Seth Meyers wasted no time bringing up the black-clad elephant in the room at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday night.
“Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” he began. It was the first of many jokes that tackled the #MeToo movement directly. “It’s 2018,” Meyers added. “Marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn't.”
“There’s a new era underway,” the host continued. “I can tell because it’s been years since a white man was this nervous in Hollywood.” Meyers also sent a special message to the “hosts of other upcoming awards shows” who were watching him “like the first dog they shot into outer space.”
“For the male nominees in the room tonight, this is the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud,” Meyers said. “Did you hear about Willem Dafoe? Oh, god, no! He was nominated!” From the audience, Dafoe looked on in mock horror.
Addressing the “elephant not in the room,” Meyers noted that Harvey Weinstein decided not to show up to this year’s award show. “Don’t worry, he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam segment,” he joked.
Then he moved on to Kevin Spacey, saying, “I was happy to hear they’re going to do another season of House of Cards,” asking, “Is Christopher Plummer available for that, too? I hope he can do a Southern accent, because Kevin Spacey sure couldn’t.” As the crowd groaned, he added, “Oh, is that too mean? To Kevin Spacey?”
And then there was the one about The Shape of Water, which got the most nominations this year. “When I first heard about a film where a naive young woman falls in love with a disgusting sea monster, I thought, oh man, not another Woody Allen movie.”
As Meyers has said in recent interviews, he was asked to host this year’s awards in November, after the Harvey Weinstein bombshell had broken and the #MeToo movement was well underway. He knew exactly what he was walking into and had a cautionary tale to look at in the form of his late-night TV competitor James Corden, who was ripped apart by Rose McGowan and others for daring to make jokes about sexual-assault at a mid-October gala in Beverly Hills.
But the host of NBC’s Late Night has been grappling with these issues on his show for months, learning on the way how to strike the right tone and use his righteous comedy to stand up for women. It doesn’t hurt that his wife Alexi Ashe, a former assistant district attorney, used to prosecute sexual-assault cases and has given him advice on how to talk—and not talk—about everything from harassment to rape.
Meyers had also said that Donald Trump would be playing far less of a role on this night than he does on a nightly basis on his NBC show, but he couldn’t help but get in a few digs at his favorite target.
At one point, Meyers noted that he was not the most powerful “Seth” in the room, pointing out Seth Rogen in the audience. “Hey, remember when he was the guy making trouble with North Korea?” he asked.
He also recalled that time in 2011 when he inadvertently convinced Donald Trump to run for president by brutally mocking him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In a bit inspired by Pod Save America’s Jon Lovett, who also contributed jokes that night, Meyers looked toward the night’s Cecil B. Demille honoree Oprah Winfrey and said, “If that’s true, I just want to say, Oprah, you will never be president. You do not have what it takes. And Hanks, Where’s Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable.”
Meyers later shared a very special edition of his popular “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment from Late Night featuring punchlines from Jessica Chastain, Billy Eichner, Issa Rae and others.
The bit ended with an appearance by Meyers’ old SNL buddy Amy Poehler, who ribbed him for “mansplaining” the concept to her before delivering a stand-alone punchline of her own: “Said the peach in Call Me by Your Name, ‘This scene is the pits.’”
But rather than end on that silly note, Meyers turned serious, as he often does toward the end of his “A Closer Look” segments.
Shouting out the #TimesUp movement, he said, “People in this room worked really hard to get here, but it’s clear now more than ever before that the women had to work even harder. So thank you for all the amazing work that you’ve all done and continue to do. I look forward to you leading us into whatever comes next.”