We’re more than halfway through 2017, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no escape from politics, even on television’s biggest night at the Emmy Awards. In his opening monologue Sunday night, host Stephen Colbert took more than a few digs at President Donald Trump, understandably cracking up the celeb-filled audience.
Kicking off the show with a musical number jam-packed with references to nominated shows, the Trump dissing started off lightly. Appearing as her character in the political comedy Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus sang, “Imagine having a president not beloved by Nazis.” Given that Louis-Dreyfus was literally the president on her own show, that line practically wrote itself, right?
After the catchy opening number, Colbert brought up what I’ve definitely begun expecting of award shows since Trump took office. “There are 450 scripted shows …there’s no way anyone who could possibly watch all that TV, other than the president,” he began. “Hello sir, thank you for joining us. Looking forward to the tweets.”
Um, same, tbh.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 18, 2017
Colbert also touched upon Trump’s history with the Emmys, including his past nominations and him saying that he should’ve won when, in a presidential debate last fall, Hillary Clinton said Trump claimed the Emmys were rigged. “Why didn’t you give him an Emmy?” Colbert asked the audience. “If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president.”
Hmm, what would that world be like that?
A shocking monologue also isn’t a success without a surprise guest, and Colbert delivered. When wondering how large the audience was, Colbert called out, “Sean, do you know?”
— Variety (@Variety) September 18, 2017
Sean Spicer pulled a Melissa McCarthy, rolling out with a podium and announcing to the hysterical crowd, “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.”
You know the world is crazy when a former White House staffer embraces his SNL persona and pokes fun at himself at the Emmys.
I think Melissa McCarthy’s stunned expression says it all when it comes to reception of Spicer’s cameo. Although the stars in the audience looked pretty entertained by Spicer’s moment in the spotlight, some viewers haven’t found much humor in it. Teen Vogue equated the moment to Jimmy Fallon’s infamous ruffle of Trump’s hair, while Twitter users shamed the Emmys for putting Spicer in a funny light. Kal Penn, an actor who also worked on President Barack Obama’s White House staff, summed up those angry tweets best:
.@seanspicer can normalize himself in good fun, but he still passionately advocated against human rights, health care, & American values
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) September 18, 2017
Kudos to Colbert for pointing out just how much of an influence current events had on the past year’s TV. If there’s anything this moment can teach us, it’s that there’s a fine balance between politics and entertainment.