Seth Meyers had an incredibly awkward job at the #MeToo-dominated Golden Globes on Sunday night, as the straight white male presenter who probably shouldn’t have been presenting (and knew it). Meyers spent a difficult 12 minutes teetering on the edge of political correctness in a monologue full of references to his own straight white maleness and topical sexual harassment jokes that alternated between awkwardly funny and just plain cringeworthy.
Meyers started strong, with a few well-landed jokes about Hollywood sexual harassment, opening with a “Good evening ladies and remaining gentleman.” It was clear Meyers wasn’t going to shy away from the moment on everyone’s lips and lapels when he said, “It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t.”
Meyers took time out to take a specific and well-placed dig at “the elephant not in the room,” Harvey Weinstein. But though his absence was highly notable, “He’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam,” joked Meyers, to loud ooohs. “It’ll sound like that.”
Meyers was quick to acknowledge the awkwardness of his position, allowing that the ceremony really ought to have been presented by a woman this year. “A lot of people thought it would be more appropriate for a woman to host these awards and they may be right,” allowed Meyers. “But if any consolation I’m a man with absolutely no power in Hollywood. I’m not even the most powerful Seth in the room tonight,” cutting to Seth Rogan.
Meyers joked that women had turned down the hosting gig when they heard it would involve the most powerful people in Hollywood and a hotel, in a joke made sadder by the fact that it doesn’t appear as if any women were actually asked.
It was when Meyers started using respectable Hollywood minorities—women, gay men, and people of color—to complete his politically incorrect punchlines (a la his regular “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment) that one such candidate came to his rescue. Amy Poehler refused to allow Meyers to set up her joke, insisting on telling it by herself in Poehler perfect banter. When Meyers tried to explain how the gag worked, Poehler was having none of it.
“Oh is that how it works? You’re explaining something I already know. Is this the mansplaining part of the evening?”
“I’m a woman in Hollywood, Seth,” Poehler continued. “We’ve all been through a lot. I don’t need a set up to make a punchline work…. Oh another apology. How wonderful.”
If we’re lucky, Amy Poehler—who definitely should have been hosting—will continue giving the straight white male host tonight’s necessary sass.
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