Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s Opening Monologue at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards

When Nick Kroll and John Mulaney perform their open monologue for the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards you don’t know whether to laugh or to laugh and cringe since some of the material is, well, not entirely up to par. Like a lot of hosts they’re definitely up on announcing a few people out of the crowd like Frances McDormand, who is a good sport thankfully. Then launching into a joke that blasted Harvey Weinstein met with a mixed reaction. Bret Ratner was next, then Kevin Spacey, then Woody Allen, and then men making apologies for men as has been done since the Weinstein scandal. It was basically a blast on anything and anyone that could be targeted in what goes for good humor. At the very least you can say that people had enough of a sense of humor to laugh and clap.

One thing you can say about humor as it pertains to the awards shows of this era is that you would have never heard this kind of thing in the past. Humor within society and its acceptance has changed so greatly that people are allowed to say pretty much whatever they want so long as it’s being done in the name of laughter. There’s no doubt that Kroll and Mulaney stepped on a few toes during their opening but that seems to be what’s expected these days since stepping on toes and making fun of those that they mention is the norm. Comedy has taken kind of a vicious turn despite many people claiming that it’s all in good fun and isn’t meant to hurt anyone. Yet there are those kids and adolescents that might watch the show that wouldn’t understand just why the two hosts are openly bashing so many people while the crowd laughs and claps.

Humor is a very subjective thing. What’s funny to one person will be abhorrent to another at times, and what makes one person clap and smile will make another grimace in distaste. Comedians know this and fashion their jokes and anecdotes accordingly, but even they can’t hit it right all the time. There were a few faces in the crowd that looked as though they were having less than a good time listening to the two comedians, and it showed quite obviously. That’s the trick with comedy however, not every joke is going to go over with everyone in the same way. In a mixed audience such as this however it’s usually wise to know that some jokes are going to be taken the wrong way and perhaps seen in poor taste.

But unlike an average audience that’s not composed of celebrities, this crowd is no doubt used to being the subject of ridicule and scorn at least on some level. Celebrities are continuously in the public eye and no matter whether they’re revered or reviled, they’ve likely grown used to those that deride them for no better reason than to deny their worth on some level. Two comedians doing it for an awards show, and in jest, shouldn’t be much of an issue.

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