A Gentler Gervais Turns Up for Third Globes Gig

[caption id="attachment_104888" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Getty Images"]Ricky Gervais[/caption]

"So, where was I?"

And with that intro, Ricky Gervais returned as host of the 69th Annual Golden Globes – but this was no continuation of the emcee's feather-ruffling antics from a year ago.

Despite an advertising campaign that played up the British comedian's rabble-rousing rep by showing him about to cut through tape covering his mouth, Gervais delivered a decidedly toned down performance. It was a far cry from last year, when Gervais made headlines for sharp verbal zings against nominees and presenters that drew the ire of stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Hanks.

Instead, Gervais lampooned establishments like NBC and the Oscars and "easy" celebrity targets like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian.

When he did focus on folks in the room, the jokes were solid, but hardly edgy; no one is going believe there's any truth in Helen Mirren inspiring the defecation scene in "Bridesmaids" or Colin Firth being a racist who "punches blind kittens."

Also Check Out: 2012 Golden Globes: The Results!

Seems the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the governing body behind the Globes, had their cake and ate it, too. They most likely scored higher ratings for bringing Gervais back, but won't be feeling the heat from peeved celebs in the morning.

A sampling of the zings Gervais did bring, most of which came in his opening monologue :

On NBC: "Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second biggest award show, on America's third biggest network… Sorry, is it fourth? It's fourth."

On The Golden Globes: "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 trashier, a bit drunker, and more easily bought…"

On The Oscars: "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 yes to you, you know you're in trouble."

Also Check Out: Ricky Gervais' Opening Monologue on MTV News

On The Hollywood Foreign Press Association: [referencing "Boardwalk Empire"] For those who don't know, it's about a load of immigrants who came to America about a 100 years ago and they got involved in bribery and corruption and they worked their way into high society… But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press."

On God: "I know for a fact that both God and my agent have exactly the same amount of input in my career."

On Madonna/Elton John: "Our next presenter is the Queen of Pop. Not you, Elton. Sit down."

Red Carpet Photos from the 2012 Golden Globes