It was not the easiest job. Seth Myers signed up to host the Golden Globes and succeed his Saturday Night Live co-stars, Team "Bitches Get Shit Done," Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who had lit up the awards ceremony from 2013 to 2015. The reaction to Seth Myer's Golden Globes opening monologue proved that he was, if not the best choice for the role, at least willing to go to battle for the cause Poehler and Fey had make palatable.
Myers welcomed the audience — of Hollywood power players and the rapt online and television audience who tuned in to watch a chic, modern Nuremberg trial of sorts — by stating "ladies and remaining gentlemen."
He headed off potential critics with the acknowledgement that he was, as the first on deck to host an awards show this season, like "the first dog they shot into outer space."
Myers' opening monologue set fire to the male Hollywood establishment, calling out Harvey Weinstein and the white-washed, male-dominated industry. The bit showed that he knew it was, above all, not his night, and belonged to women. The irony of a white man hosting the ceremony was not lost on him, as he told the crowd, "I'm a man with absolutely no power in Hollywood. I'm not even the most powerful Seth in Hollywood," panning to a chuckling Seth Rogen.
Twitter was generally here for it.
As people let their id speak on the platform without a filter, the reaction was resoundingly grateful and delighted.
Others were thrilled to see that he was willing to go hard on his material.
But many other viewers noted the incongruity of Myers' role chaperoning in the new order.
This criticism was to be expected. One of the key goals of the Time's Up movement is to achieve 50/50 parity on boards by the year 2020. Late night TV, which gave us Myers and his former cast member Jimmy Fallon, whose willingness to compartmentalize comedy and politics and host Donald Trump — the famous schussing of whom was touted as a crime of humanization — is still resoundingly male. Outside of Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler, the landscape is dominated by men who have played to the existing power system and been rewarded for it.
Likewise, the effectiveness of a five-minute monologue and two or three variety segments per night as an agent for political change has been debated. One of the key criticisms lobbed at Jon Stewart for the decade-and-a-half-long run of The Daily Show was that it offered catharsis for viewers through the Bush years, but also inured viewers to stepping outside their living rooms and taking meaningful action (if you're The Federalist, you even blamed the show for the rise of Trumpism). After all, Stewart didn't give Bee even a courtesy look when appointing his successor. People have a short fuse when it comes to seeing men, as always, with the loudest voice.
There is a good explanation for the dominance of white men in a supposedly subversive art form like comedy — it's easier to challenge power when you have it. What else explains the ultimate Trojan Horse, Stephen Colbert's 2006 White House Correspondent's Dinner keynote, in which he ambushed President George W. Bush with an eyelash-singeing roast? But after that, the ruse was blown. When Myers accepted the same job in 2011, performing alongside then-President Obama, it was a more toothless display. In fact, there are accounts that Myers' (and Obama's) roasting of Donald Trump, who was in the audience that night, inspired him to run for president out of spite.
Seth Myers addressed those rumors in his monologue, in fact.
Of course, no one is blaming Seth Myers for the election of Donald Trump, even if what could be perceived as self-satisfied leftist comedy helped inspire America's middle class to throw themselves like lemmings onto the right's platform on Nov. 8, 2016 — in part for spite — in service of a politics that would only make their lives worse. For those not in on the joke, the fake news pioneered by Stewart, by Colbert, by Seth Myers in his "Weekend Update" segment, was indistinguishable from a straight-up insult to people for whom politics weren't so cut and dry.
So the idea that a man would be the commentator for one of the most visible feminist protests in Hollywood's history only serves to underline the issue at hand: men create the ideas, and furnish them with beautiful women who get to be the lead, and deliver the most lines, in just 22 percent of films, per an analysis by The Pudding.
At least, as Myers put it, it's onto the awards — "please don't be two white dudes, please don't be two white dudes."
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