“People put a lot of work into the shows they do, so when you get nominated for an Emmy, it’s, like, one of the biggest nights of your life,” Saturday Night Live writer-actor Colin Jost told USA Today, just days before he and his Weekend Update cohost Michael Che would play ringleaders of the 2018 Emmy Awards. “[But] it’s important for us to look at it not in a very serious way, because it’s not our job.”
This was definitely the duo’s approach. Known for sitting behind a desk, dismantling a week’s worth of news and stirring up controversy by riding a problematic line, Che and Jost took to the Emmys stage to deliver a set of jokes that skimmed the surface of Hollywood’s diversity and #MeToo conversations like a skipping stone.
After a song-and-dance about how this year’s diverse nominees “fixed” the problems in the film and TV industry, Jost and Che arrived to pick at the scab. “We’re happy to be sharing this night with the many people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet,” said Che in his opening remarks.
“This year, the audience is allowed to drink,” Jost followed. “The one thing Hollywood needs is people losing their inhibitions at a work function.”
With jokes about Black-ish (“which is also how they asked me to act,” Che said), Roseanne (“Brooklyn 99 was canceled and picked up by NBC … Roseanne was canceled by herself but picked up by White Nationalists”), and The Handmaid’s Tale (“what black people call history”), the bit spiraled out to hit every talking point — which eventually included former President Obama and Netflix.
Earlier this year, Netflix announced that Obama and his wife Michelle would produce their own series for the streaming platform. What would it be? Jost has a dream. “I hope they produce their own version of The Apprentice,” he said. “And it gets way higher ratings.”
By the time Jost and Che wrapped their opening monologue, with a wisecrack about an all-white remake of Atlanta, the room was visibly squirming. Looking at the Emmys, the industry as a whole “not in a very serious way” felt like a slow implosion of attention spans.
One GIF said it all. Chrissy Teigen, once again, take it away.