Between #MeToo, Hollywood’s ongoing attempts to curtail harassment and abuse within its ranks, and that whole thing where last year’s Best Picture was accidentally awarded to La La Land instead of Moonlight, Jimmy Kimmel had a laundry list of intimidating things he was expected to address during his second year in a row of hosting the Oscars. But in a monologue free of many bells and whistles — like, not even a single spontaneous burst into song — Kimmel managed to set ‘em up and knock ‘em down.
After kicking off with a self-aware warning that announced winners maybe shouldn’t “get up right away” to accept their award, just in case of another mix-up, Kimmel took a pointed turn into the uglier side of Hollywood that the Harvey Weinstein allegations brought to light.
The Oscar, he mused, is “the most respected, beloved man in Hollywood,” because he “keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and most importantly, no penis at all.” (A solid joke, but my personal favorite part was him grinning that Oscar is “literally a statue of limitations,” which is so dumb it circles all the way back around to excellent — a classification that also applies to Kimmel promising a jet ski to whoever gives the shortest acceptance speech.)
From there, Kimmel delivered some truly scathing jokes at the expense of Hollywood and its most powerful creeps. The reckoning that followed the Weinstein allegations, Kimmel acknowledged, was “long overdue. We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore. The world is watching us, and we need to set an example.” Plus, he added, if they can help fix harassment in Hollywood, “women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go!”
But those were layup jokes compared to some of the others Kimmel had up his sleeve. For one, he said, Hollywood couldn’t possibly be surprised by all the allegations brought to light after Weinstein, since “we made a movie called What Women Want, and it starred Mel Gibson.”
At one point, he even brought up Mark Wahlberg making millions for reshoots on All the Money in the World while Michelle Williams made an $80 per diem, plus the fact that both are represented by the William Morris talent agency. “If we can’t trust agents, who can we trust?” Kimmel asked in faux surprise, shaking his head to a ripple of knowing laughs.
It was a monologue perfectly suited to Kimmel’s typical straightforward, wry delivery. But it came with a hefty dose of the pointed bite he’s developed over the past year, as he’s tackled the Trump administration and Republicans’ attempts to repeal health care with more passion and severity than he ever had allowed on Jimmy Kimmel Live before. So for the Oscars, just as with the weightier episodes of his show, that combination didn’t overall make for a hilarious monologue — but it sure did make for a relevant one.