Sebastian Maniscalco is one of the hottest comics in the country, selling out giant venues all throughout the country. He has created a giant following that lead to him being listed amongst the top earning comedians on the Forbes list three years in a row, having moved up from the #10 spot in 2017 and 2019 to #5 on this year’s list.
And yet, for a fraction of America, there were still many clueless and confused people watching the VMA’s last night, hosted by Maniscalco. While many may have been confused as to why a comedian was selected to host the event, the Awards have a long history of inviting stand ups and comics to host, starting with Dan Aykroyd, who co-hosted with Bette Middler, for the first ever Awards in 1984. Since then, some of the biggest names in comedy such as Eddie Murphy, Kevin Hart, Dana Carvey, Roseanne Barr, Chris Rock, and Jimmy Fallon have all hosted the affair. So it goes without saying that they’d invite Maniscalco on.
These events seem to always be hardest for a stand up, especially one with such an identifiable persona such as Maniscalco’s. Something always seems to get lost in translation, and the jokes, while funny, usually wind up not being representative of what actually makes that comedian funny. However, Maniscalco made sure that everybody in there who didn’t know him up until that point knew exactly who he was, with his comic chops on display.
As he walked around the stage during his monologue, he wasn’t up there commenting on the music of today or even much about music at all aside from a Springsteen reference. Instead, he took to talking about encouraging the audience members to put their phones down and let the professionals handle it, as well as joked about MTV’s plan for people who might be made uncomfortable during the show.
“MTV noticed that we’re living in ultra sensitive time,” he announced. “So if you feel triggered or you feel offerended by anything I’m saying up here, or anything the musical artists are doing, they’re providing a safe space backstage where you’ll get some stress balls and a blankie and Lil Nas brought his horse backstage which will double as an emotional support animal.”
What was a funny bit to those who appreciate comedy and know who Maniscalco and his persona are, it sadly managed to go over the heads of those watching at home.
“His jokes punched down,” one user wrote. “Comedians can punch sideways or up. Down is petty.”
“Sebastian Maniscalco making “millennial” jokes to a room full of millennials who have no idea who the f*ck he is is going over as well as you’d think,” wrote another.
Despite the mixed reaction, there were still plenty of folks out there in support of Maniscalco, who is regarded as one of the hardest working comedians out there right now. And hopefully, the tradition of having a comedian host the awards, after a lull since 2012, will come back in full swing again.