We’re sure Jimmy Kimmel’s been hard at work on his monologue for the 2017 Oscars, but he may have already been upstaged by the one-two comedic punch of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. The comedians — whose two-man Broadway show Oh, Hello just closed on January 22 — opened the Independent Spirit Awards the day before the Oscars ceremony with a ridiculous, hilarious 10-minute routine.
Okay, maybe “upstaged” is a strong word, since as Kroll and Mulaney pointed out, it’s not super likely that many people were actually watching the Independent Spirit Awards, which air on IFC and specifically honor the previous year in independent filmmaking.
“Some of you might take the opportunity today to make a political speech,” Kroll said to the audience.
“And that is your right!” Mulaney continued. “But bear in mind, we are on IFC and these are the Spirit Awards. So in terms of impact, you could give your speech directly into camera, or you could whisper it to yourself in the bathroom.”
A potential lack of impact still didn’t stop the hosts themselves from getting into “politics, politics, politics.”
“Speaking of bathrooms,” Kroll cut in, “President Trump rescinded rights for transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice this week. Because transgendered children have had it too good for too long.”
Earlier in the monologue, Kroll and Mulaney even directed some particularly pointed jokes at the Oscars themselves.
“We like to think of these awards as ‘the ones without Mel Gibson,’” Kroll said at one point, since the Oscars will be hosting Gibson as a Best Director nominee for Hacksaw Ridge the next day. Kroll continued: “People wondered, ‘How long would it take for Hollywood to forgive someone for anti-Semitic, racist hate speech?’ The answer? Eight years!”
“So look out for the 2024 Oscars,” Mulaney cut in with a grin, “when the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to Mr. Steve Bannon.” (Kroll later sighed that Bannon only got the job of Trump’s chief strategist because he’s “so hot … he looks like if Nick Offerman drowned.”)
Having worked and performed together for years, Kroll and Mulaney finish each other’s sentences so seamlessly that the monologue never had a single moment of dead air. Their jokes are never quite what you’d expect, a fact they know and openly delight in. And while I could keep listing out everything they said at the Independent Spirit Awards and you could chuckle while reading along, there’s really no substitute for watching the two in action, so you can — and should! — do that now.
Watch Kroll and Mulaney’s full monologue in the video embedded above.