By Morgan Fisher
The always hilarious and perfectly provocative Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the 2015 Golden Globes on Sunday, January 11th. Naturally, the duo made plenty of jokes, poking fun at all of Hollywood’s “despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats.” But this year particularly, a lot of their comedy included some refreshing doses of female empowerment, and they were far from subtle about it.
In their opening speech, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler addressed the over-the-top beauty standards for the evening. Making fun of Steve Carell’s transformation process for his role in the movie Foxcatcher, Tina Fey remarked that it took her a whole three hours just to dress for her “role as a human woman.” This is clearly a jab at the fact that men spend hours in makeup rooms for their roles in their films (which they get an insane amount of recognition for), and that women are expected to spend most of their day getting ready to look flawlessly put-together just for one awards ceremony. Where’s their recognition?
The most on-point zinger of the night by far was their Bill Cosby joke. In light of the multitude of sexual assault allegations against him, no one should have been surprised that the women would take a jab at him. However, I don’t know if anyone was expecting the duo to zing Cosby quite as badly as they did. In her description of the film “Into the Woods”, Amy Poehler quipped that “Cinderella ran away from her prince, Rapunzel was thrown from a tower… and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.” The two then went on to jokingly impersonate Cosby, describing him putting “pills in the people,” and proceeding to imitate him until they had gotten their impersonation just right. The fact that these women attacked this issue head-on was gutsy, and made a big statement. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are both self-proclaimed feminists, and although the Cosby situation is still under investigation, the fact that they addressed such a controversial issue shows that they refused to ignore their opinions, even if they received backlash for it. Just because someone is famous and wealthy, does not mean that their wrongdoings should be overlooked. No matter what the situation, no one should be able to get away with sexual assault, and Fey and Poehler weren’t afraid to remind us of that.
My favorite part of the evening was when Tina Fey reminded us all how absolutely awesome (and sadly overlooked) George Clooney’s wife, Amal Alamuddin, is. Fey remarked that she is a “human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, an advisor to Kofi Annan on Syria and was appointed to a three-person commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza strip.” Then to show us all how backward and confusing Hollywood is, she followed that up with the fact that, despite all of her accomplishments, naturally “tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.” I laughed about this for a solid five minutes, because it’s so true. I’m not discrediting Clooney’s accomplishments by any means. He’s an astounding actor, and he’s done some wonderful things for the fights against poverty, world hunger and injustice. But it is so true that we so often overlook the good work of the so-called “average” people that gets overshadowed by the good deeds that celebrities do. Props to Fey and Poehler for calling out this double standard.
Poehler and Fey were not the only two women to make a statement during the awards. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin got a pretty great zinger in as well. There has been a long-standing stereotype in the world of comedy that women are not funny. Even with the release of hilarious movies such as Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, women aren’t credited with being as funny as men. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin decided to address this stereotype during their presentation of one of the awards. Fonda announced, “it’s nice that men at last are getting the recognition they deserve for being good at comedy,” to which Tomlin responded, “we can put to rest that negative stereotype that men just aren’t funny.” This sassy, but classy remark made an excellent statement on the gender divide that exists in comedy. It sometimes seems that comedy has to be gender-specific in order to be considered humorous, but why can’t both genders get a laugh together? Each type of comedy is funny in its own specific way. Bridesmaids made me laugh because of the well-evolved character dynamics. The Hangover made me laugh because of the off-the-wall series of events that occur in the film. I don’t consider one movie funnier than the other, because they are both funny in different ways. And the difference is not because of the gender of the characters in it; it’s because of the plot. Hopefully Fonda and Tomlin’s remarks will resonate with people, and remind us that the value of a movie should be determined by plot, not gender. And then, who knows? Perhaps someday there will just be a “best acting” category, rather than a “best actor” or “best actress.”
Over the course of the evening, there were quite a few more speeches reminding us all of the empowerment that we, as women, should feel. Maggie Gyllenhaal told us to love the “complicated girl.” Joanne Froggatt let rape victims know that they will not be silenced. The whole awards ceremony made me proud to be a part of a generation that will stand up for gender equality. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, along with countless other talented individuals (men included; Jeffery Tambor showed his support for the transgender community), embodied the promise of progress that Sunday night, and I have no doubt that they will only continue to do so in the years to come.