Sebastian Maniscalco Pokes Fun At 'Safe Spaces' In MTV VMAs 2019 Opening Monologue

Sebastian Maniscalco has no clue who Cardi B is, doesn't want to see a cellphone in sight during an awards ceremony, and has a thing or two to say about "triggers."

The 46-year-old comedian knows he was an odd choice for the host of the 2019 MTV VMAs – a thing he played to when it was first announced in June that he would be taking the hosting reigns. "Are you sure they haven't made a mistake?" he joked at the time. 

But however strange it seems for a guy who's pushing 50 to be talking about a ton of artists that he's never actually heard of, Maniscalco embraced his out-of-the-loopness during his opening monologue anyway. Starting out with a crack about his mom's cooking — "I didn't mean to come out to a cloud of smoke, but backstage, my mother's frying zucchini. It's not her fault, she's making it for 20,000 people tonight" — Maniscalco immediately took aim at the millennial crowd and their phones, as well as the overabundance of Byrd scooters in Los Angeles.

He joked about the venue itself, saying, "We're celebrating music the way it was always intended... in a hockey rink in the middle of Newark." But Maniscalco didn't get a real reaction from the crowd until he brought up New Jersey's one and only true influencer, Bruce Springsteen. 

"Jersey has had one influencer for the past 40 years and that's Bruce Springsteen," he said. Fellow Jersey native Halsey was especially fond of the shout-out.

Admitting that he had only just found out what "shade" was, Maniscalco seemed to struggle a bit when it came to calling out the younger audience. His joke about safe spaces certainly didn't help much, either. "They're providing a safe space back stage where you'll get some stress balls and a blankie," he said to anyone who may feel "triggered" at any point during the show. Twitter almost immediately exploded with outraged responses to Maniscalco's jab, so suffice to say, his "joke" didn't feel like one to everyone. 

Maniscalco then took aim at Lil Nas X and his usual animal companion (a horse, of course) — the former of whom arrived on the red carpet solo. "And Lil Nas X brought his horse," Maniscalco told the crowd, "which will double as an emotional support animal."

He closed things out by reminding everyone at the 2019 MTV VMAs that there would only be one award per category, and that not everyone would be receiving a Moon Man statue just for trying. 

Though he may not have hit every joke out of the park, at least he tried. Maybe it's Maniscalco who deserves the participation trophy.