One of any award show's most precarious segments often comes at the top of the ceremony, when the host is called to the stage to give a monologue that pokes fun at the very industry they're celebrating. Generally, these are distinctly hit or miss, but Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler's Golden Globes reunion places him firmly in the former camp. Even without Meyers' topical, no holds barred comedy, seeing the two Saturday Night Live favorites together again would have made his jokes worth the while. Fortunately, Meyers didn't need the help, but it was a welcome moment nonetheless.
Following a caustic (and hilarious) opening monologue that took aim at Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, and the White House, the former Weekend Update anchors paused for a brief reunion during a riff on Meyers' "Jokes Seth Can't Tell," which comes with a bit of an explainer. For those unfamiliar, the segment originated on Late Night as a space for Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel to tackle jokes outside of Meyers' white, male, cisgender point of view, and it felt appropriate that Meyers brought it to the Globes. Though a well-liked and accomplished comedian, he wasn't the ideal choice to tackle the industry-wide sexual misconduct allegations that have inundated Hollywood in recent months, nor the diversity issues that have been festering over the last few years. When Forbes ran an article in November declaring him the “feminist host” the Globes had needed, the internet seethed.
But particularly in the wake of Donald Trump's inauguration, Meyers has established himself as a a sharp, self-aware watchdog for political and cultural injustices. In discussing his disappointment over Trump's election, he was praised for spotlighting underrepresented voices, and in the wake of the first round of allegations hurled at now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, he was one of only two late-night hosts to address the scandal. Making sure female and minority voices were represented at the Globes, even in the small capacity he could offer, was Meyers through and through.
So, as the segment goes, Meyers starts out with the set-up, then passes the torch to someone else to finish the punchline. He lent the mic to Jessica Chastain to deride the Hollywood age gap, then to Billy Eichner to take a jab at Kevin Spacey, and finally to Issa Rae, who joked about racist perceptions of her. When he got to Poehler, though, she wasn't having it. "Is this the mansplaining part of the evening?" she asked, spoofing the very premise "Jokes Seth Can't Tell" is based on. "I'm a woman in Hollywood, Seth. I don't need a setup to make a punchline funny. Everybody gets it, you don't need to keep explaining it."
She also proclaimed she was "reclaiming [her] wine," an instantly iconic spin on California Rep. Maxine Waters highly meme-able comment during a hearing at a House Financial Services Committee meeting last summer. And later, called back to the "Really? With Seth and Amy" segment the pair used to do on Saturday Night Live. That's a lot of ground to cover in the span of a few minutes, but if anyone was up to it, it was Poehler and Meyers.
Poehler herself has hosted the Golden Globes alongside Tina Fey three times, each of which Meyers contributed jokes for, and, according to The New York Times, he also worked as an unseen talent wrangler. Add that to their long-running years on SNL, and it's safe to say the two make for a grade-A comedy team. But even though they've still been working together behind scenes, it's been a while since fans got to see them in action on-screen, which is what made their Golden Globes reunion such a true highlight.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.