The first weekend after New Year’s is known for two things: being ground zero for the abandonment of all resolutions, and the Golden Globes. Remember those? People in the biz call them “the fun awards show,” which is only half true. They’re fun in that all of the celebrity attendees are allowed to drink, and they sit at circular tables—the ideal shape for joviality. Both movies and television shows are honored, but none of the categories/nominees ever make much sense, so it’s kind of just a night of glamorous chaos. At the same time, it’s still a ceremony featuring a bunch of famous people high-fiving each other that takes up four hours of your Sunday night, so … fun is a relative term.
But things can be done (and avoided) to maximize the entertainment value of the Golden Globes. Not on your part—the second you turn on the E! red-carpet show at 6 p.m., you are a slave to Ryan Seacrest and all that follows—but on the part of those who attend. There are jokes that can be made, feuds that can be ignited, acceptance speeches that can be given, Jennifer Lawrences that can be Jennifer Lawrenced—all to make the 2018 Golden Globes a pleasurable viewing experience. Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts for this coming Sunday night, for both the producers of the ceremony and the attendees. Celebrities (namely Armie Hammer), please read.
Do: Everything Possible With Gal Gadot
Wonder Woman will be in attendance as a presenter on Sunday, and just as a general rule, everything that she touches is automatically better. Here she is making bowling the no. 1 sport in America; here she is making Ben Affleck look weightless and unencumbered by severe ennui.
If the Globes are smart, and if they care about the audience’s well-being whatsoever, they will utilize Gadot as much as possible. Let her host 10-15 minutes of NBC’s red-carpet coverage—just imagine her interviewing Daniel Day-Lewis about sewing! Put host Seth Meyers in Chris Pine’s chunky fisherman sweater and do an in-show skit with her. Instead of playing off overly long acceptance speeches, let Gadot use her Wonder Woman lasso to rope people off the stage. It’ll be adorable! Like everything in life, this ceremony cannot have too much Gadot.
Do: Give E!’s Gimmicky Red-Carpet Thing the Finger
This is maybe the most important advice I can give.
Don’t: Make a Sunken Place Joke (If You’re White)
Giuliana Rancic, even though it would be pretty fitting if you whipped out a tea cup and tapped it in Daniel Kaluuya’s face, this is not your joke to make. The same goes for you, Seth Meyers—making a Sunken Place joke in your monologue would basically be the same as Bradley Whitford saying “I would’ve voted Obama for a third term” in Get Out.
Do: Make a (Good) Hidden Fences Joke
"you're nominated for Hidden Fences" pic.twitter.com/7My6dtEkbG— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 9, 2017
As the rule goes, comedy equals tragedy plus time, and enough time has passed since last year when every white person in Hollywood conflated Hidden Figures and Fences because they were both acclaimed films with primarily black casts. That was bad and embarrassing, but a Hidden Fences joke this year would be a random and clever way to make fun of last year’s idiots.
Do: “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell”
The entertainment industry’s reckoning with widespread sexual harassment and assault is (rightfully) going to cast a shadow over this entire awards season. That’s going to put hosts like Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel (who’s hosting the Oscars in March) in the difficult position of finding a way to simultaneously condemn the Harvey Weinsteins of the world while also maintaining the festive atmosphere of an awards show. It’s not a subject that can be ignored, but it’s also not technically the point of the ceremony.
On Late Night, Meyers frequently does a segment called “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” in which two female writers for the show—one who is black, and one who is gay—tell jokes that are funny coming from them, but would be offensive if Meyers tried to do them. My pitch: Roll that format out for Meyers’s monologue, and let the women of Hollywood bury Weinstein, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, and the very system that allowed their behavior to go unchecked for so long. It’d be cathartic, but it could also be funny. And it’d put the spotlight where it ought to be: not on these heinous men, but on women who are standing up to them.
Do: Cut to Frances McDormand As Much As Possible
Only good things can come of this.
Don’t: Misread a Winner on Purpose
It’s just too soon.
Do: Tell the “Wrap It Up” Music to Shut Up
Fact: Any time an award winner openly wages war against an awards orchestra, it makes for great television. Think Bette Midler telling the Tonys to “shut that crap off” last year; think Cuba Gooding Jr. turning the music into a triumphant accompanying score at the 1997 Oscars; think Jacqueline Bisset fighting through the music to finally find words at the 2014 Golden Globes. These awards shows are at their worst when they feel pat and by the numbers; any moments of true humanity feel like an oasis. So, assuming they don’t do the Gal Gadot–Wonder Woman–lasso thing, I would encourage Timothée Chalamet or Margot Robbie or whoever wins to be themselves and tell the rule-makers to screw. Literally—it’s really fun when an award winner curses during a speech because (a) it gets censored on TV and so every viewer gets to guess what bad word they said and (b) cameras always end up cutting to, like, Amy Adams being like “Oh my gosh, she said the S-word!” and it’s very endearing.
I will conclude this section with a caveat: that not every winner can have a long speech. We viewers need to balance our desire for viral moments with our desire to wrap this thing up in an orderly fashion. So how about this: Once Laurie Metcalf ignores the music in the first 40 minutes of the show, no one else can do it.
Do: Remember That It’s Pronounced SUR-SHE
Here’s a helpful video from Saoirse Ronan:
Don’t: Do the “We’re Two Straight Guys Kissing OMG Lolz How Hilarious Is That?” Joke
A message to all straight men: We are leaving this gag in 2017.