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Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman kicked off the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards with a pre-recorded segment and monologue that were as sexually charged as fans may have expected.
The two were initially shown rehearsing backstage as Sarah Silverman was wheeled out in a clear case.
Mullally and Offerman were told Silverman was “the backup host,” as a “liability thing” since the two hosts had joined Twitter prior to 2015, referencing the recent phenomenon of stars getting in trouble for old tweets.
As they rehearsed a joke, Silverman urged them to be more political (“it’s the only reason people watch awards shows”) before pretending she couldn’t breathe due to a lack of air in her storage container.
Mullally and Offerman used her crisis to motivate them, with Mullally saying they would “go out there and host the best damn awards show anyone has ever hosted,” all for Silverman.
Taking the stage, Mullally kicked off their official monologue by joking about A24’s strong showing at the Spirit Awards, saying the trophyfest will “honor the best of films and TV shows that begin with the A24 logo.”
They then celebrated how theatrical movies are back, before Mullally clarified that people weren’t seeing the films of nominees in attendance.
“They’re going to see the eighth Spider-Man for the sixth time,” Offerman added.
Later they joked that they would be celebrating the “films no one saw” and TV shows “no one has ever heard of.”
After mentioning nominee Red Rocket, Mullally engaged in the first of several moments in which she appeared to be obsessed with Simon Rex’s performance during the film, to Offerman’s annoyance.
They then turned their focus to Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard.
“Nick and I were kind of hoping we’d be the biggest Hollywood power couple in the room for once,” Mullally said to the duo in the audience. Offerman added, “Indie stars and A-listers, pick a lane, you greedy bastards.”
Mullally and Offerman then put their credits against Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard’s in a mock argument as Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard laughed along.
The rest of their monologue included jokes about top nominee Zola, incidentally from A24, as well as nominees A Chiara, Drive My Car and White Lotus‘ Murray Bartlett and his memorable suitcase scene.
Referencing nominee Michael Greyeyes, who is nominated in both film and TV categories, Offerman said he hasn’t seen anyone “dominate two different mediums” since he and Mullally had sex with a pair of fortune tellers.
In closing, Offerman referenced the Spirit Awards’ beach location saying, “if you don’t win, you can just walk straight into the ocean.”
But they ultimately urged even those who don’t win to celebrate the independent spirit: “Winning is for big-budget Hollywood trash,” Mullally said.
“This is independent film,” Offerman added, “the independent spirit where the heroes get their teeth kicked in by reality.”
In a recorded segment that aired later, the pair pretended they were another act from the Harlem Cultural Festival (Kyle and Jean Ojay — aka The Ojays without the apostrophe, which they said is “Dutch”) that didn’t make the cut for Summer of Soul.
The two were shown performing onstage and looking back on it in an interview.
“We look so young, it’s like looking at the children we never had,” Mullally’s Jean says in the interview, as Offerman’s Kyle adds of the performance, “That was back when I had both lungs.”
The song the two are performing onstage devolves into a tune with lyrics like “clap your hands if you like pizza,” which, Jean and Kyle say, became a hit in Germany, leading them to go on the road before he got diabetes and lost his foot.
After the clip, Summer of Soul director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson was shown smiling in the audience.
Offerman also, after one commercial break, ran out wearing fishnets, a shiny red pair of underwear and red sunglasses, singing “Zola,” before Mullally told him they cut the musical sketch that also apparently involved a stripper pole and a chorus of naked men.
After one of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s wins for The Lost Daughter, Offerman continued their mock feud by offering, “congrats to another feather in the cap of the Gyllen-Sars”
He also pretended to fight with Javier Bardem including before the Being the Ricardos star presented best feature.
Ahead of the show, Offerman told The Hollywood Reporter that the pair would “try to make people laugh without being mean to them.”
“Traditionally, in the opening of the show, it’s kind of roast comedy,” he said. “And we don’t like that because it is actually mean; it’s bullying and reinforces stereotypes. I have laughed a lot at it with everyone else over the years, but I can also bring my head around to, ‘Let’s make jokes that don’t make people feel bad about themselves.'”
He also noted that he and Mullally were “not Billy Crystal,” he said, referencing the frequent Oscars host, saying they told Film Independent, the organization behind the Spirit Awards, that when they “took the gig.”
“We are, however, a married couple who loves to be onstage together and lean into our old-fashioned Nichols and May vaudeville back-and-forth. So that is what we will bring to bear,” he said. “There will also be an overpowering sexuality to the presentation — and there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Indeed, the pair didn’t shy away from sexuality in their statement when they were announced as hosts for the show, saying, “We hope to get a little rowdy, but it’ll mainly be legitimate cinematic discourse. Although, with the two of us involved, it’s more likely to be intercourse. Either way it’ll be legit.”
The pair follow in the footsteps of past Spirit Awards hosts Melissa Villaseñor, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Patton Oswalt, Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Sarah Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah and John Waters.
The 2022 Independent Spirit Awards returned this year to an in-person ceremony on the beach in Santa Monica after last year’s awards show went virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But, this year, the Spirit Awards are airing earlier than its traditional berth, taking place three weeks before the Oscars instead of just days ahead of the Academy Awards.
Zola topped this year’s nominees with seven nominations, including for best feature. Other top nominees are The Novice, with five nods, and four-time nominees The Lost Daughter and Wild Indian.
7:49 p.m. This story has been updated with additional moments from Offerman and Mullally during the show.
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