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Monday, March 14, 2011

Gervais Creates Both Laughs and Laments at Golden Globes

By Andrew Rich

Ricky Gervais stirred up controversy recently due to the number of scathing jokes he told as host of the 67th Golden Globe Awards on January 16 in Beverly Hills, California. Gervais, the 49-year-old British comic known for his critically acclaimed shows The Office and Extras, hosted the Golden Globes for the second year in a row and was not afraid to lambaste plenty of Hollywood’s stars.
The targets on Gervais’s hit list included Mel Gibson, The Tourist, Robert Downey Jr., the cast of Sex and the City 2, Tim Allen, Bruce Willis, and “certain famous Scientologist actors who are pretending to be straight.”
“It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking,” started Gervais in his opening monologue. “Or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.”
“It was a big year for 3D movies,” he continued in one of his jokes. “Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Tron. It seemed like everything this year was three-dimensional. Except the characters in The Tourist. I tell you what, I'm jumping on the bandwagon, because I haven't even seen The Tourist. Who has?”
Gervais was not afraid to push the boundaries: “Also not nominated, I Love You Philip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor- two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay, so the complete opposite of some famous scientologists then. My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke.” A mixture of laughs and groans followed the jokes as the night went on.
Although Gervais is known for his non-politically correct style of humor, some celebrities voiced their annoyance at Gervais and the content of his jokes.
Robert Downey Jr. noted how the show felt “mean spirited,” while Tom Hanks mentioned, “We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian.” This was followed by Tim Allen, who said, “Neither of which he is now.”
However, other attendees enjoyed Gervais’s humor. 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin was seen wiping tears from his eyes during one point in the show, while Robert De Niro was also spotted laughing throughout the ceremony.
“He’s genius,” told Best Supporting Actor nominee Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) to the New York Times.
“Thank God for comedians,” added Best Supporting Actor Winner Christian Bale (The Fighter). “I’m hoping he’s going to keep going further.”
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Film Winner Al Pacino commented, “He’s a comic, so he’s going to go for it. He’s letting it go. You don’t know what [he’s] going to say!”
Still, Gervais received sharp criticism from a variety of media critics. The Los Angeles Times said his jokes set a “corrosive tone” for the night. TV critic Mary McNamara quipped, “The opposite of dull and deferential is not snotty and abusive.” Reaction from the television audience has also been mixed, ranging from praising Gervais’ fearlessness to criticizing his jokes for being too mean.
Even with the mixed reaction that he received, Gervais was asked back to host the Golden Globes for a third time. Gervais, though, thinks otherwise.
“I don’t know what I could do better,” Gervais said. “I certainly couldn’t get more press for them, that’s for sure. You know me. Two seasons is enough.”

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