This year, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will have all-female presenters and a female host in Kristen Bell. The SAGs don't always have a host, in fact they never do. But thank goodness they do this year. Kristen Bell's best SAG Awards jokes hit Hollywood hard, charmed the heck out of everyone there, and basically made for an unforgettable night. But maybe the funniest joke hit too close to home — because what doesn't in 2018?
“Elisabeth Moss is here from the documentary The Handmaid’s Tale,” Bell said about the Hulu series (director: Reed Moreno, three episodes). "That's a sad one," she added while everyone laughed. The actor knows where we're all at this year. Bell also described The Good Place (director: Beth McCarthy-Miller, two episodes) — her NBC series in which she, spoiler alert, plays a woman in a literal hellscape — simply "2018." She also described G.L.O.W. as about "a tour de force, powerful, strong, thoughtful ladies who get roped into doing Marc Maron’s podcast.”
The monologue wasn't too long, but it got in some good gags. One might even say that her monologue was more political than Seth Meyers' at the Golden Globes. While she did not call out Donald Trump, the government shutdown, or any current events directly, Bell started off by mocking the FLOTUS Melania Trump's campaign against cyber-bullying. “I have yet to see any progress on that problem quite yet,” she said. Except, of course, she was talking about Tony Hale, who was in on the bit.
"The cast from Get Out is here you guys," she said of Jordan Peele's debut feature (co-producer: Marcei Brown), "serving as a walking reminder that if you say ‘yes’ to the Tea Party, you are immediately on your way to the Sunken Place. It is just a fact."
On the flip side, when Bell got serious and spoke about the Time's Up movement she turned that into a silly joke and movie plug.
"We are living in a watershed moment," she said, "and as we march forward with active momentum and open ears, let’s make sure that we’re leading the charge with empathy and diligence. Because fear and anger never win the race. And most importantly, regardless of our differences, I think we can all come together and delight in one thing — Frozen 2 is coming out in theaters in 2019, you guys! I’m really excited!" Would that have been a good time to poke fun at Olaf's Frozen Adventure (screenwriter: Jac Schaeffer)? Yes, but maybe it's too soon.
Later in the show, Bell got everyone to give Meryl Streep a standing ovation... and Streep was not even there. Actors being self-centered was another comedy theme of the night. It's an easy joke to make, but never gets old — especially in a room full of them. She also gave the last of the traditional "I'm an actor" speeches, after Millie Bobby Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Allison Janney. However, after sharing a lovely memory about listening to Disney music as a kid, she transitioned into a jokey monologue by self-identifying as a narcissist rather than an actor.
Of course, Bell also did a bit with her husband Dax Shepherd. How could she not?
We couldn't have asked for a better "first lady" at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards. For a show that typically just starts with "I'm an actor" speeches and doesn't have a host or a monologue, this was a solid first attempt. Hopefully the SAG Awards continue this tradition. Even though these awards are short and sweet, it's nice to have an actor representing the group and leading the way. Having a host also means more jokes, and, with the way things are going, surely 2018 will provide Hollywood with plenty of material.