I thought Ricky Gervais was a lovely host for the Golden Globes. I was expecting him to be on more, and for his jokes to be more cutting, but I thought he found a nice balance of respect, self-deprecating humor, drunkenness, and the odd bit where he actually took a celebrity down a notch. One of the most notable times was when he was introducing Mel Gibson, more than half-way through the show. Ricky, who was drinking beer at the podium, confessed to the audience that he’d had “a couple” of beers, and then he remarked, “I’m not going to lie to you, I hope I’ve not offended anyone — It’s not my fault. I like a drink as much as the next man, unless the next man is Mel Gibson!” To Mel’s credit, he took it in stride, smiling at Ricky and acting pretend-drunk for a second, showing that he can take a joke, thank God.
The other moment that seemed to draw groans and gasps was when Ricky made a reference to Sir Paul McCartney’s divorce from Heather Mills. Ricky pointed out McCartney in the audience and said: “We actually came over on the same flight. I didn’t get to speak to him because I was up the front in first class. He was behind me in coach. Saving money. He spent an awful lot last year.” When people groaned, Ricky defended himself: “I don’t think we have to feel too sorry for him. He’s doing alright.” I didn’t think McCartney looked too thrilled with that joke, honestly. He also looked a little pissed that he lost the “Best Song” to T-Bone Burnett and the song from Crazy Heart.
What other good jokes were there? I liked the one about Colin Farrell: “One stereotype I hate is that all Irishmen are just drunk, swearing hell raisers. Please welcome Colin Farrell.” I liked this one too: “Just looking at all the faces here reminds me of the great work that’s been done this year… by cosmetic surgeons. You all look great.”
Ricky also took a funny hit at Angelina Jolie, who wasn’t there last night: “Actors aren’t just loved here in Hollywood, they’re loved the world over because they’re recognizable. You can be in the Third World and you get a glimpse of a Hollywood star and it makes you feel better. You can be a little child, a little Asian child, with no possessions, no money – but you see a picture of Angelina Jolie and you think, ‘Mummy!’” Another notable joke was at Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston’s expense (who seemed to be there together?), when Ricky said something about actors wanting to be chameleons and then introduced Aniston and Butler as “Rachel from Friends and the guy from 300.” Fair hit, in my opinion, but both Gerard and Jennifer looked peeved.
There were penis jokes and Jay Leno jokes, and surprisingly, no Clooney jokes. Clooney is usually a favorite of hosts, especially on the Oscars, so I wonder why Ricky didn’t go after him? All in all, I thought Ricky did well, and it’s nice to the Globes with a host – they haven’t had one in forever. The official critics are giving Ricky mixed reviews, though. So… he probably won’t be back.