live audience showed athletes sporting uncomfortable smiles or blank expressions. But as the monologue dragged on more laughter could be heard, if not seen. Some viewers noted the laughter was more a result of sound technicians adding laughs, rather than Morgan earning them.
Ultimately, comedy is subjective. That being said, social media reactions are often a good indicator of how something is received. And in this case, Morgan’s opening monologue was not well received.