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Culture

Satire is Alive and Well: Greek-American Tina Fey Hosts Golden Globe Awards

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey, better known as Tina, whose Greek ancestors include a survivor of the Chios Massacre of 1822, stood alongside her lifelong friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alumna Amy Poehler as the two comediennes hosted the 2015 Golden Globe Awards (for movies and television shows) and in the process won another battle for free speech. Their zinger-filled monologue seen on television in the United States and throughout the world, sent a message loud and clear that despite any terrorist threats to the contrary, satire is alive and well.

Most of the jokes were about Hollywood and the actors that comprise it. “Welcome, you despicably-spoiled, minimally-talented brats,” Fey opened.

Fey and Poehler were equal opportunity offenders, drawing big laughs from the crowd – at times even from the objects of their zingers who were in the audience. They tackled a number of Hollywood stereotypes, proving them true. Age, and sexism, for example, and how difficult it is for women to obtain important roles as they grow older. Regarding Patricia Arquette, Poehler said “there are still great roles for women over 40, as long as you get hired when you’re under 40” (her recent film Boyhood, took 12 years to complete).

To satirize Hollywood hyperbole, Fey said about Reese Witherspoon, who starred in Wild, a film about a woman who embarked on a therapeutic 1000-mile hike, Poehler said “she did all of her own walking – so brave” (referring, of course, to the fact that Witherspoon didn’t do that actual hike herself). Fey then turned to George Clooney’s Lifetime Achievement Award: “George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year.” Fey explained that Alamuddin is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and was on a UN Commission investigating rules of war violations, “so tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award,” as the crowd roared with laughter. “Hollywood, Hollywood,” Poehler echoed.

To illustrate pretentiousness and hypocrisy all at once, Fey said that “actor Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for an award “but obviously he isn’t here because he has said publicly that ‘award shows are total and utter bull—-’ oh hey, Joaquin, there you are!” she deadpanned.

And another topic some find to be too “third-rail” for discussion – Bill Cosby’s alleged drugging women and then sexually assaulting them – was not off-limits in the Fey-Poehler repertoire. Regarding Meryl Streep’s fairy tale-filled film Into the Woods, Poehler said “Sleeping Beauty thought she was just getting coffee with Bill Cosby.”

Beyond Tinseltown titillation and more politically poignant, however, was the commentary about North Korea, which included more digs at the movie industry anyway. Specifically, regarding the film The Interview, which made front-page news a few weeks ago when the North Korea presumably cyberattacked the movie’s creator, Sony Pictures. “Tonight we celebrate all the great television shows that we know and love,” Fey said, “as well as all the movies that North Korea was okay with.” The line was a dig at Sony, which initially following the cyberattacks, refrained from releasing the film. Poehler chimed in that North Korea’s action vis-a-vis The Interview forced us all “to pretend we wanted to see it.” Fey finished it off: “North Korea referred to The Interview as absolutely intolerable and a wanton act of terror; even more amazing – not the worst review the movie got.”

Further exhibiting what surely would make religious fundamentalists cringe, Fey and Poehler played a game of “Who Would You Rather” – the implication being: with whom would you rather sleep? – as they proceeded to rank various male celebrities.

Commenting on continued controversies involving race in America, in the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police, Fey quipped that “the movie Selma is about the American Civil Rights movement, that totally worked and now everything’s fine.”

Fey and Poehler, who hosted their third Golden Globe event, were widely considered, as in the past, the evening’s two biggest stars.

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