Entertainment behind the scenes
Did Gervais go too far at Globes?
The day after the Golden Globes, and, in Britain at least, there is as much media chatter about show host Ricky Gervais and his no-holds-barred approach as there is about Colin Firth’s acting award for his portrayal of the stammering King George VI in “The King’s Speech”.
Normally the reaction on this side of the pond to major U.S. movie award shows is to champion the victorious Brits, or otherwise bemoan their failure. This year would have been no exception — joy for Firth, otherwise disappointment for the film about the British monarchy — were it not for Gervais and his less-than-gentle jokes that took aim at, among others, Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp of “The Tourist”, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Cher, the actresses in Sex and the City, prominent Scientologists and Hugh Hefner.
The Gawker website’s reaction summed up its jaw-dropping bluntness: “Holy wow. Ricky Gervais … just opened the show with one of the most unrelentingly harsh and uncomfortable monologues in awards history.”
Some of the stars there on the night felt the need to hit back — Robert Downey Jr., the butt of one of Gervais’ less-than-flattering jibes, suggested that the host’s words were “hugely mean-spirited, with mildly sinister undertones”. The LA Times called the event a “snarkfest” and wrote of the “corrosive tone” Gervais set. Reflecting how taken aback some viewers were with his repartee, there was even online speculation that he had been sacked mid-show when he failed to appear for nearly an hour.
The BBC has just quoted a statement from Gervais saying: ”I did every single introduction I was meant to. There just happened to be a long gap. The atmosphere backstage and at the after show was great.”
Entertainment Weekly came out on Gervais’ side, commenting: “Oh Ricky, you’ll never work in this town again, and we love you for it”. And The Hollywood Reporter also speculated that the British comedian may have just hosted his last major awards ceremony in the United States: “‘I warned them.’ Returning Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais did indeed let it be known that he wasn’t going to hold back in skewering Hollywood’s most famous celebrities. And, in what will undoubtedly be his last hosting gig for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and, who knows, maybe any Stateside awards) he didn’t disappoint.”
Did Gervais go too far? Was he merely voicing what the wide public thinks and says? Should such thoughts and words be kept private, rather than aired on an awards show viewed by millions of people around the world? Are celebrities paid enough to deserve the odd bout of public humiliation?