Scoring Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes Hit List

That’s it? Billed for weeks as the most vicious takedown A-list Hollywood has endured since, well, last year’s Golden Globe Awards, what returning host Ricky Gervais wound up delivering was something far more tepid—when he was on the stage at all. Perhaps he had realized there was no way he could top his infamous 2011 performance, or, more specifically, the surprise and outrage it was met with. So instead we got jabs at low-hanging (and absent) fruit like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, some Bridesmaids references to defecating in a bathroom sink, and sucker punches directed at NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Big whoop. Chris Rock put in a more controversial turn as host of the 2005 Oscars.

Which isn’t to say Gervais earned no laughs at all. Just as we did in this space one year ago, let’s now rate Ricky’s best hits and misses as host of the Golden Globes. (As always, we borrow heavily from the Dungeons & Dragons scoring system in assessing their deadly force.)


“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.”


Skill Points: 5
This was a fairly astute joke, because it felt edgy without actually targeting anyone in the room. Nice callback to his accusations last year of the HFPA being bribe-friendly.

Hit Points: 1
There is very little you could say about Kim Kardashian that would shock or offend anyone. She’s the Paris Hilton of, well, now.

Net Damage: 2
C’mon, Ricky, we want blood.


“But 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 cant believe they're not here. Or maybe they are. They're masters of disguise.”


Skill Points: 7
I enjoyed this little riff. Eddie Murphy is a touchy Hollywood subject. Dissing him is still considered taboo, even though he's chosen a steady string of garbage projects. Had the joke ended at Norbit, though—a 2007 movie that’s thought to have lost him the Oscar for Dreamgirls—it wouldn’t have been great. Too dated. It was the tying in of Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill, and then the image of the two of them performing the various characters in The Help under several pounds of latex and drag, that nudged the joke into relevancy. And then the “masters of disguise” button at the end, which was just the right amount of snide.

Hit Points: 4
I’m sure even Murphy pokes fun at Norbit. If he doesn’t, he should. But there was some underlying edge here, in the way Ricky patronizingly dismissed the actors' work.

Net Damage: 3
No one was going to repeat this joke the next day at work (except me, I guess). It’s really just standard monologue fare.


“They actually gave me a list of rules. I'm going to ignore them, but I thought it would be good to read them out. This is real, okay??

No profanity. That's fine. I've got a huge vocabulary. No nudity. See, that's a shame. Because I've got a huge ... vocabulary. But a tiny penis. No, no. Doesn't matter. It works. Don't worry about it. It's fine. And I'm not to libel anyone. And I must not mention Mel Gibson this year. Not his private life, his politics, his recent films, and especially not Jodie Foster's Beaver.

I haven't seen it myself. I have spoken to a lot of guys here, they haven't seen it either. That doesn't mean it's not any good.”


Skill Points: 8
This was arguably an easy take on a joke that’s been made thousands of times before about a movie no one has seen. I mean, the movie is called The Beaver and was directed by Jodie Foster. Is no one going to make that joke? No, obviously everyone is. However! The joke had never been made on a world stage in front of the biggest stars on the planet. Plus, hadn’t most of us forgotten that movie even existed? So Ricky gets points just for doing it. But then, after getting the okay sign from Foster (who looked great), Ricky actually pushed things into ballsy territory, basically outing Foster through his use of the word “guys.” Last year, he referred to certain, nameless Scientologists as being the “complete opposite” of heterosexuals pretending to be gay. But the actors he meant, and we all know who they are, weren’t in the room. Jodie was right in front of him. It was enough to earn a look of deep annoyance from Elton John, who was craning his neck, presumably to see how Foster was handling the moment.

Points off for the references to Ricky's own genitalia, however. Ewww.

Hit Points: 5
Not particularly mean-spirited, but definitely not a moment Foster wanted played out in front of the world. Still, it’s 2012 and high time she came out, already.

Net Damage: 3
What this boils down too is really just free publicity for The Beaver. I’m sure Jodie slept soundly last night.


“But the Golden Globes aren't just about movies. It also celebrates the best in TV as well. New shows like the amazing Homeland. And returning shows like Boardwalk Empire. I love that show. It's great. It's about a load of immigrants who came to America about 100 years ago and they got involved in bribing and corruption and they worked their way up into high society. But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press.

I'm joking. I love them and they're good sports for inviting me back. What I didn't know is they do an awful lot for charity and their non-profit organization. Just like NBC.”


Skill Points: 7
I am actually a big fan of HFPA-bashing, seeing as they are a truly freakish and secretive collection of bizarre-looking geriatrics whose writing no one has actually read; but because of the Globes, they are treated in Hollywood like royal dignitaries. Also, NBC-bashing never gets old, right? It’s like comfort food at this point.

Hit Points: 5
An unambiguous accusation of corruption and bribery leveled against the evening’s hosts and voting body deserves some kind of recognition.

Net Damage: 5
While the Globes will exist for eons, long after the HFPA members are dead (which should be sometime this week), I still think Ricky has done some irreparable damage to them by repeatedly calling out their shadiness on their big night. Kudos for that.


To Johnny Depp: “I have a question for you, and be honest: Are you on recreational drugs? No, I’m just joking, and we all know the answer. Are you ready? Have you seen The Tourist yet?”

Skill Points: 9
A great, funny moment, gutsily played out without warning. I don’t know if Depp’s answer (“Uh...uh, no.”) was honest or if he was just playing along, but either way, he's a champ.

Hit Points: 2
It’s The Tourist. Who cares?

Net Damage: 2
See above. Still, funny! Definitely funny.


What did you think of this year's ceremony? How do you think Ricky did as host?

Comments (21)
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Didn't watch the Globes but I don't watch Idol or Miss America either. lol I don't know Ricky much so can't really judge his performance. I was never into the song and dance gimmick Billy Crystal and others used to do. I agree about winners rant too long and it is usually winners I have never heard of or annoying. lol or can't get past their cleavage butt dress to concentrate on the speech.
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I think he was funny, I wished he would have had a lot more time on stage. Loved his ending line about them all enjoying their gifts and the luxury and then pointing out that there's a recession going on.
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while so many jokes were huge miss...the Johnny Depp joke was funny for those who know him. he's famously told everyone he never watched his own movies
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well he announced "the next presenter is the queen of pop" and then returned to elton john and said "no, not you elton".. well I chuckled but it was mean:)
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- I was a little disappointed, but not entirely. We're comparing this performance to last year's and that's why it's a little underwhelming.

- I would have preferred an unrestrained Ricky Gervais. Some of the nominations were puzzling and needed to be ridiculed. A couple of Glee jokes maybe. A few more insults hurled at NBC would have hit the spot (they got off easy).

- As a host, he did a pretty decent job. People are disappointed because the whole night was completely non-controversial. If Gervais had been ultra-nasty, we would be commenting about how the man has no soul and deserves a special place in hell. There's no middle ground here.
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I thought he was funny. I thin he started weakly with the wave of expectation and got better at the end of the night when he was more himself....



My favourite bits were the Colin Firth - Racism and the Banderas and Hayek 'can't understand a word they said'. It was a difficult gig, but the atmosphere seemed more relaxed than last year and i think that was a good thing.



I just wish winners would stop just reeling off names (do that on your twitter page instead) zzzzzzz
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Disappointing... I was hoping it would be more like last year's, which I loved. Couple of funny bits, but Ricky was too well behaved.
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At least in text, these jokes really don't seem funny or that insulting to anyone. Really, Kim Kardashian? Who doesn't crack jokes about her? I think it was touched on in this article, but I guess it's because he doesn't do standard setup-punchline jokes, but rather just ramblings in a monologue.



I'm assuming they seemed funnier when watching on TV... unfortunately, I didn't bother watching the Globes.
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I love it, love it, love it. Amazingly, Gervais has all the people that bashed him last year, PLUS the people that defended him saying that "he wasn't shocking enough" this time around. And damn it if Gervais is not clever enough to have made that part of the joke.



If he made a bet that he'd not just host the Globes again and again insult the hosts, the room and everybody else he felt like it, but he'd also get everyone to ask him to push it further, he's having free dinner right now.
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Did you catch his last line about how he hoped the goodies bag and the champagne took their minds off the recession for a while? Not haha funny, but subtle, sarcastic British humour nevertheless.

Overall I liked his presentation... He's very entertaining and he does not really care if they like him or not.
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It's weird, I laughed at nearly every joke he made, yet I still came away disappointed. I suppose it was unrealistic of me to hope for an even more controversial performance than last year. Even the audience seemed more prepared and nonchalant about the whole thing (with the exception of Elton John). All in all, he was definitely funny, with some really good jokes (Jodie Foster's Beaver was a highlight), I just wish he would have gone for the jugular a bit more.
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I was really disappointed in the presenters... most really lacked charisma. Then W.H. Macy and Felicity Huffman did that 30 second song and it was WOW... They need to do that more often. A couple of the pairings stood out, but the others - very drabbbbb.
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I had almost the exact the same reaction, as I knew the hollywood people would be prepared for whatever Rick had up his sleeve. It was probably because of this that I didn't find him as controversial. As far as how funny he was, I can't tell. Last year was more "Oh my god, I can't believe he just said that" humor than this year. Controversy aside, did you find him funnier last year or this year?
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Like Kurt Sutter said on twitter, people will never be pleased. People hated him last year for being too mean, and now people seem to be hating on him for being too tame. What exactly do people want?
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The people on twitter didn't hate him last year - didn't the public adore him? It was people working in Hollywood who didn't like it. God forbid we should not all be falling at their feet in supplication.
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He definitely didn't get bashed like he is now. You are right, the hollywood folk were the main ones who didn't like him last year, but I remember a bunch of people around the web didn't like him either. I guess it's better to be controversial than boring, which he wasn't, but compared to last year he was.
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It's well known that Depp doesn't watch his own movies.
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I really liked Rickys presentation this year. Maybe even more than last years. I think it was clever thing not to try to top last years gig with more insults both in quality and quantity. If you go that path there will eventually come a point were you basically have to swear at everybody and i don't think thats something even Ricky would like. The jokes were all perfectly tolerable but not without edge. His comedic skills and timing are impeccable.

I thought this Jodi Foster thing was already out in the open and i tend to keep informed about the sexual orientation of my Hollywood stars.
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It would have been hard to catch everyone off guard this year with controversial jokes, so I thought he was solid.



Loved the moment where he paused mid-joke, while some of the audience was gasping to say "I don't care."
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TNT Latin America did the live broadcast in my country, they didnt censor the F word Ricky used when talking about Banderas and Hayek LOL
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I found him to be good fun, some very good jokes, but I would've expected him to try to be more controversial than last time, but, like you said, it seemed that he went with some safer jokes, although the way he delivers them and the way they're phrased still made them really funny, so I'd say he did really well
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