ESPY Awards: Host Joel McHale Takes Shots at Russell Wilson, Justin Bieber, Bill Cosby in Monologue
"Ronda [Rousey] has knocked out more women than Bill Cosby."
As ESPYs host, Joel McHale (The Soup, Community) distributed the jokes evenly, taking shots at the sports world's finest athletes and Hollywood A-listers, alike.
Starting backstage with Mo'ne Davis, McHale urged Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to hand him the microphone — not throw it — a reference to the Seahawks' losing final play at the Super Bowl. After carrying American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza out to the stage on his back, McHale got his monologue started.
"Espinoza is the first Latino jockey to win the Triple Crown, and he'll make history again when he's the first person Donald Trump deports to Mexico," said McHale.
From there, McHale referred to himself as "the E! personality you are all so eager to see" and hoped that the telecast would not be a three-hour waste of time — like the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight. He also took aim at one of sports' largest villains, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, calling his name the second-worst prescription-drug side effect — next to death.
In typical host fashion, McHale congratulated the year's big winners: the Golden State Warriors, the U.S. Women's National Team and the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's been 22 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. It's also been 22 years since Canada's own Justin Bieber was conceived. It's not a coincidence, Canada," he joked. "It's not. You know what you have to do."
McHale, whose tongue and wit are razor sharp on The Soup, relied more on presence and delivery, rounding out his set with two long setups for easy targets.
"Is a man desperately trying to sell you unflattering dad jeans? Then congratulations, you've scored a seat next to legendary quarterback Brett Favre. They go up over the belly button. I've seen the commercials. Just hanging out with dudes throwing a football in jeans?"
And finally, he championed the recent string of female-athlete achievements, applauding Serena Williams, the UConn women's basketball team and, finally, Ronda Rousey.
"UFC champion Ronda Rousey, who is here tonight, may be the most dominant athlete in all of sports. Ronda's knocked out more women than Bill Cosby. I'm sorry, I misspoke — I meant Dr. Bill Cosby."
The crowd of world-class athletes didn't buckle at the joke as the relatively calm McHale segued into the show, the first-ever ESPYs telecast on network television.