Remembering Norm MacDonald's infamous 1998 ESPY monologue

By , Audacy

Comedian Norm MacDonald passed away on Tuesday at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer.

The former “SNL” star was famous for such bits like Weekend Update and portraying Burt Reynolds on Celebrity Jeopardy.

But MacDonald is also a somewhat infamous figure within the realm of sports.

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ESPN asked the comedian to host the ESPY Awards in 1998 — the sixth year the network aired the award show for professional athletes.

But ESPN did not realize just how risqué its choice of MacDonald would be.

MacDonald delivered a nine-minute opening monologue that was arguably, perhaps undoubtedly, the edgiest and most politically incorrect thing ESPN has ever aired.

Nothing was off-limits for the comedian, who cracked jokes about Anthony Mason’s rape charges, mocked Hideki Irabu and alas, ended with an unforgettable punchline about OJ Simpson that left a clearly uncomfortable Ken Griffey Jr. shaking his head in disbelief and Barry Bonds burying his head in his hands.

Warning: some jokes may be insensitive

There were actually a couple of shots of Griffey unsure of how to react to some of MacDonald’s jokes. Bill Bradley rolled his eyes after a line about Charles Barkley while several other athletes appeared to be smiling uncomfortably through it all.

Following news of his passing, some on Twitter recalled his time as ESPY host.