Tracy Morgan’s ESPYs opening monologue slammed by viewers

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.

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ESPYs 2019 red carpet arrivals
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ESPYs 2019 red carpet arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Members of the United States Women's National Soccer Team, winners of the Best Team award, pose during The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Kelly Kelly attends the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Myles Garrett attends the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Triple H (R) and Stephanie McMahon attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: (L-R) Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins and Jessica Blevins attend the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Brooks Koepka attends The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Brooks Koepka and Jena Sims attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Jarvis Landry attends the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Usher and Odell Beckham Jr. attend the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Zion Williamson attends The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Russell Wilson (L) and Ciara attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Adrian Peterson and a guest attend the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Shaquill Griffin and Shaquem Griffin attend the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Roman Reigns attends the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: (L-R) Tracy Morgan and Megan Wollover attend the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Lindsey Vonn attends the 2019 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: (L-R) Russell Wilson, Ciara, Megan Rapinoe, and Sue Bird attend The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Alex Morgan accepts the Best Female Athlete award onstage during The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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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.

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