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Did Gervais go too far at Globes?

January 17, 2011

The day afteRickyr 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?


Ricky Gervais was hilarious. I do not make it a habit to watch award shows – he was the reason I stayed to watch. Great job!

Posted by skullsvsbones | Report as abusive

My take is that fine line between what’s funny and what’s not. Some of Ricky’s stuff hit, and some didn’t. I bet half these people who took offense laugh their bejeweled butts off at stuff that shock jocks say about others, but when it comes to the joke being (or attempting to be) about them, run sniveling, to their publicists to hit back. I don’t think it’s nice to hurt anyone’s feelings, and personally, I think comments about how people look should be omitted all together. Everyone looks beautiful, and why shouldn’t they? Pulling these looks off takes all day. Many professional hours from so many talented people go into this that I’m sorry Ricky didn’t take on the Red Carpet folks about all the after-blather on their attire. Stop the madness.

Posted by tatler | Report as abusive

Ricky was hilarious. Awards shows are usually so boring. The actors who took offence obviously take themselves too seriously and believe all the “star” hype. They are just people pretending to be other people. They could do with being taken down a peg or two.

Posted by Becardo | Report as abusive

No he didn’t go too far – that was the funniest awards show I have ever seen! You make millions and you want to congratulate yourselves, what’s wrong with being teased about the “phoniness” of Hollywood? I don’t think anyone could ever top that – if any celebrity was offended they need to lighten up – or go spend their millions in a spa or retail or regular therapy.

Posted by mmorning2 | Report as abusive

I always loved him ~ even when he was chubby, but now I have a huge crush on him!

I thought he was so so funny, and he said all the things that some of us think. The Charlie Sheen joke was totally tame by comparison. Most remember the Scientology joke, or Bruce Willis’ long list of bad films along with being Ashton’s dad and the Hugh Hefner joke of course. But I also loved the introduction for Stallone (“he played a boxer and Rambo”) or Tom hanks with his long list of films, but Tim Allen just being Tim Allen. I just feel a we bit bad for Robert Downey Jr. even though he seems so full of himself these days. I also didn’t get the Sandra Bullock joke.

Steve Carell seemed annoyed, but he should suck it up! After all Ricky is way funnier than him.

Long live Ricky!

Posted by ayorayor | Report as abusive

From Ali at Been watching the “Ricky Gervais Hosting the Globes best-of tape” and frankly I feel a bit troubled by it–the potshots were too cheap, the jokes had no heft. It felt like a dirty game of trying to beat the clock. Gervais channeled David Brent, and David Brent isn’t the right person to host the Globes.

Posted by screencomment | Report as abusive

The only reason I watched the show was to see Ricky Gervais. He’s so funny. Lighten up Hollywood. We’ll still pay to see your movies.

Posted by happystewardess | Report as abusive

Haven’t laughed that hard in ages. Have always been a Big fan, even bigger fan now.

Posted by fatscal | Report as abusive

Ricky G was fantastic. My whole little dinner party was in stitches and we watched the monologue again.. One of the funniest award shows..

Posted by JenStar | Report as abusive

Love Ricky! They knew what they were getting when they hired him – it was no surprise. They need thicker skins out there. Speaking of Ricky – I’ve watched his Out of England 2 show three times – his interpretation of the Noah book is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.

Posted by DuchessFeathers | Report as abusive

hes talented but this was too mean spirited too cheap. the gags werent even veiled or subtle or double entendres. I note he always picks easy targets, christians, disabled and laid back americans. try this act on other religions or against his own people in england and the monachy. the fact jerry seinfeld mocked the oyal wedding proved once and for all the english cannot take the joke back. that makes them hypocrites and less funny.

Posted by truthteller9999 | Report as abusive

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