Nick Kroll and John Mulaney kicked off their hosting gig at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday with a monologue that took aim at President Donald Trump, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Mel Gibson, who is among the nominees at Sunday night’s Oscars.
“We like to think of these awards as the ones without Mel Gibson,” Kroll told the crowd. “People wondered, ‘How long would it take Hollywood to forgive someone for anti-Semitic, racist hate speech?’ The answer? Eight years.”
Mulaney added, “So look out for the 2024 Oscars when the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award goes to Mr. Steve Bannon.”
Gibson’s best director nomination for Hacksaw Ridge came a decade after his career stalled following a 2006 arrest for driving under the influence; during the traffic stop, Gibson was recorded making anti-Semitic remarks.
The controversial Bannon previously acted as executive chair of Breitbart News, which he called a “platform” for the so-called “alt-right.” After Bannon was named to a position in Trump’s White House, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement to denounce his hire.
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“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt-Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a statement. “We call on President-elect Trump to appoint and nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country’s people and who exemplify the values of pluralism and tolerance that makes our country great.”
RELATED: Head here to see the full list of winners at the Independent Spirit Awards
In addition to Gibson and Bannon, Mulaney and Kroll also took aim at President Trump, noting his administration’s recent decision to revoke federal protections for transgender students. “Hey, Trump — you and Robert Durst are both rich sociopaths from New York real estate empires,” said Mulaney. “Yet, somehow Robert Durst is more likable.”
They also channeled Trump when describing 2016’s slate of indie films, which Kroll joked were all “depressing.” Said Mulaney, “These films are, to quote the president, ‘Sad, exclamation point.’”
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Before wrapping up, the pair shared some advice for stars at the event who may want to make political points in their speeches. “Bear in mind we are on IFC and these are the Spirit Awards, so in terms of impact you could give your speech directly in the camera or you can whisper it to yourself in the bathroom,” Mulaney joked.
Kroll added, “And no, conservatives, we’re not in a bubble, okay? We are in a tent, filled with fringe artists on a California beach. If this room leaned any further to the left we would literally topple into the Pacific Ocean.”
The Academy Awards kicks off live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a 7 p.m. ET pre-show and 8:30 p.m. ceremony. See all the Oscar nominees and get your own ballot here!