Ricky Gervais says the reaction to his Golden Globes performance was the “best ever”.
The comedian and animal activist has thanked everyone for their “amazing comments” following his pull-no-punches opening monologue.
While we don’t know whether the comments he mentioned were praising or critical, the Globes host followed up this morning by rhetorically asking Twitter how teasing “the richest and most privileged people in the world” could be considered right-wing.
That’s after he came out swinging in Monday’s Golden Globes ceremony in Los Angeles, calling out “hypocrite” celebrities.
He gave celebrities a warning
Gervais, returning for a fifth (and “final”) time as Golden Globes host, let rip with expletive-filled jokes about diversity in the entertainment business, the rise of streaming, and actors who use their time at the winners’ podium to make political speeches.
“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech.
“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world.”
He used jokes about Felicity Huffman, Jeffrey Epstein, and the irony of Apple producing series that champion doing the right thing, to illustrate the hypocrisy of Hollywood.
That last joke was made extra juicy because Apple CEO Tim Cook was sitting in the audience.
Tim Cook smiled nervously throughout the joke
Gervais called the reaction the ‘best ever’
Punters seemed to love Gervais telling winners not to use their speech to lecture the masses.
Here are some of the positive reactions:
@DougStanhope: Just watched @rickygervais opening for some dumb award show. Not only did he kill it, but if you watch the stars in the audience to see who laughs or doesn’t, you can tell who the douchebags really are. #MostAre #GoldenGlobes
@AlanaKStewart: Some liberal Hyd. actor always has to make it about politics and ruin it for those of us who would just like to watch a show about entertainment. Just turned it off. #GoldenGlobes
@Spurs_K8: I have never been prouder to be British, that’s our @rickygervais you pompous Hollywood twats! Best one of the five! Special mention to Joaquin Phoenix for also calling out the bullshit – “maybe don’t take the private jet to Palm Springs?!” Brilliant! #GoldenGlobes
Of course, some winners didn’t listen (or didn’t care).
Patricia Arquette warned of the potential conflict brewing between the US and Iran, Michelle Williams emphasised the need for a woman’s right to choose, and Joaquin Phoenix wanted people to get serious about climate change and not to “take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards”.
Gervais’s barbs drew some awkward laughter and unamused looks from some Hollywood glitterati in the room, such as Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Eddie Murphy and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Jaws were dropped
Eyebrows were raised
Some are calling for Gervais to come back for a sixth time hosting next year. Some even want him back every year.
But for now, that seems unlikely.
“Thanks for all your amazing comments about my Golden Globes monologue. Best reaction ever and that means a lot to me,” Gervais tweeted after the ceremony.
“I had a blast but thank f*** it’s over, so I can get back to my real job of editing #AfterLife2 and touring #SuperNature. Make Jokes, Not War.
Here’s what the reviewers said:
Some critiqued Gervais on his low energy:
- USA Today called him “boring”
- Variety called his efforts “tame”, saying he “made a point of emphasising just how little he cared about the show”
- Deadlines called his performance “weakly cheeky rather than cutting”
- LA Times called him flippant, adding that it wished the comedian “had been brave enough to drop the tired agitator shtick and, for once, read the room”
Others were more positive, with many on social media praising the comedian for his willingness to address controversial topics.
- Forbes’ Erin Kain said Gervais “kills it”
But there’s no doubt his performance was a hit with the right:
- Fox News host Greg Gutfeld applauded Gervais’s “middle finger” to Hollywood.
- Conservative British broadcaster Piers Morgan said he “delivered a glorious kick in the globes to Hollywood’s woke, virtue-signalling hypocrites”
- Dan Gainor, also of Fox News, called it “the comeuppance that ‘woke’ celebrities deserved, but weren’t able to prepare for enough”
James Poniewozik from the New York Times pointed out that Gervais didn’t care about the Globes so much that he hosted them for the fifth time. That he was there to be the “nihilist in chief”
@nytimes: “It was sometimes uncomfortable, but not especially daring,” writes @poniewozik about Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes on Sunday. “He and everyone knew why he was there: to administer Hollywood a mostly consensual lashing.” https://nyti.ms/39EnJPf
The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber pointed out that Gervais told celebrities not to lecture about politics … as he lectured about politics.
@TheAtlantic “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything,” lectured Ricky Gervais to the Golden Globes crowd last night. @skornhaber on the kind of awards-show political speeches that might matter: http://on.theatln.tc/dReDpM9
When did award shows get political? Let’s take a look back over the years
Maybe they always were.
Documentarian Michael Moore was both booed and cheered when he used his 2003 Oscars speech to criticise then-US president George Bush for his “fictitious” war in Iraq.
And in more recent memory there was #JeSuisCharlie in 2015 and #AskHerMore in 2016.
But political calls to action in award show acceptance speeches seem to have become much more frequent following the 2016 election of US President Donald Trump.
At the 2017 Golden Globes, Meryl Streep made a reference to Mr Trump in her acceptance speech.
After congratulating the “many, many powerful performances” from her peers that year, she said there was one performance in particular that “stunned” her — and not in a good way.
“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back.”
Streep pointed out the need to “safeguard the truth” at a time when the term “fake news” was becoming common vernacular.
She didn’t even have to call the president out by name, but it still elicited a response from the US leader himself.
Twitter: “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..”
Twitter: “Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him…….”
Twitter: “”groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!”
The criticism of the President continued at the Oscars a month later, where there were jokes, passionate speeches, and a low-key red carpet protest against the Government’s travel ban.
Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga was among the attendees to wear a blue ribbon in support of the American Civil Liberties Union, which took an issue with Mr Trump’s travel ban and comments about the press. (AP Jordan Strauss)
In 2018, the Golden Globes was dominated by the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Attendees wore Time’s Up badges to show their support for the movement, and celebrities such as Amy Poehler, Michelle Williams and Susan Sarandon brought along activists as their plus one.
“Time’s up” was the recurring slogan that year, with most speeches hammering home a message that men would no longer dominate the entertainment world. We got more of that message at the Oscars a month or so later. Then again at the 2019 Golden Globes, where people wore black in protest against harassment in Hollywood.