Ricky Gervais is now in hot water after his offensive tirade of jokes and one liners as host of the 68th Golden Globes ceremony, January 16. There seemed to be an elevation of nastiness from last year when he also hosted the same event. The close up of Steve Carell’s dead pan face, just staring at Gervais who ribbed him for not winning an award foreshadowed what was to happen this year. He repeatedly overstepped the line between funny and insulting. You definitely won’t be seeing him in next year’s ceremony.
Senior citizens seemed to get the brunt of Gervais’ jokes. On the Playboy founder’s recent marriage he said, “Hugh Heffner lied about his age he told me he was 94 years old!” He then does a Heffner impression saying, “Hold on honey, just don’t look at it when you touch it!” Gervais closes his eyes sticks his tongue out and makes licking motions. Oohs and aahhs of disgust were collectively heard from the celebrity filled room. “You think he’s old? The HFPA President is so old I had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth back in!”
Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk calmly replied, “The next time you want me to qualify your film call someone else!” Not content with offending the seniors there were also racist undertones in some of the remarks, “Our first presenter is beautiful, talented and Jewish! Mel Gibson told me that! He’s obsessed! Please welcome Scarlett Johansson!” The HFPA has already issued statements distancing themselves from the jokes made by Gervais.
He also introduced Bruce Willis as ‘Ashton Kutcher’s dad.’ The Best Foreign film was described by Gervais as, “The category no one in Hollywood cares about.” Thank God Best Picture presenter Michael Douglas was spared from Gervais’ hurtful comments. Douglas recently recovered from his bout with throat cancer. His peers applauded and stood up in appreciation of his efforts to which Douglas said, “There’s gotta be an easier way to get a standing ovation.”
Award shows definitely have a certain amount of theatrics. It is show business after all. Writers are pressured to come up with material that won’t make it seem formal and dreary. But humor doesn’t have to be demeaning. As a reaction, the presenters started going off the script and answered right back at Gervais. After this intro, “He’s the star of Ironman, 2 Girls and a Guy, Wonderboys, sorry, are these porn films? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang? Bowfinger, really? He has done all those films but most people in this room know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles county jail. Please welcome Robert Downey Jr.!”
Rob coolly answered, “Aside from the fact that he’s been hugely mean spirited with mildly sinister undertones I’d say the vibe in this show has been pretty good so far wouldn’t you?” Rob was wildly applauded by the crowd who grew tired of the host’s inappropriate comments.
The irony of it was that even Rob had his own implicit introduction of the Best Actress nominees (drama). “I consider myself a veteran, I don’t know if an actress can do her best work until I’ve slept with her…Julianne. Told her that I was working with strange new feelings that were confusing me…Angie. Only for her to blow me off like it never happened…Anette. Or casually mention that her boyfriend was casually coming for a location visit because he misses her and what they have is REAL! And had the gall to invite me to a treetop for dinner…Ann! Why? I’m not gonna try to creep anyone out but where’s Emma? I’ve got a verse like a Blue Valentine thing but not age appropriate. All these women rendered exquisite performances without a shred of help from me. I’m just saying if I could I’d give it to all five of you. At once, the award, right here center stage in front of my wife, the audience and millions of viewers.”
There is a difference between Robert Downey Jr.’s sexual undertones and Gervais. Rob is one of the best actors today and is able to make the delivery of those words seem funny and sympathetic. Gervais on the other hand makes it sound thoroughly and seriously insulting. And anyone who’s seen the original ‘Office’ would know that it’s his style. But there ARE limits as to how offensive you can be, especially on an internationally aired program like the Golden Globes.
Presenter Tom Hanks said during the ceremony, “Ricky used to be a kind, chubby, nicer comedian, neither of which he is now.” Tim Allen added, “You are a sad strange little man, you have my pity.”