Ricky Gervais Defends His Golden Globes Jokes: 'I Don't Think I Was Nasty'

Ricky Gervais The Ellen DeGeneres Show H 2012
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

As Ricky Gervais gears up for his third Golden Globes hosting stint, the British comic is busy simultaneously promoting the show and instilling fear into the Hollywood players who may be targeted during the Jan. 15 broadcast.

In an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, slated to air on Thursday, Jan. 12, Gervais explains why he signed on yet again as host, after repeatedly insisting that he would not return, and defends himself against critics of his 2011 performance.

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“The reason I said yes the first time was because I was very flattered. It was a huge global audience for a comedian. I like writing jokes. That’s what I do,” he says. “The reason I did it the second time was I thought I could improve on the first. Which, I think I did.  I wasn’t going to do it again, but there were loads of people in the press saying I’d never be invited back, and that’s why I said yes.”

Asked whether he was surprised by the rampant criticism following last year’s show, Gervais explains: “I knew what I was doing. It’s the same as stand up. I know where the gasps are going to come.  I know when the laughs are going to come…I knew all that. I didn’t think the press would…I mean you usually have to kill someone to get that many columnists.  They were still talking about it so I was shocked at the reaction. Yeah, yeah, I was.”

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While the man behind The Office has gone on record stating that he has “Final edit on everything” and that “They don’t know what I’m gonna say till I say it” (via an interview with Matt Lauer on Dateline), The Hollywood Reporter recently learned that Gervais will, indeed, run through his script with members of the HFPA, producers from Dick Clark Productions and top NBC execs just days before the telecast -- all of whom will have opportunity to request changes to his act.

It should be noted, however, that Gervais is also free to ad-lib as much as he wants once the cameras begin rolling in the Beverly Hilton.

Last year, Gervais made headlines for targeting Bruce Willis, Robert Downey Jr. and HFPA president Philip Berk during his appearance.

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“I don’t think I was nasty,” Gervais recalled. “If they saw my stand-up, their heads would explode.”

“People say, ‘Is there anything you shouldn’t joke about?’ I don’t think there is,” he continued. “I just think it depends what the joke is. Comedy comes from either a good or a bad place and I was just teasing them, ya know.  It wasn’t a room full of wounded soldiers. These are the richest most privileged people in the world.”