Saturday was the Film Independent Spirit Awards and this year’s roster of independent film nominees included plenty of depressing cinematic themes and storylines. Fortunately for the Spirit Awards, the hosting duties went to one of the hottest comedy teams working today, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, who were able to cut their way through films about oppression, terminal illness, family deaths and the assassination of our 35th President.
Kroll and Mulaney took the stage for their opening monologue by greeting the crowd with “Oh, Hello!” which is now their default catchphrase after a hugely successful run on Broadway as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland in the monster hit of the same name, “Oh, Hello!“. They immediately joked about the cache of the awards ceremony that takes place in the daytime, “the only awards show that’s a matinee,” “Yes, but it’s cool and indie so it’s a ‘Matinee McConaughey’, “and Johnny, you know what he says, ‘alright, oh-kay, oh sure!'”
Being the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the pair could have gone the route of all Trump jokes and killed with that crowd, but Kroll & Mulaney knew they didn’t need to dwell on the President. As Mulaney warned anyone considering a political speech to “Bear in mind, we are on IFC and these are the Spirit Awards, so in terms of impact, you could tell your speech directly into camera or you could whisper it to yourself in the bathroom.” And as Kroll pointed out, any politicizing was unnecessary anyway because “if this room leaned any further to the left, we would literally topple into the Pacific Ocean.”
The “Trump” topics that scored big with Kroll and Mulaney’s jokes, under the tent of the Spirit Awards, included the President rescinding transgender rights, his tweeting, and highly applauded jokes at Steve Bannon’s expense. But the undisputed funniest joke of the night, was a Trump joke, delivered by Mulaney comparing Trump with accused murderer Robert Durst. “Hey Trump, you and Robert Durst are both rich sociopaths from New York real estate empires, yet somehow, Robert Durst is more likeable.”
In the clip below, you can see that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney did their homework for the occasion including jokes about filmmakers Werner Herzog and Lol Crawley. They also made fun of the big awards shows by doing a bit on the classic vehicle of doing cutaways to the famous audience members during their opening remarks, and later on, a gag about the In-Memoriam segment with Andy Samberg, plus a pre-taped send up of the pre-Awards Show awards. Congratulations to that tub of peanut butter filled pretzels. You earned the honors and more.
As for the job that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney did as hosts, they proved once again that they are performers with multiple skill sets. It would be no surprise to see them back again next year emceeing under the Film Independent Spirit Awards’ big top tent, unless they’re booked that weekend, handling the Oscars.