In several interviews, Ricky Gervais made it clear that he felt a responsibility to skewer the rich and famous assembled at the Golden Globes this year. It’s not about the people in the room; it’s about the people watching at home. We are in a deep economic crisis, after all. Let’s get this in perspective: They’re the wealthiest, most privileged people in the world,” he told Esquire in a recent interview. Many of the promotional spots leading up to his return as host took this angle, as well.
This year, the co-creator and co-star of the often fame-and-fortune skewering “Life’s Too Short,” “The Ricky Gervais Show,” “An Idiot Abroad,” “Extras” and both the U.K. and U.S. version of “The Office” saved most of his acerbic venom for several folks who weren’t in attendance: Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy. And a few of the jokes directed at larger targets seemed to have compliments thinly hidden in their premises: Clooney is handsome, Firth is well-loved, Portman puts family first. Hardly biting.
But in fairness, Gervais promising to up the ante from his stellar performance last year is a bit like Paul McCartney promising to outdo The White Album. Some things in art and life come down to time, place, circumstance and the right convergence of events (Ricky would probably be upset if we suggested divine intervention). And while another comedic actor may have had the edgiest joke of the night (“Hello, I’m Seth Rogen, and I am currently trying to conceal a massive erection,” said while standing about a foot away from Kate Beckinsale), Gervais certainly still generated several laughs. “It’s so good having a job where you can get drunk and say what you want. And they pay you,” he said at one point during the telecast.
In case you missed ’em, here are the five funniest things the massively talented Englishman had to say:
5. “Tonight you get Britain’s biggest comedian, hosting the world’s second biggest awards show on America’s third biggest network. Sorry, is it? Fourth. It’s fourth. For any of you who don’t know, 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. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing’s been proved.”
4. “What’s with all the divorces? What’s going on? Arnold and Maria, J.Lo and Marc Anthony, Ashton and Demi. Kim Kardashian and some guy no one will remember. He wasn’t around long. Seventy-two days. A marriage that lasted 72 days. I’ve sat through longer James Cameron acceptance speeches.”
3. “Who needs the Oscars? Not me. And not Eddie Murphy. He walked out on them, and good for him. But when the man who said yes to ’Norbit’ says no to you, you know you’re in trouble. I love Eddie Murphy. He loves dressing up, doesn’t he? Versatile. He’s versatile. No, he is. Bit of trivia for you: Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler between them played all the parts in the movie ’The Help.’ Isn’t that brilliant. They were brilliant. I can’t believe they’re not here. Or maybe they are. They’re masters of disguise.”
2. “Justin Bieber nearly had to take a paternity test. What a waste of a test that would have been. No, he’s not the father. The only way that he could impregnate a girl was if he borrowed one of Martha Stewart’s old turkey basters.”
1. To Johnny Depp: “I want to ask you a question. And be honest. Are you on recreational drugs? I’m joking, that’s not the question. And we all know the answer. Have you seen ’The Tourist’ yet?”