My wife has always watched two awards shows every year: the Golden Globes and Oscars. Which means, in effect, I watch two awards shows every year. (If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound of many married men nodding their heads in agreement.)
However, there are infrequent moments that make these experiences enjoyable. In particular, when British comedian Ricky Gervais hosts the Golden Globes.
The 58-year-old Gervais is one of the entertainment industry’s most successful comedic performers, writers and producers. He’s helped create TV shows, including The Office (original UK version), Extras and After Life. He’s won awards, including two Emmys, three Golden Globes and seven BAFTAs.
But it’s been his five hosting appearances at the Golden Globes that have generated the most publicity – and controversy.
Although his first appearance in 2010 was fairly tame, he changed his approach the following year. “I’m going to go out there, guns blazing,” he told the Associated Press, “like it’s the end of the world.”
Gervais’s performance was a deadly combination of biting satire, dark humor and a no-holds-barred attitude. And his target was liberal Hollywood.
He went after the stars of Sex and the City 2, stating he was “sure the Golden Globe for special effects would go to the team that airbrushed that poster. Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza.” He also said the film I Love You, Philip Morris was about “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.”
This trend has continued ever since.
In 2012, Gervais said the Golden Globes “are just like the Oscars, but without all that… esteem. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. Bit louder, bit trashier, bit drunker, and more easily bought.” He also noted “Justin Bieber nearly had to take a paternity test. What a waste of a test that would have been … the only way he could have impregnated a girl is if he borrowed one of Martha Stewart’s old turkey basters.”
Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church was “furious” about the movie Spotlight, he said in 2016, “as it exposes that five per cent of all their priests have repeatedly molested children and been allowed to continue to work without punishment. Roman Polanski called it ‘the best date movie ever.’” Gervais also pointed out he was getting the same pay as the 2015 co-hosts, comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, acknowledging “I know there were two of them, but it’s not my fault if they want to share the money, is it? That’s their stupid fault. It’s funny because it’s true.”
As for this year’s ceremony, here’s a little gem that stands out:
“Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China – unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you? So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”
It’s interesting that Gervais, an avowed atheist and humanist who supports the UK Labour Party (although he didn’t endorse them in 2019), has become Hollywood’s foremost critic.
While he slyly claims these are nothing more than jokes, his comedy routine also reflects what many feel about Tinseltown: a select group of actors and actresses living in a land of make-believe who are out of touch with reality; who engage in excessive alcohol, drug use and debauchery with little fear of consequences or repercussions and who support trendy liberal causes and hold left-wing political positions that most of them barely understand.
Sure, Gervais is a liberal comedian playing a particular role as an awards show host. But he surely knows knocking down Hollywood’s biggest prima donnas a few pegs aren’t only entertaining to an audience, but a rather cathartic experience.
How could he not enjoy it, both publicly and privately?
Gervais has repeatedly said this will be his last appearance as a Golden Globes host. If so, then he truly went out with a bang. I, and other members of my gender, will be whimpering in the back, thank you very much.
Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and Washington Times contributor, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.