The Golden Globes have gone host-less since 1995, when TV stars John Larroquette and Janine Turner jointly emceed the booze-filled awards show. Organizers had decided the event had more than enough A-list star power to keep eyeballs fixed on televisions and a central personality wasn't needed to keep the proceedings moving swiftly along.
That stance changed, though, when Globes planners got to know Ricky Gervais and selected the comedian as their first host in 15 years. If you don't already know who this British funnyman is, shame on you!
The 48-year-old is arguably the most in-demand comedic talent in Hollywood. With his thinning hair and prominent belly, Gervais hardly looks like your typical La La Land hot commodity, but he undoubtedly is. The influence of his sensibility and aesthetics on other creative types is hard to overstate.
Gervais' big break came in 2001 with the premiere of "The Office," the BBC series he co-created with Stephen Merchant. Ricky played David Brent, an insecure, embarrassing, infuriating boss at a no-name British paper company. Running for just two six-episode seasons, plus a special, the show became a hit on both sides of the pond (Gervais won a Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series in 2004) and might just be the finest comedy of the new millennium. It went on to spawn an American version, of course, with Steve Carell taking over Gervais' role.
As Carell's show took off, Gervais went back to the drawing board to create a second hit show. "Extras" aired on HBO for two short seasons, winning two Emmys (including another Best Actor award in 2007) and a Globe for Best Series, Musical or Comedy in 2008.
Meanwhile, the comedian continued to tour his stand-up act and started up a podcast with Merchant that has been downloaded 180 million times. The podcast conversations have been turned into an animated show that will debut on HBO in February.
On the silver screen, Gervais starred opposite Téa Leoni and Greg Kinnear in 2008's "Ghost Town," then made his directorial debut with "The Invention of Lying" last year, a comedy he also co-wrote and starred in alongside Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey. His next film, "Cemetery Junction," which he co-wrote and stars in, also features Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson.
Gervais maintains a vibrant blog, on which he posts humiliating pictures of himself, his thoughts on pop culture and updates on how his various projects are doing.
"You may have heard I'm hosting the Globes," he wrote last fall. "Should be interesting. It's live too. (Evil laugh.)"
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