Norm MacDonald’s Shocking OJ Simpson Joke That Divides Awards Audience Resurfaces

by : Emily Brown on : 16 Sep 2021 09:43
Norm MacDonald's Shocking OJ Simpson Joke That Divides Awards Audience ResurfacesPA Images

One of Norm MacDonald’s shocking jokes about OJ Simpson has resurfaced online as tributes continue to roll in for the late comedian.

It’s no secret that MacDonald enjoyed making jokes at the expense of the former football running back, so much so that he was ultimately sacked from the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1998 as a result.


The comedian’s material came from the murder case which saw Simpson tried and ultimately acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

OJ Simpson (PA Images)PA Images

Despite the fact Simpson was not found guilty in 1995, MacDonald continued to make jokes implying he was responsible for the two deaths, one of which came on stage at the 1998 ESPY Awards.

The comedian called out a number of people in the audience, receiving a mixture of laughs and uncertain ‘oohs’ as he roasted some of the big names sat before him.


One person to fall into MacDonald’s path of destruction was Charles Woodson, a now-former professional football player in the National Football League (NFL).

Woodson appeared to get off lightly at first as MacDonald congratulated him on becoming the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, but it appears he saved one of his most brutal jokes for last as he said the award was something that could never be taken away from him, ‘unless you kill your wife and a waiter.’

See the scene unfold below:


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The comment, made in relation to Simpson’s trial, immediately divided the audience, and while some laughs could be heard in the background, no one was smiling when the camera cut to a shot of the crowd.

Though the joke didn’t have unwavering success at the time, it has received a lot of attention recently in the wake of MacDonald’s death, which was announced this week by his management firm Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

One person commented: ‘Norm MacDonald’s OJ Simpson joke at the ESPYs forever funny. RIP.’

Another wrote: ‘One of the greatest OJ Simpson jokes ever told was made by Norm Macdonald at the ESPYs and it came out of nowhere. Absolute gold.’


MacDonald had been diagnosed with cancer nine years ago but never chose to reveal the state of his health to the public. His death was met with tributes from fellow comedians such as Jim Carrey, Seth MacFarlane and Seth Rogen.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, Death, Murder, Tributes


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