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After a star-studded opening number featuring the likes of Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, John Legend and more, co-hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost took the stage at Monday night’s 70th Primetime Emmy Awards. They spent the next several minutes poking fun at hot-button issues like the rise of streaming services, the dismissal of Roseanne Barr from Roseanne and developments in diversity casting.
Read the full transcript of their monologue below:
Colin Jost: Hello everyone, welcome to the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards. I’m Colin Jost.
Michael Che: I’m Michael Che. You know, it is an honor to be here sharing this night with the many talented and creative people who haven’t been caught yet.
Colin: This year, the audience is allowed to drink in their seats. Hope you’re excited about that. Because the one thing Hollywood needs right now is people losing their inhibitions at a work function.
Michael: That’s true, that’s true.
Colin: We just want to say a quick hello to the thousands of you here in the audience tonight and to the hundreds watching at home. Hi, Silver Linings Senior Center!
Michael: You know who’s not watching? My mother’s not watching.
Michael: Well, she says she doesn’t like watching white award shows because you guys don’t thank Jesus enough. That’s true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.
Colin: I don’t know if you knew this, but the first Emmys were held back in 1949. Things were very different back then. Gas was 17 cents a gallon, a new home cost $7,000 and we all agreed that Nazis were bad.
Michael: In fact — actually, Colin, you’ll like this — our network, NBC, has the most nominations of any broadcast network.
Colin: That’s right.
Michael: Which is kind of like being the sexiest person on life support. It’s — it’s not great.
Colin: Netflix, of course, has the most nominations tonight. That’s right, and if you’re a network executive, that’s the scariest thing you could possibly hear except maybe, “Sir, Ronan Farrow is on line one.”
Michael: Yeah. you don’t want that call.
Colin: No, you don’t. Of course, there are so many incredible nominees here tonight, incredible nominees.
Michael: Black-ish is nominated. “Black-ish” is also how I’ve been asked to behave tonight, so … we’ll see how that goes.
Colin: One of our favorite shows, This Is Us, is nominated for best drama tonight. Milo [Ventimiglia] is here; he plays Jack on the show. The next season of This Is Us will explore Jack’s experiences in Vietnam. This was in response to viewers who wrote in and said, “Sadder, please.”
Michael: Speaking of sad, The Handmaid’s Tale is nominated for best drama. I don’t know who’s seen it, but The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in an imaginary future where an entire group of people are violently forced to work and make babies against their will. It’s what black people call “history.” It’s Roots for white women, that’s what it is. It’s Roots with bonnets.
Colin: There were several dramatic rescues for TV shows this summer. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was canceled by Fox but picked up by NBC …
Michael: Last Man Standing was canceled by ABC, then picked up by Fox…
Colin: … and Roseanne was canceled by herself, but picked up by white nationalists.
Michael: She’s had a rough year. You know, I heard Roseanne is actually moving to Israel. I mean damn, how messed up is your life when you have to go to the Middle East just to get peace of mind? By the way, congratulations to Laurie Metcalf. I mean, wow, that’s incredible. You know how great an actress you have to be to get nominated for Roseanne now? That’s like nominating a cop for a BET Award. It doesn’t happen! it’d be weird!
Colin: And television obviously has more choices than ever before. This year, Netflix will spend $8 billion on programming. They now have 700 original series, which makes me realize that the show I pitched them must’ve really sucked. I mean, it’s like being turned down for a CVS Rewards Card.
Michael: Also, while you guys are here, how is Netflix getting all that money? It’s like $9 a month, and everybody I know is sharing the same account. Netflix is like that Instagram model that’s always in Dubai. You’re like, “Yeah, but what do you really do?”
Colin: The Obamas now even have their own production deal at Netflix, and my dream is that the only thing they produce is their own version of The Apprentice … and it gets way higher ratings.
Michael: Things are getting better, but as we all know, TV has always had a diversity problem. I mean, can you believe they did 15 seasons of ER without one Filipino nurse? Have you been to a hospital? Even on a great show like Cheers — I mean Cheers, I love Cheers — but you’re telling me they made a show about an all-white sports bar in 1980s Boston and not one black dude walked in, saw everybody, and then walked right back out? I would’ve. I would’ve, certainly.
Colin: There’s even more diversity coming to TV. There’s a Latino Magnum, P.I., there’s gonna be a black Samantha in a reboot of Bewitched. But it’s gonna get balanced out — it’s gonna get balanced out by an all-white reboot of Atlanta called 15 Miles Outside of Atlanta, and it focuses on white women who call the police on the cast of Atlanta.
Michael: It’s not perfect, but TV has come a long way in the past 70 years. I think that’s what you’re trying to say, right, Colin?
Colin: That’s right, that’s right. And with the amazing contributions from everyone in this room tonight, I think we can keep television going for another five, six years tops.
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