Colin Jost’s #MeToo Emmys Joke Shows There’s Still A Long Road Ahead

Photo: Will Heath/NBC/Getty Images.
Colin Jost and Michael Che are already thinking about their upcoming Emmys hosting gig this September — but perhaps their set could stand to get a second look.
In a recent Vanity Fair profile, Jost and Che acknowledged they’re aware of the delicate position they’re in as the show’s hosts, especially considering the context of their debut Emmys showing.
The 2017 Emmys were held in September before the #MeToo movement took off following assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, which broke in October. Women in Hollywood have been emboldened to speak out on issues from sexual harassment to pay inequality in the year since. This year's Emmys are an opportunity for the issues to be addressed on one of television’s largest platforms — but when the subject came up, Jost and Che said they'd like to shift the focus away from more hot-button issues.
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“It is kind of fun for us to do something that is not political,” Jost told Vanity Fair. “The exciting part is to do things about television and that particular awards ceremony and make it, in general, less political than normal.”
Jost then went on to crack a joke: “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.”
There was much ado when the Emmys announced they’d booked the Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” duo to host the 2018 ceremony. Concerns generally zeroed in on the tone-deafness of it all: in the year following #MeToo, Time’s Up, and a myriad of scandals underscoring the systemic exclusion and mistreatment of women in Hollywood, one of the most prestigious and high-profile hosting gigs in show business went to...two male comics with an SNL pedigree.
“#HeToo” is exactly the kind of cringe-inducing comment that many of Jost and Che’s critics have been worried about. Namely, it betrays the fact that Jost might not be listening to women the way male allies need to be — and ignores how glossing over the issues like this still does remarkable damage.
When it comes to the #MeToo-era awards ceremony, it’s not impossible for a man to get it right, or as close to right as possible. Seth Meyers, for example, was praised for his totally unenviable job hosting the 2018 Golden Globes in January, as he carefully navigated the first big awards show since allegations against Weinstein and dozens of other powerful men in the industry became public. But the point here makes itself: when a man leads these major ceremonies, you need someone who can read the room. Or better yet, sometimes you just need a woman.
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