HURLS N-WORD AT AUDIENCE MEMBER
During Arsenio Taping
But things really went off the rails when Mooney turned his attention to a black guy in the audience who he called a "bald-headed n**ga."
One person who was there tells us ... the crowd was stunned -- and sat in awkward silence as Mooney tried to transition into different material.
We're told it appeared producers were scrambling to cut him off and end the segment -- but Paul ignored the cues and kept going until a crew member used the P.A. system to interrupt him ... and a staff member went on stage to tell him to wrap it up.
One audience member tweeted about the scene -- saying, "OMG! I just witnessed THE MOST EMBARASSING, Disrespectful "standup" BOMBING ever by Paul Mooney @arseniohall I wanted to walk out!"
Eventually, Arsenio jumped in and helped end the segment in a respectful manner.
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