Leading up the ceremonial duties for the largest Hollywood gathering since the revelations of just how deep the culture of sexual harassment (and misogyny) runs in the film and TV industry—and really, anywhere—was going to be a tough task for anyone. And while handing over that kind of platform to a white man again hardly felt like a sign of progress when it was first announced that Seth Meyers had landed that gig, the Late Night host acquitted himself nicely in the opening monologue of the 75th Golden Globes.
This year’s master of ceremonies wasted no time addressing the abusive elephant in the room, cracking wise about “did you hear about [insert male actor/producer/director’s name here]?” has taken on a much different context in this age of near-daily disclosures, which began with Harvey Weinstein’s long and coercive history, in the land of celluloid. Just as important, he quickly acknowledged that, at a time when we need to amplify marginalized voices, he wasn’t the right person for the job. But, “if it’s any consolation, I’m a man with absolutely no power in Hollywood. I’m not even the most powerful Seth in the room tonight,” Meyers said, nodding to The Interview star Seth Rogen. “Hey remember when he was the guy making trouble with North Korea?”
The Trump comments were few and far between, as Meyers seemed to avoid giving that trash fire any more oxygen. There were a couple of zingers, though, like his note that even the awards body’s name, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, would send our already constantly raging president into yet another apoplectic fit while in the toilet: “The only thing that would make him angrier would be the ‘Hillary Mexico Salad Association.’”
Meyers also worked in a recurring bit from his own late-night show, asking for help with the “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” from Amy Poehler, Issa Rae, and Hong Chau, and Billy Eichner, the latter of whom landed one of multiple Kevin Spacey burns. The setup noted Call Me By Your Name, a “gay coming-of-age film,” was nominated for best motion picture, to which Eichner responded with a withering: “Said Kevin Spacey, you lost me at ‘of age.’”
Meyers’ drubbing of the rich and powerful wasn’t always that incisive; his jokes about Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey on House Of Cards as well as All The Money In The World were in well-worn territory. And while he did manage to work in a dig at Woody Allen, who’s been accused by his daughter, Ronan Farrow, of sexual abuse, it was an uninspired and unrelated joke about The Shape Of Water.
But, before Meyers introduced Gal Gadot to present the first award of the night, he made a heartfelt plea to have women lead the way forward in this culture shift. It might not have made many people laugh—in fact, it really shouldn’t have—but it was one of the smartest things he said all night.