Ricky Gervais is fond of predicting just how unpredictable he might be as host of the Golden Globes ceremony. "I get final edit on everything," he told Matt Lauer on NBC's Dateline recently. "They don't know what I'm gonna say till I say it."
Turns out that's not completely true. Gervais does have an unusual degree of freedom over his monologue and other prepared bits, but sources say the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is requiring that Gervais turn over a script for the show a few days before the Jan. 15 telecast. And the comic will rehearse his jokes the day before the show in front of members of the HFPA, producers from Dick Clark Productions and top NBC execs, all of whom will have an opportunity to request changes to his act.
Of course, once the cameras are rolling and Hollywood's top film and television stars are assembled in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, Gervais is free to ad-lib as much as he wants. But at least one source who saw last year's rehearsal says nearly all of the harsh jokes that made headlines -- the jabs at Robert Downey Jr.'s time in rehab and jail and referring to Bruce Willis as "Ashton Kutcher's dad" -- were part of the rehearsal.
NBC also will present the live event with a five-second tape delay to bleep any expletives or other unwanted digressions. Producers know, however, that Gervais' unpredictable humor is precisely why they brought him back for a third stint as host. Globes ratings were flat last year at about 17 million viewers, but many expect that number to jump this time thanks to the Gervais buzz from his 2011 performance.
"You can't muzzle him," says an HFPA spokesperson, "and I don't think anybody has any desire to muzzle him."
GLOBES TICKETS SELLING FOR $9,000: Didn't make the Golden Globes guest list this year? No problem. Tickets to the Jan. 15 ceremony and afterparties at the Beverly Hilton are popping up on broker websites -- much to the chagrin of official organizers. Sources say HFPA lawyers are investigating at least three ticket-broker websites and an advertiser on Craigslist that have been selling tickets, though some of the offers have been removed after complaints. Tickets to the Globes were priced by at least one site at a hefty $9,000 per, while admission to parties thrown by NBCUniversal and InStyle/Warner Bros., among others, cost a relatively cheap $3,000. It is unclear how the sellers got the tickets -- one source wonders whether HFPA members could be hawking the passes themselves -- but the organization, as well as those throwing parties, say such sales are not legal and that attendees will be required to produce a photo ID to gain admission. Says a spokesman for the InStyle/Warners party, "We are looking into the situation and are prepared to take whatever action is necessary." -- A.B.B.