Ranking Every Opening Monologue at the Golden Globes
The Golden Globes have been a staple of the Hollywood awards circuit for the last seventy-six years, though they have only featured a host since 2010 (except for that one time in the 90s). In fact, there have only ever been six different Golden Globes hosts (or host duos). We took a look back at those eleven hosted ceremonies and ranked their opening monologues, from worst to best.
11. John Larroquette and Janine Turner (1995)
The 52nd Golden Globe Awards was the first to feature a host and… there’s not much to say about it. Their “opening monologue” is unlike the ones we’re familiar with today: the humor is scarce, but mostly because they’re not really trying to be funny. Janine Turner just keeps naming celebrities and saying “where are you?” while John Larroquette does a quick bit about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s circumcision. It’s bland, but inoffensive. Following Larroquette and Turner’s one-time hosting gig, the Globes went host-less for another fifteen years. But I mean, can you blame ‘em?
10. Jimmy Fallon (2017)
While Fallon’s monologue wasn’t terrible, it ranks near the bottom of this list due to predictability and blandness. It includes several jabs at President-elect Donald Trump, a spot-on Chris Rock impression, and a joke about Ryan Gosling’s pianist (*sigh*). But worst of all is the La La Land spoof that preceded the monologue. It featured dancing Storm Troopers, the always-debonair Ryan Reynolds, and a precocious rap verse from the cast of Stranger Things. Between the musical number and the monologue, there was still not a lot to love here. Sorry Jimmy.
9. Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh (2019)
Our two most recent hosts were also two of the worst. Though somewhat saved by Sandra Oh’s sincere speech about diversity, the rest of the monologue was a lump of awkward, over-rehearsed punchlines. Despite their best efforts to sound conversational, the timing and execution of the jokes felt anything but spontaneous. Their best jokes were about Crazy Rich Asians (“the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha”), but the rest of the monologue felt tired and, worst of all, safe. The Globes seem to be most interesting when the hosts don’t take it too seriously, and despite how much they wanted to seem laid back, Samberg and Oh came across as way too serious.
8. Seth Meyers (2018)
You gotta give it Seth: this was a hard year. The 2018 Golden Globes was the first big award show to happen amidst the #MeToo and Times Up movement, so the first person to have to publicly confront the issue head-on, to an industry crowd… was Seth Meyers. Luckily, he did a pretty good job. A lot of his jokes centered around that topic, but other decent jokes included some topical digs at President Trump and Spielberg’s “Oscar-baity” film, The Post. Where the monologue kind of derailed was with the prolonged “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” bit. While the jokes themselves weren’t terribly unfunny, their delivery took way too long. Plus most of them were jokes he literally could tell. The bit implies that he can’t tell certain jokes as a straight white man, so he gets more diverse celebs to tell the jokes for him… but it’s not homophobic to tell a Kevin Spacey-Call Me By Your Name joke… so why couldn’t he-…you know, nevermind. Bottom line is— it wasn’t that funny.
7. Ricky Gervais (2010)
In his first Globes hosting gig (as the Globes’ first host since 1995), Ricky Gervais began to lay the groundwork for his eventual status as the iconic Golden Globes host. It’s clearly not his best monologue (he had some decent jokes in there, nothing particularly memorable), but luckily his British accent and condescending tone were enough to shock a few audience members and get him asked back by the HFPA. And it’s a good thing they did end up asking him back… well, maybe not for their credibility, but it sure was fun for us!
6. Ricky Gervais (2012)
It’s definitely not his worst monologue, but it is his most disappointing. Following his infamous 2011 monologue (we’ll get to that one), Gervais seemed considerably less inclined to ruffle any feathers. His monologue wasn’t as straightforward as 2010’s and not as edgy as 2011’s— it was somewhere in the middle. But aside from a few now-dated jokes about Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, Gervais mostly comes out on top. He had a handful of good jabs at CBS and the show itself, as well as a few particularly memorable bits about the HFPA’s “list of rules” and “Jodie Foster’s beaver.” The best parts about his 2012 monologue were the numerous references to his 2011 one. It’s not the most creative way to host a show, but if it ain’t broke…
5. Ricky Gervais (2016)
The year was 2016. It had been three years since Gervais’ last time on the Globes stage, and many people were expecting him to come out swinging with more offensive jabs and controversial takes. Instead, Gervais performed a relatively modest set. He had some clever digs at CBS, the HFPA, and the Globes themselves (including one where he claimed to use one of his own awards for… unsavory purposes). But his best joke was a quick jab at Jennifer Lawrence’s highly publicized crusade for equal pay for women in Hollywood: “There were marches on the street with nurses and factory workers saying, ‘How the Hell can a 25-year-old live on $52 million?’”
4. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (2015)
This was Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s worst Globes monologue… and it was still pretty damn good. It wasn’t bland, predictable, boring, or corny— it was just good! Highlights included a witty game of “Who’d You Rather” and a respectfully hilarious bit about George and Amal Clooney. Throw in some jokes about how aloof Joaquin Phoenix is, how Meryl Streep is a perennial nominee, and how Bill Cosby “PUT THE PILLS IN THE PEEPOLE” and you got yourself a show.
3. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (2013)
There are some truly classic jokes in this monologue. The bits about Anne Hathaway’s awkward turn as Oscar host with James Franco in 2011 and Kathryn Bigelow’s brief marriage to James Cameron rank among the top Globes jokes ever. But perhaps the best bit of the monologue is when Tina and Amy pressure Daniel Day-Lewis (nominated for Lincoln) to raise his finger like he’s E.T. It’s a brief (and rather stupid) joke, but Day-Lewis can’t stop laughing— so neither can we.
2. Ricky Gervais (2011)
This is the one people think of when they think of Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes. In his most edgy monologue of all, Gervais called out Mel Gibson’s anti-semitism, discussed Hugh Hefner’s mortality, and outed some “famous scientologists” as closeted gay men. But the juggernaut was Gervais’ brutal takedown of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s poorly reviewed film, The Tourist. Despite admitting he hadn’t even seen it, Gervais ripped The Tourist apart, going so far as to suggest that the studio bribed the HFPA to get it nominated. There were a lot of other great jokes in here too, so do yourself a favor and just watch the whole thing.
1. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (2014)
And here it is, the best Golden Globes monologue we’ve ever had. This thing is packed with funny, topical jokes that focus on the awards, nominated films, and celebrities that fill the audience. Probably the funniest bit is when Julia Louis-Dreyfus smokes an e-cigarette while sitting in the “film section” thanks to her nomination for Enough Said (a great film, of which not enough is said), but there are also a ton of great one-liners in here, including jokes about Joaquin Phoenix in Her, George Clooney in Gravity, and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. In the second of their three consecutive hosting gigs, Fey and Poehler came across as prepared, relaxed, approachable, and spontaneous. They really were great each time they hosted, but this one will be the hardest to top, even if you were somehow able to get the duo back together.