Serious times call for serious jokes. So unlike his NBC late night counterpart, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers eschewed any cold open shenanigans for his inaugural Golden Globes hosting gig, instead leaping straight to a monologue that wasted little time addressing “the elephant in the room.” He was referring to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein at that moment, but his stage patter throughout was designed to put all the men in the room on notice … himself included. “If it’s any consolation, I’m a man with absolutely no power in Hollywood,” he reminded the crowd, quipping “I’m not even the most powerful Seth in the room tonight,” while pointing a finger at Seth Rogen.
He may not be Hollywood’s most powerful Seth, but Meyers was well aware that he’d be a powerful force in setting the trend for future emcees as awards season rolls on and the #TimesUp movement continues to make its presence felt on the red carpet and beyond. “A special hello to hosts of other upcoming awards shows who are watching me tonight like the first dog they shot into outer space.” If we’re being honest, he didn’t quite ace the landing — a random Bert and Ernie-themed Call Me By Your Name joke had us channeling his former “Weekend Update” deskmate Amy Poehler and going, “Really?” — but Meyers recognized the moment and spoke to it with panache. Here are the five most memorable lines from his monologue.
* “For the male nominees here tonight this is the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud. ‘Did you hear about Willem Dafoe?’ ‘Oh God no!’ He was nominated, don’t do that!’” “The Florida Project” star and nominee Dafoe, meanwhile, lost in his category but definitely earned Outstanding Reaction Shot of the Night to Meyers’s joke.
* There was probably no good way to make fun of Harvey Weinstein, but Meyers gave it the old college try, saying, “Harvey Weinstein isn’t here tonight. I’ve heard rumors he’s crazy and difficult to work with. He’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the In Memoriam.” Funnily enough, Meyers almost got booed offstage himself when that joke went over like a lead balloon.
* Realizing that there were some jokes he probably shouldn’t be telling, Meyers wisely turned the punchlines over to the women in the audience, including Issa Rae and Hong Chau. Jessica Chastain led off the bit — which proved to be the hands down highlight of the monologue — by responding to his setup about the Golden Globes turning 75 by saying, “The actress who plays its wife is still only 32.”
* Speaking of Amy Poehler, she wasn’t having Meyers speak for her. “I don’t need your help,” she replied in mock outrage when Meyers tried to give her some setup. “Is this the mansplaining part of the evening? I’m a woman in Hollywood, Seth. I don’t need a setup to make a punchline work.” So what did she come up with? “Said the peach in Call Me By Your Name, this scene is the pits.” Much better than the Bert and Ernie joke, that’s for sure.
* Rather than sign off with another punchline, Meyers ended his act in an appealingly earnest fashion by recognizing who and what the night was really about: “People in this room worked really hard to get here, but it’s clearer now than ever before that the women had to work even harder. 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.”