The 2015 Golden Globes was the last in a series of three consecutive Globes ceremonies hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and you almost wonder whether producers have been desperately trying to recapture that magic since then. They’ve turned to Ricky Gervais two more times in the past six years; one year they gave Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh a shot (better than Gervais, but still a bit random). But now, the duo is finally back.
And not a moment too soon: Fey’s and Poehler’s irreverent but lighthearted spirits made the ridiculous and random award show that no one really understands a bit more significant and watchable. As hosts, they provided sharp, topical comedy and commentary and were never afraid of their targets, even the ones sitting just several feet away, possibly very drunk off Moët. And unlike Gervais, who seemingly hosted the Golden Globes five times just to piss people off, Fey and Poehler simply had fun with it: As people who have been both satirists and satirized themselves, they know what they’re doing more than most award show hosts.
In anticipation of their return in the first bicoastal ceremony (Fey will host from the Rainbow Room in New York, and Poehler from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, the award show’s usual location), it’s worth diving back into Fey and Poehler’s Golden Globes jokes of the past. Where are some of the subjects of those jokes now? What are they up to? How well have the jokes aged? Fey and Poehler made fun of more than 40 people across three monologues, and I know you aren’t going to read 20,000 words, so I zeroed in on the celebrities who have taken a turn, achieved significant success since, or whose narratives have changed since the early to mid 2010s. Many of the celebrities are still thriving, some are doing fine, one is Ricky Gervais, and one is in prison.
Tina and Amy broke Ricky Gervais’s three-year Golden Globes hosting streak because during the 2012 ceremony, Gervais offended the Hollywood Foreign Press by being a dick. So in their opening monologue for their first ceremony as hosts in 2013, Poehler said, “We won’t be making any offensive jokes. When you run afoul of the Hollywood Foreign Press, they make you host this show at least two more times.” Pretty foreboding stuff: Fey and Poehler hosted the show two more times, and so did Gervais for some reason. After being criticized for making fun of “woke” culture during his 2020 stint, Gervais said he’d never host again. In 2015, Amy Poehler said that she and Fey would also never host the Golden Globes again. But here we are in 2021, repeating patterns established by Ricky Gervais.
At the 2013 Golden Globes, Fey and Poehler made comments about how double-nominee Lena Dunham was a child (she was in her mid-20s at the time, so the joke is fair). The list of Lena Dunham’s activities (read: controversies) since that moment is too long to share in full here, so please just consider this the SparkNotes version: Girls ended after six seasons, and then Adam Driver became an Oscar-nominated movie star; in 2016, Dunham accused NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. of not objectifying her at the Met Gala; in 2017, Dunham accused actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about her sexual assault; that same year, she was accused of mistreating a dog named Lamby; and in 2018, Dunham was controversially hired to write a screenplay based on a Syrian refugee’s memoir to be produced by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams (have you ever heard of them?). Dunham also directed the pilot of HBO’s Industry and is set to direct the Season 2 premiere. More recently, her new HBO Max series, Generation, sparked controversy when it was reported that people on set were uncomfortable with the use of actual cat corpses. Dunham claims to have not realized the real cat corpses were real cat corpses.
At the 2013 Globes, Amy Poehler, also from Boston, speaks to Ben Affleck (sitting with then-wife Jennifer Garner) in an exaggerated Boston accent. Affleck was nominated for Argo, which he starred in and directed. She did the whole “You think ya bettah than me?” bit, which Ben liked. Since then, Affleck played Batman twice then stopped playing Batman, played an accountant in The Accountant, got divorced, stood solemnly on the beach with his back tattoo on full display, dated Ana de Armas, broke up with Ana de Armas, and then threw out a cardboard cutout of Ana de Armas. Now, he orders Dunkin’ Donuts every single day along with a plethora of packages. Ben Affleck is still from Boston. Deep Water, an erotic thriller directed by Adrian Lyne starring Affleck and de Armas, is expected to come out in August 2021.
During the 2013 Golden Globes, Fey and Poehler made a joke demanding that Taylor Swift stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son, who was sitting at the same table—a reference to Swift’s public relationships with celebrities like Joe Jonas and Jake Gyllenhaal, and her subsequent songwriting about those heartbreaks. Swift commented on the joke in a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women,” a quote she attributed to Katie Couric but that also sounds like it came from The Real Housewives of New York City’s Ramona Singer. At the following year’s ceremony, Fey told Poehler that she’ll see her in hell, an obvious reference to Swift’s comment. As we reconsider how we talk about female celebrities in a post–Framing Britney Spears world, maybe Fey and Poehler did cross a line—like, make a joke about John Mayer instead?—but I think it’s safe to say that the two are not going to be tortured for eternity. Everyone seems to be over it anyway: Swift has gone on to become even more successful and popular than she was in 2013 and is now happily dating the guy Emma Stone slaps around in The Favourite. She released two critically acclaimed albums during a global pandemic. She is very successful.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the Divide of Film and TV
At the 2014 Globes, Poehler said, “Only at the Golden Globes do the beautiful people of film rub shoulders with the rat-faced people of television.” That year, noted TV star Julia Louis-Dreyfus was nominated for her performance in the 2013 film Enough Said. At this time, which is, in theory, not that long ago, movie stars (ahem, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman) hadn’t overtaken television yet. The entire night, Fey and Poehler (with the help of Louis-Dreyfus) did an ongoing bit about how Louis-Dreyfus is a movie star now and therefore doesn’t have time for her gross TV friends anymore. Louis-Dreyfus did not become a movie star, but did break the record for winning the most Emmys for the same role as Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep. Meanwhile, there now is basically no difference between movies and television, both in terms of form and prestige. You can thank David Lynch and that lady Louis-Dreyfus is vaping next to.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the subject of Tina and Amy’s most iconic Golden Globes joke, which is also the most iconic joke ever told at an award show. In retrospect, it’s kind of embarrassing that anyone (including me) has tried to make a joke after this. In response to this, DiCaprio gave Fey and Poehler two thumbs up as he approached the stage, which is both surprising and not surprising: I think he was, in a way, proud of this. Eight years later, DiCaprio is 46 and dating 23-year-old actress Camila Morrone. But he also has an Oscar (for the wrong movie) now.
In 2014, Fey and Poehler joked that George Clooney would rather float into space and die than spend time with a woman his own age (a reference to his role in Gravity opposite Sandra Bullock). A year later, though, Clooney attended the Golden Globes with barrister and human rights activist Amal Clooney, his age appropriate wife. In June 2017, the Clooneys welcomed twins. Technically George and Amal were dating when Tina and Amy made this joke, but they still deserve a little credit for encouraging him to grow up.
“A lot of nominated shows tonight are actually on Netflix this year—House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black. Enjoy it while it lasts, Netflix, because you’re not gonna be feeling so smug in a couple of years when Snapchat is up here accepting best drama.” Amy Poehler said this at the Golden Globes in 2014. Since then, Netflix has expanded its original television offerings and started making original films. Many more Netflix shows have been nominated for and won Golden Globes and Emmys, and Netflix films like Roma and Marriage Story have been nominated for Oscars. Netflix is not going anywhere. Snapchat, meanwhile, is still mostly renowned for making your face look like a hot dog, and Quibi—the Snapchat of TV—died an inglorious death.
Woody Allen was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award in 2014. He was not there, because he does not attend award shows, so Diane Keaton accepted the award on his behalf. Fey and Poehler only quickly addressed him by saying that the DeMille award is for tiny men with big glasses (because Scorsese also won it). Several weeks later, Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow published a letter in The New York Times detailing his sexual abuse of her. Farrow’s letter, which called out Hollywood and the public’s dismissal of her accusations, was a precursor to the #MeToo movement three years later. Her letter made more of the public aware of Allen’s abuse, and finally provided her own perspective to the story rather than his. Since the letter was published, actors have dismissed his work and expressed regret for working with him, while American studios have refused to distribute his work. His memoir, Apropos of Nothing, was canceled by its publisher after an employee walk-out in protest, but was published in 2020 by Skyhorse. Allen v. Farrow, a four-part docuseries about the accounts of Allen's abuse, is airing on HBO now.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Steve Carell was trying to be a serious, Academy Award–winning actor. To his credit, he was almost successful. Carell’s performance on The Office never won him an Emmy, but his performance and his prosthetics in 2014’s Foxcatcher earned him a Golden Globe nomination, an Oscar nomination, and a BAFTA nomination. During the 2015 Golden Globes opening monologue, Amy Poehler says, “In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell plays a paranoid, murderous billionaire. The role was a stretch for Carell, who, in real life, is a paranoid, murderous millionaire.” Carell is still drawn to dramatic work including The Battle of the Sexes, Beautiful Boy, Welcome to Marwen, and a role as Donald Rumsfeld in Vice. But he did pivot back to television, because that’s what movie stars do now. He now plays a dramatic role on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, and recently starred in Netflix’s comedy series Space Force.
The biggest news in the entertainment industry in early 2015 was when North Korea threatened an attack if Sony released The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, so Fey and Poehler made jokes about it throughout the entire ceremony. Some of them have not aged well: Fey speaks in a mocking Asian accent even though her own TV show 30 Rock once said “don’t do impressions of other races.” North Korea is not currently trying to prevent the release of American films or hacking the emails of major studios anymore, but Kim Jong Un did become friends with a president.
During the 2015 Golden Globes, Fey and Poehler did a bit in which Poehler pretends that she is Fey’s son and is trying to figure out which man in the audience is his father. At one point, Poehler goes up to Weinstein and says, “Is it him?” Weinstein is delighted that he’s been involved in the bit (it was a surprise to him), but Fey’s tepid response (“carry on”) and the audience’s uncomfortable laughs suggest an awareness of something we’d all come to know and understand two years later. Harvey Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault. Out of everything, nothing has aged worse than this moment: a depressingly overt example of an entire industry’s complicity.
It would not be an award show if someone did not say “Meryl Streep’’ at some point. All of the jokes Fey and Poehler made as Golden Globes hosts through the years about Meryl Streep were about how great she is at acting, but many of them were also about how Streep is the only actress of her age who does acting. Fey and Poehler were on to something frustrating: Streep is an incredible actress, but because she is so good and so respected, many roles go to her by default. All of Streep’s peers, it seems, have to resort to Ryan Murphy shows as a result. Streep is doing just fine, and in a somewhat ironic twist, she recently starred in The Prom, a Ryan Murphy Netflix film.
Robert Redford was in the audience for the 2014 Golden Globes, so Fey and Poehler took the opportunity to announce that Redford is on a completely different, much higher level compared to other celebrities; the only comparable celebrity to Redford, Fey says, is June Squibb. Fey and Poehler’s assessment is still correct, including the part about June Squibb. Redford has since retired from acting; his last film was, weirdly enough, Avengers: Endgame.
Tina and Amy were not the first or only hosts to make fun of the HFPA by suggesting no one understands what the fuck it is (they compared it to HPV), but their comments feel pretty notable right now. Turns out, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is not doing so great! After a phenomenal year in film and television, particularly for exceptional stories made by and starring Black entertainers—Regina King’s One Night In Miami, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You—the HFPA overlooked them completely while nominating Emily in Paris, which is bad. Now, the HFPA is facing scrutiny over unethical behavior: In 2019, HFPA members were flown to Paris to visit the set of Emily in Paris, and were treated to free lodging at a five-star hotel with rooms that start at $1,400 per night. In addition, it was also reported that the HFPA has no Black members. Everybody has always made fun of the HFPA and the Golden Globes and dismissed them as a self-serving excuse for the group’s anonymous, fame-hungry members to rub shoulders with movie stars—don’t forget that 2010’s The Tourist was nominated for best musical or comedy—but now it has a clearer reputation than ever for blatant ignorance. Unlike HPV, at least we kind of understand it a little better now?