Not a lot of people watching at home were clamoring for Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che to host the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, but Lorne Michaels is executive-producing the show, so here we are.
Some critics (myself included) were expecting them to be glib and out-of-touch, based on their history of bad jokes. And while their Emmys monologue wasn't exactly a trainwreck, it wasn't particularly good either. It was basically an awkward Weekend Update, sans desk.
SNL MVPs Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson's show opener — a pointed song titled "We Solved It" that satirized Hollywood for patting itself on the back for "solving" diversity and sexual misconduct issues — made me wish they were hosting; it was an odd choice to have Jost and Che's funnier and more likeable co-workers come out first.
Che's opening joke was his most topical: "You know, it is an honor to be here sharing this night with the many, many talented and creative people in Hollywood who haven't been caught yet." But hearing that line from someone who defended Louis C.K. last month didn't sit well.
A better #MeToo joke came from Jost. "Netflix has the most nominations tonight. If you're a network executive, that's the scariest thing you can possibly hear, except maybe, 'Sir, Ronan Farrow is on line one,'" he said, referencing the journalist who brought down Harvey Weinstein and more recently CBS CEO Les Moonves.
Che got some uncomfortable laughs when he called The Handmaid's Tale "Roots for white women." The show "takes place in a violent future where people are forced to work and make babies against their will," he said. "It's what black people call 'history.'"
And Che drew audible gasps when he compared the unlikelihood of Laurie Metcalf being nominated for Roseanne after that show's racism-fueled cancellation to "a cop getting nominated for a BET award," which prompted this response from Chrissy Teigen.
The monologue ended with a bit about how diversity on TV is improving with a Latino Magnum P.I. and a black Bewitched, but it would be balanced out by "an all-white reboot of Atlanta called 15 Miles Outside of Atlanta" about white women who call the police on the cast of Atlanta.
Atlanta's Brian Tyree Henry didn't seem to love it.
I give the monologue ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ thumbs up.