It’s not like she was given a lot to work with. As host of the 25th SAG Awards—the silver anniversary, as SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris pointed out—Mullally should have been working with top-tier material, to make SAG’s biggest night shine extra bright on their milestone. And it’s not like Mullally can’t deliver! She’s a real show woman, with plenty of experience with stage work and live performance, and the ability to go off the cuff and wing it when needed. Mullally can deliver! But she just didn’t have the material to work with at the SAG awards. Her monologue was okay, mainly because it was short. It was what, five minutes? Really, that’s all a monologue needs to be. Just get the ball rolling, and maybe the Oscars wouldn’t have a host problem if their hosts weren’t expected to do a solid ten.
It also didn’t hurt Mullally’s monologue that the opening “I’m an actor” bit included Geoffrey Owens, who was found working at a Trader Joe’s last year when the gigs slowed down. A lot of actors who won shouted out actors who are still struggling, and Owens is a visible representation of the instability of the industry, and how quickly fortunes can change (he’s got five credits already for 2019). He’s at the 40 second mark if you haven’t seen it.
That was a nice, touching moment, and it fed directly into the monologue, giving Mullally some energy to jump off and get things going. And she kept trying all night, even though the writing remained poor—her best post-monologue bit was talking about her late father’s residuals for the pilot of Twilight Zone. (The SAGs are at their best when they remind you that acting is a JOB.) At least, she kept trying as long as she was on stage. She did her monologue and two bits and then disappeared, nary to be seen again until she shouted “Good night!” at the end. Given that her material wasn’t great, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but again, this was the 25th SAG Awards. Should have been…more, right? And Megan Mullally can do More. She knows how to work an audience and play to a camera, she’s funny and breezy and sharp. She’s an ideal host for things like this—if the Oscars weren’t so f-cking ratings obsessed, she should be on their shortlist for potential hosts!—but the show just stranded her, and then disappeared her.
Maybe that’s why her dresses were so bold. After buying her own red carpet gown because designers were not sending her options—which, really? STILL? Fashion designers, get your sh-t together, this is a bad look FOR YOU—she bought a black and gold McQueen online. Her red carpet dress is my favorite of her three looks of the night, but once inside she committed to bold gowns. Her first dress was fuchsia sequins, and her second was cherry red. There was no mistaking Megan Mullally on stage. Given she didn’t actually get to spend much time up there, that’s a pretty smart way to make the most of the opportunity. Make sure they can see you, and make sure you’re memorable. I would like to know if the dress selection was intentional once she realized she was not going to get to change five times (Anne Hathaway wore seven gowns as the host of the Oscars, eight if you count her red carpet dress).
Ultimately, the SAG Awards did not deserve Megan Mullally. A performer as funny and talented as she is shouldn’t be so hemmed in and limited on what is supposed to be your big celebratory night. I know it’s not the Oscars, but that is the point. The SAGs can be fun! They can be loose! And again, this was a milestone year. But the show was flat and, barring a couple solid wins, boring. Letting Megan Mullally actually BE Megan Mullally would have gone a long way to energizing the night.