“Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen,” was the matter of fact way Seth Meyers decided to kick off the 75th annual Golden Globes. In this same way, Meyers told a series of jokes that poked fun at the parts of Hollywood that previously couldn’t be talked about let alone be punchlines.
But as the great Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a changin’.” Knowing this, Meyers kept it light even though the subject matter at hand was pretty heavy. Jokes like “It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t. It’s going to be a good year,” got big laughs while highlighting unwavering truths.
Prior to the ceremony, Seth promised a good show, saying he wouldn’t hold back in his opening monologue and he delivered. Even if some of his jokes didn’t quite land at the Beverly Hilton, they were a hit at home. There is a general disconnect when it comes to speaking to an audience like the one in the Beverly Hilton and viewers at large. Because of this, Meyers attempted to toe the line of what’s appropriate and edgy without dialing it in. He succeeded even if he sort of seemed to hold back the irreverence afforded a white man in a suit. It’s clear Meyers wanted to do justice in territory that hasn’t really been traversed before, and he did it while uplifting women and chastising guilty parties.
Overall, Meyers did a pretty decent job trying to balance his job as a host without turning the #metoo movement into a tired, trite bit. He made jabs at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Woody Allen. Men with some of the most disparaging allegations against them. Because of this, there was a palpable anxiety in the air when the show started, which Meyers captured perfectly when he joked, “A special hello to hosts of other upcoming awards shows who are watching me tonight like the first dog they shot into outer space.” And in many ways it was exactly like watching Meyers floating in orbit for the first time. When he went after Harvey Weinstein saying:
“Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight. Because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with. But don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the ‘In Memoriam.’”
Meyers exercised a real power in not only saying Harvey Weinstein’s name, but in the fact that the joke called out Hollywood’s duplicitous nature. It was not exactly well received by the audience of Tinseltown’s elite, but for people like me it was a real home run.
Meyers real strength is in knowing when not to talk, which is why he used his Late Night bit, “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” at the Golden Globes and it killed. It allowed actors to deliver incredible punchlines on topics no cis, white man needs to tackle. Plus, it opened the door for a clever tête-à-tête between Meyers and his former SNL cast member, Amy Poehler on the topic of mansplainers.
And no opening monologue would be complete without getting really political, which Meyers did by bringing up how Donald Trump said it was Meyers that inspired him to finally run for President. However, Seth turned this on its head by teasing Oprah, this year’s Cecil B. Demille award winner, about running for president:
“And Oprah, while I have you, in 2011 I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents Dinner — jokes about how he was unqualified to be president — and some have said that night convinced him to run. So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president!”
Meyers really looked at Oprah and said something many Americans want to. Oprah, please help us. Helps us redefine who we are and find the hope we’re all looking for.
When Frances McDormand received her award for Best Actress she said Hollywood is undergoing a tectonic shift. And you could really see it, not only in the way that women spoke freely about the injustice of inequality, but in the fact that Meyers could do his job. There wasn’t a sense of shame over the fact that Hollywood’s not-so-secret predatory secrets had finally been put on blast. There was a sense of pride that it’s being addressed and the hope is to move forward and establish a sense of change.
Seth stumbled in some places, but delivered where it counts, so let’s hope his is a good enough trip in space that others like him plan to return and make their mark.
Sabrina Cognata is an award-winning writer, producer and storyteller. During a decade long meltdown, she burned her life to the ground and revamped it as often as Madonna. Sabrina has written or produced for HuffPost Live, CBS Radio, TMZ and XO Jane, and she’s currently producing a syndicated news show for FOX television while tirelessly fighting the patriarchy Every. Damn. Day.