Ricky Gervais Sullied the Golden Globes

How dare Ricky Gervais, an acerbic comedian, make jokes about Hollywood stars at an awards ceremony intended to honor those very stars? How dare he insinuate that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is anything less than a legitimate awards-bestowing force for good? Watch this blasphemy:

Ricky Gervais, you’ve really gone and done it this time.

Hollywood, and certain members of the media, are up in arms over Gervais’s outrageous performance, and at his audacity in making so-called jokes about people with whom he shared a stage.

As well they should be.

Gervais is an ingrate.

The Golden Globes ceremony is a wondrous celebration of the visual arts. The Globe only offers her graces to the most worthy, most artistic films and television programs of the year. She certainly never grants nominations or victories to programming based only on star power or celebrity appeal. She is virtuous and lovely, a wife but never a mistress.

And Gervais treated her like a $10 whore.

The cruelest irony of Gervais’s performance (if you can call a bitter, jealous tirade from a sad-clown comedian directed against people who are better looking than he is a “performance”), is that his very Britishness conflates perfectly with the mission of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. His hosting should have been groundbreaking in combining the American flair and glitter of Hollywood with an international level of refinement and sophistication.

Instead, Gervais stabbed the HFPA in the back, and he spat in the faces of the bright, shining stars who braved an unseasonably warm Los Angeles evening to be feted in the style to which they’ve grown accustomed. Who would have ever thought that inviting the star of the British version of The Office to host a Hollywood awards show would lead to some awkward moments? Steve Carell would never behave in such a brutish, unpleasant manner. He knows where his bread is buttered.

For their part, the members of the HFPA are reacting appropriately:

“Ricky will not be invited back to host the show next year, for sure,” an anonymous member of the HFPA said. “For sure any movie he makes he can forget about getting nominated. He humiliated the organization last night and went too far with several celebrities whose representatives have already called to complain.”

Bravo, anonymous HFPA member. I admire your courage, sir or ma’am. Mr. Gervais should have considered the consequences of his actions before unleashing his venom. Maybe it will finally sink in for him when he does not receive a Globes nomination for voicing the mole in the forthcoming “Wind in the Willows” production. Maybe then he’ll understand. Maybe as he’s crying himself to sleep the night the nominations are announced, he’ll feel what Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Bruce Willis felt as Gervais’s barbs flew in their direction Sunday night.

And our colleagues in the press are standing up for the bruised and battered Hollywood icons too. (Would this sort of indignity ever have been suffered upon Cary Grant? I think not.)

Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times decried Gervais’s performance as nasty, saying “The opposite of dull and deferential is not snotty and abusive,” and justifiably poking fun at his “dismal box office record.” As I said, jealousy is most unbecoming of an emcee. I think we all know that if “The Invention of Lying” had grossed $175 million domestically, the comedian’s monologue would have looked and sounded a little different. He would have shown a bit more respect, perhaps?

Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun went further in defending the honor of the Globes:

The normally clever-to-brilliant Ricky Gervais resorted to nonstop insult comedy as “the host” of the Golden Globes last night. He appeared to be auditioning for a dinner-theater version of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” His main game was “Get the Guest.”

When he wasn’t putting down easy targets like Charlie Sheen or joking about the vanity of “Sex and the City” stars and the age of Cher, his staggeringly lame fallback position was to list the lesser credits of A-listers like Bruce Willis.

His idea of daring was to contrast the formidable industry standing of Tom Hanks with the milder accomplishments of that often genial and sometimes inspired comic, Tim Allen. Why even try to drive a wedge between Woody and Buzz Lightyear?

Yeah, what kind of antisocial, insurrectionist agenda does Gervais have? Who in their right mind would want Tom Hanks and Tim Allen to be mad at each other? My God. Oh wait, I forgot — Ricky Gervais doesn’t believe in God:

Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

Gervais needs to understand that Golden Globes are sacrosanct. They are our most respected honor, and hosting the ceremony is a privilege, not a right. The Globes, after all, are the awards that:

  • Chose to honor Robert DeNiro with a lifetime achievement award mere months after the debut of “Little Fockers.” The Oscars are too elitist to take that sort of risk.
  • Dared to grant Robert Downey Jr. with a Best Actor award for his performance in “Sherlock Holmes.” Any old awards show can recognize Downey for his work in “Chaplin” — it requires true vision to see his greatness as the detective from Baker Street.
  • Awarded “Atonement” Best Drama over “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.”

A show, a group, with that kind of track record doesn’t deserve mockery from the likes of Gervais. Enjoy your stand-up “comedy” specials, sir, because you shan’t be getting any more starring roles in big-budget Hollywood pictures. And next year, the Globes will get a host they deserve. Like Dane Cook.

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