What gives, SNL? On Thursday, April 26, NBC announced that Saturday Night Live co-head writers and reigning “Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che will be co-hosting the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards — to which, we say, sweet!
Except for the fact that there actually hasn’t been a female host for the autumnal awards show since 2011, when Glee’s Jane Lynch helmed the ceremony. (Recent hosts include Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and two other SNL heavy-hitters, Seth Meyers and Andy Samberg).
While both Jost and Che have proved their comedy chops time and again on the iconic sketch show, given Hollywood’s current climate surrounding the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, it seems as though NBC could have given any of its female stars a chance to shine on television’s biggest night.
SNL’s Kate McKinnon, who has made the leap to the big screen in recent years with Ghostbusters and Rough Night, would be a good contender, as would Leslie Jones, whose Olympics commentary this past winter gave us plenty to cheer and laugh-cry moments. Add to that the fact that Che was criticized for his hostility toward women on social media just last month, and it’s no wonder that skeptics might raise an eyebrow over NBC’s picks.
Awards shows, after all, have been subject to plenty of scrutiny not just this past year, but over the past few years, given the push for more diversity and inclusivity in hosts, presenters, and nominees. (We all remember the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2016, which didn’t particularly seem to be solved at the following year’s painfully long ceremony).
And despite efforts to push for more inclusion in the very visible awards-show parade that ostensibly kicks off with the Emmys, progress is slow. As we made mention earlier this year, the number of women who have hosted major awards shows (sans a male co-host, mind you) is shockingly low. Only six women have collectively ever hosted the Emmys (Angela Lansbury, Ellen DeGeneres and Patricia Richardson), the Golden Globes (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, together), and the Oscars (Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopi Goldberg).
But there are tiny glimmers of hope: Kristen Bell’s gig as the host of the Screen Actor Guild Awards in January rocked, as did the fact that all the presenters for the evening were women. Now if only that same estrogen-driven, kick-ass attitude could help us ease into what will undoubtedly be an eventful awards season this fall. We’ll be watching.
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