The host of the ESPY’s has to rank somewhere on the awards show ladder between the SAG Awards and the Sports Emmys. As much as ESPN has tried to make the event more than a self-important love affair between sports and entertainment, it’s still a throwaway event in the middle of the summer that no rational sports fan gives two craps about. Still though, that hasn’t stopped ESPN from bringing in big name hosts as if it really were the sports version of the Academy Awards. Samuel L. Jackson is the king of ESPY hosting with four appearances. Other well-known entertainment types like Jamie Foxx, Seth Meyers, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Kimmel have all given hosting the ESPY’s a whirl.
And with 2012 being the 20th ESPY Awards (who knew?) you’d think ESPN would go all-out for their biggest and bestest host yet, right? What about Billy Crystal, or Steve Martin, I hear they host practically every award show known to man. Maybe ESPN could have gone with someone hip like… umm… I don’t know, a Kardashian or some other hideous figure that is somehow popular. But no, ESPN didn’t take the easy way out by getting a host with a high name ID value. In fact, much like the NFL GM combs the lower ranks for a diamond in the rough, ESPN has chosen comedian Rob Riggle to host this year’s ESPY’s.
Rob Riggle? Who the hell is Rob Riggle? He’s certainly someone I’ve never heard of, and probably someone a lot of ESPN viewers haven’t heard of at all. But, if you watched this clip, would you know who Rob Riggle is.
That’s right! The taser guy from The Hangover. IN THE FAAAACE!!! Or the booze cruise captain from The Office. Or the guy from the Bin Laden Funny or Die video. Or that guy on The Daily Show or Saturday Night Live. Or the guy that was in Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, or any other comedy in the past few years. Rob Riggle is that guy! That guy who’s in every comedy movie, every funny sitcom and you immediately say, “Hey! I know that guy!” And yet, you don’t know him at all because you have no idea what his name is. Just like that other that guy that is also in every comedy. You recognize him the second you see him, and yet you don’t.
Well, it’s a big step from being that guy to being up on a stage and entertaining a room full of athletes and entertainers. But, Riggle is a funny guy. Heck, there’s even a comedy short where Riggle stars with ESPN’s Mike Hill and Jay Harris on YouTube!
After all, it’s not like the bar is set very high for Riggle. He can’t do worse than Lance Armstrong and his infamous Brokeback Mountain monologue.
Side Note: Apparently Harris and Hill have their own YouTube series called “Both Sides of the Ball.” Some of them actually aren’t half bad. Makes you wonder why ESPN doesn’t pair them together, Hill hosts his primetime radio show with Mark Schlereth while Harris hosts the 6 PM ET SportsCenter.