Colin Jost and Michael Che Are Excited for a “Not Political” Emmys
Major award show hosts have had a much more challenging job this season, as they try to balance charismatic, light-hearted joking with talking about the elephant in the room: #MeToo.
While I’d say most award shows have been playing it relatively safe with hosts like Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars or Seth Meyers at the Golden Globes, both Kimmel and Meyers have done a great job with incorporating biting commentary on Hollywoods abusers (Meyers on Weinstein: “He’ll be back in 20 years when he’s the first person booed during the In Memoriam.”) while honoring the celebrations of the ceremony. (See also: John Mulaney and Nick Kroll with one of the best Woody Allen burns.)
Don’t expect too much of that at the Emmys, however. The fact that the Emmys will be hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost was a pretty solid “meh”, but it’s an even more resigned “meh” when you hear about their exciting, non-political plans.
While Che and Jost have made jokes about #MeToo on SNL‘s Weekend Update, an interview with Vanity Fair suggests that the two will mostly steer clear of any references to Hollywood’s ongoing reckoning with harassment and abuse. “It is kind of fun for us to do something that is not political,” says Jost. “The exciting part is to do things about television and that particular awards ceremony and make it, in general, less political than normal. There’s a lot to celebrate in television right now. It’s a very strong time.”
Now, Jost’s point about making the Emmys non-political sounds like he and Che see the awards as a relief, or escape, from the serious and tragic news that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. Jost makes the point that “knowing the whole tone of the country at that point is hard to know now”, which is somewhat understandable: timely jokes with the speed of news and scandal now means that certain topics fall out of fashion and relevance quickly. Still, we have plenty of examples of hosts being able to pull off timeliness, insight, and humor.
Granted, it’s a short comment, but the records being made for diverse nominees and the ways that #MeToo has been happening in the television industry are incredibly political. However, to not acknowledge the impact of these changes is—make no mistake—political. Whether it’s seen as safe humor, escapism, or relief, it is political. And their “non-political” hosting might even be funny, but it’s not brave, groundbreaking, or breaking any new ground. They can host whatever kind of Emmys they want but it will, whether they acknowledge it or not, be political.
Jost jokingly adds, “I think that by [the Emmys], people are going to be desperate to give men a chance, finally. It’ll probably be #HeToo by then.”
Che, on the topic of people accusing him of harassing women who criticize his comedy, said, “Just because they did it doesn’t mean they don’t understand where I’m coming from.” He adds, when talking about SNL’s big audience, “And everyone’s got to have an opinion of everything. […] I never take the responsibility to explain it, but I bet it could be for somebody who wanted to be liked or something.”
The Emmys air September 17th and while we’ll be cheering on our favorite shows and actors, we’ll have to skeptically wait to see how Jost and Che’s Emmy debut will go.
(via Vulture, image: SNL)
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