At the top of the 70th Emmys, the conversation went right to two areas expected to dominate the entire night. Hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che opened up their part of Monday night’s telecast with a flurry of jokes, mostly centered on diversity in the industry and the growing #MeToo movement.
Without mentioning the hashtag itself or any of the prominent men in the TV industry who have come under scrutiny for their past actions, Che and Jost still found a way to address things right away.
“It is an honor to be here sharing this night with the many, many talented and creative people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet,” said Che.
“This year, the audience is allowed to drink in their seats,” Jost added. “Because the one thing Hollywood needs right now is people losing their inhibitions at a work function.” (It is unclear whether the ensuing shot of Alec Baldwin was supposed to be funny or not.)
Later, when addressing the Netflix juggernaut in the room, Jost joked, “Netflix, of course, has the most nominations tonight. If you’re a network executive, that’s the scariest thing you can possibly hear, except maybe ‘Sir, Ronan Farrow is on line one.'”
Che and Jost’s monologue came after the opening “We Solved It” number, a tongue-in-cheek response to the back-patting behind this year’s Emmy nominees, billed as the most diverse ever. It prominently featured nominees Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Sterling K. Brown, Tituss Burgess, and recent EGOT attainer John Legend.
Seemingly going against the opening monologue mandate, this year’s Emmys telecast opened up with no explicit jokes about the President. Still, Jost did have a joke about how, during the first Emmys awards in 1949, “Gas was 17 cents a gallon, the average home price was $7,100, and we all agreed that Nazis were bad.” The hosting duo had hinted at a less-political Emmys a few weeks ago.
Even though there was no Trump mention in the monologue, one prominent ABC star got double mention in both the opening song and Che and Jost’s set as well. When mentioning that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Last Man Standing” had been canceled, but renewed at other networks, Jost said that “Roseanne was canceled by herself, but picked up by white nationalists.”
Perhaps the best joke of the intro centered on recent diverse TV reboots. Jost joked, “There’s a Latino ‘Magnum, PI,’ there’s going to be a black Samantha in a reboot of ‘Bewitched,’ but it’s going to be get balanced out by an all-white reboot of Atlanta called ’15 Miles Outside of Atlanta.’ It focuses on white women who call the police on the cast of ‘Atlanta.’” Look for a GIF of Brian Tyree Henry’s instant response on a Twitter feed near you for the next six months.