Seth Meyers opened tonight’s Golden Globes ceremony by acknowledging the elephant in the room: namely, the wave of sexual misconduct scandals that’s turned Hollywood inside out throughout the past few months.
It was perhaps the only way a tactful host could have kicked things off, given that even the preceding red carpet was defined by protest, from all-black wardrobes intended to spotlight gender inequality to the presence of social activists like #MeToo founder Tarana Burke (a guest of actress Michelle Williams).
Meyers, making his Globes hosting debut, wasted no time zeroing in on the topic, greeting the audience with a cheeky “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen!”
His monologue was a quip-laden affair, and took repeated aim at the actors in attendance, with Meyers not-inaccurately remarking that, “For the male stars in the room this will be the first time in months that it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.”
Meyers seemed to relish in eviscerating film mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose fall from power amid dozens of separate sexual harassment and assault allegations precipitated the recent, industry-wide reckoning with gendered abuses of power.
Weinstein, needless to say, was not in attendance. “Don’t worry,” quipped Meyers. “He’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person to be booed at the annual In Memoriam.”
Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen, both of whom have been implicated in their own sexual abuse scandals, earned specific scorn from Meyers.
“When I first heard about a film where a woman falls in love with a hideous monster, I thought it was a Woody Allen movie,” he said of romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water,” nominated tonight for Best Picture – Drama.
If anyone got off lightly in the speech, it was President Donald Trump, a favorite punching bag at awards shows over the past few years. That said, the host snuck in some smaller jabs at the “stable genius,” gesturing to “The Interview” star Seth Rogen and cracking, “Remember when he was the one causing trouble with North Korea?”
Wrapping up the monologue on a lighter note, Meyers treated audiences to a celebrity-studded riff on his late-night show segment “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” during which the host provided a star with a set-up to a joke, leaving them to provide the punchline.
“The Golden Globes turned 75 this year,” Meyers said, calling on Jessica Chastain to quip: “But the actress who plays his wife is still only 32.”
Turning to Issa Rae, creator of HBO’s “Insecure,” the host began, “Issa Rae currently has three projects in development at HBO…” Raising an eyebrow, Rae was quick to respond, “That’s right, and ‘three projects’ is also where they think I’m from.”
Elsewhere, when called upon by Meyers, Billy Eichner executed a brutal Spacey takedown. “‘ ‘Call Me by Your Name’ is a coming-of-age story,’ said Kevin Spacey,” Meyers started, letting Eichner conclude: “You lost me at ‘of age.’”
Meyers, continuing to correctly read the room, closed out his monologue by expressing gratitude to the women in the audience.
“I look forward to whatever you’ll be leading us into next,” he said, leaving Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson to take the stage to present the night’s first award.
Isaac Feldberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @isaacfeldberg.