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Ricky Gervais says he was overly ambitious in his gig hosting 2010’s Golden Globe Awards but felt he nailed his jokes the following year when he stirred controversy by brutally — or hilariously, depending on whom you ask — mocking stars from Angelina Jolie to Robert Downey Jr. to Charlie Sheen.
“I got it a bit wrong I think the first time,” Gervais, who returns to host the Globes Jan. 15, told Matt Lauer in a Today show interview. “I tried too hard with the schtick, the comedy, and I should have just gone out there and done zingers, I think, because the attention span of someone at an award show, particularly the Golden Globe, is about a second.”
He added: “They’re drinkin’, they’re talkin’, they’re seein’ someone. You know, you’ve gotta grab their attention. … They’re there to see if they’ve won an award, but they don’t wanna see this guy come out and telling jokes. Certainly not jokes at their expense.”
In 2011, Gervais poked fun at Jolie for the below-expectations performance of 2010’s The Tourist, with whom she starred alongside Johnny Depp, and also teased Downey Jr. about his his past history of drug use, introducing the actor with this bon mot: “But many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail.” (Downey Jr. said on stage: “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”)
“I don’t know what I did wrong really — what did I say that was untrue? I made a joke suggesting that Charlie Sheen might like a night out,” noted Gervais. “I said that Robert Downey Jr. spent some time in clinics. He did. I’m not judging him by that. It’s a joke.”
If award attendees think he’s going to tone down his act the third time around, be warned: Gervais said he has free reign to say whatever he wants, without restriction.
“The controversy is irrelevant to me,” he said. “That’s people’s opinions outside my jokes. I do it my way. I have final edit on everything. .. And they won’t know what I’m going to say. And they don’t know what I’m going to say until I say it.”
Still, backlash over his 2011 performance stung. “What really tipped the balance was all those people who said I’d never be invited back,” he admitted.
Gervais, who’s recently been in a Twitter war with Christian fundamendalists, was asked back to the Globes in November following a vote by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. NBC and Dick Clark Productions had argued that re-hiring the acid-tongued Gervais would boost ratings for the telecast.
But before giving the greenlight, the HPFA and its PR firm undertook a casual survey of talent publicists, which revealed that the A-list film and TV talent would certainly return for another Gervais-hosted ceremony.
“I’ve never really succumbed to peer pressure,” he said. “And this feeds into my humor. I deal in taboo subjects for that reason …. Not only am I fascinated with them, but I like to take the audience to places that it hasn’t been before. Otherwise, what’s the point? There’s enough anodyne comedy out there. And I like that feeling of — no harm can come with dealing with taboos. You know, they are taboo because people don’t deal with them.”
See video of his Today interview below.
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