One detail about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s friendship is burned in my mind. As they return to co-host the Golden Globes for the fourth time this Sunday night, February 28, consider this.
It was 2001, and Poehler was just starting out at Saturday Night Live, where Fey was head writer and had been trying to recruit her longtime friend for years. Fey recalls in her memoir Bossypants that the cast and writers were gathered for rehearsal and Poehler was joking around. Jimmy Fallon, who was one of the show’s biggest stars at the time, put on a high-pitched, whiny voice, and said to Poehler, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it!”
Poehler, Fey remembers, whipped around and spat, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”
Fey was elated. “I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!” she writes. “Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.”
I think many of us feel, every time we see Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together, “My friends are here! My friends are here!” Just watching them appear onstage seems to cause a surge of serotonin. Their comedy is so beloved, but they also represent something huge. They’re funny, creative women who don’t just take a seat at the boy’s club but actually create more room for each other. Their return as co-hosts of the Golden Globes comes when we most miss them. We need our friends, even virtual celeb friends, more than ever.
Also important: The Golden Globes is, infamously, the drunkest awards show. We love the luxe vibe of the Oscars, the loudness of the Grammys, the low-key drama of the Billboard Music Awards. But at the Golden Globes, which kicks off awards season, celebs converge for a long, booze-filled dinner party that, lucky for us, happens to be televised. And when we’re really lucky, they’re roasted by Tina and Amy.
As we await the moment they take the virtual stage to host the Globes once more on Sunday night, let’s take a look back at their best jokes from the previous years they’ve hosted. Yes, even the Taylor Swift controversy. In the words of Poehler at the 2014 Globes: Ladies, kick off your shoes; gentlemen, try them on and see how horrible they are.
Golden Globes 2013
I haven’t seen a group of people this terrified at the prospect of two women simply standing at the front of a room since my US history teachers proctored the AP exam. This entire opener is perfection—it doesn’t matter that the jokes are about The Hunger Games and Les Miserables, they’re as funny now as they were then, when we were all young and innocent. The singing! The face stroking! It’s all a joy. And is it bad feminism to say that Tina’s hair looks so beautiful I am salivating? Can I admit that?
Now, here is where some essential drama happens that, personally, I would be interested in seeing analyzed by a gender studies PhD dissertation. The CNN clip below covers the joke Fey made about Taylor Swift at the Globes, and the response Swift gave two months later, in a Vanity Fair interview. On one hand, Swift was only in her early twenties and dealing with constant sexism in the media and from the public. On the other hand, who implies that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are going to hell? Who does that??
“Aw, I feel bad if she was upset. I am a feminist and she is a young and talented girl,” Poehler said, when asked about it later that year. “That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.” You can see Fey do a call-back to the controversy here, at the 2014 Globes:
Golden Globes 2014
What’s an awards show joke that lives rent free in your mind? Mine is this one, at 5:05 in the video below.
“Gravity is nominated for Best Film,” Fey says. “It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.” I do not think it is an exaggeration to suggest that George Clooney may have taken this as a wakeup call to work on his commitment issues—by the time he faced Tina and Amy at the 2015 Globes the following year, he was married.