Did Ricky Gervais Go Too Far?

brent johnson looks at the comedian’s much-talked-about Golden Globes gig …

“I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumor going around that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so the HFPA could hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish. That is not the only reason. They also accepted bribes.”
— Ricky Gervais, hosting Sunday’s Golden Globes

Usually, award shows are chock full of Hollywood kissing its own ass and slapping itself on the back. Hosts? They are mostly there to serve as chuckle-inducing yet inoffensive ringmasters — throwing minor jabs at the celeb elite and maybe dashing off a song or two.

But oh, Ricky Gervais. He turned the most kiss-ass award show of them all — the wine-and-dine, star-studded banquet known as the Golden Globes — into a series of gut punches and darts. He dared — DARED — to nudge his elbows into the egos of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis and Angelina Jolie.

And it was hilarious.

But did he take it too far? That’s the lingering question. Apparently, the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association), which organizes the ceremony, didn’t take too kindly to some of his remarks. Gervais — a confident, sometimes cocky comedian who is among the best humorists I’ve ever seen — doesn’t seem to care. He also said he refuses to host the show next year.

As if he’d be asked.

EW.com has posted a useful list of his best — or nastiest — jokes, depending on how you view them: http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/01/16/ricky-gervais-rudest-golden-globes-jokes/

Gervais was cruel at times — especially to Tim Allen’s career and Robert Downey Jr.’s struggles with substance abuse. I don’t know how well I’d take it if I were on the other end on his digs. And the idea that he simply doesn’t care about what he says doesn’t change the fact that he said them.

But these are Hollywood celebrities — paid millions to be in public. They spend so much of their time either loving themselves or mopping up from scandals that maybe the real shock is that someone had the balls to knock them down.

And if Gervais wasn’t sympathetic to the people in the crowd Sunday, he was simply continuing his usual act for the audience at home. Gervais’ best comedy — The Office, Extras — is about highlighting the hilarity and humanity in uncomfortable situations. Essentially, what he did Sunday was create one, long awkward situation. And it accomplished what he was hired to do: make TV viewers laugh.

We as humans make stupid decisions, but Gervais reminds us there’s humor in everything. Especially if your middle-aged ex-wife marries the young guy from That 70’s Show.

1 COMMENT