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Ricky Gervais will not be on hand Sunday as Amy Poehler and Tina Fey take over a role he has played for the past three years: host of the Golden Globes.
“I enjoyed the last three years immensely,” Gervais noted of his controversial stint as the award show’s emcee, adding with his famous smirk: “To be the most feared man in Hollywood for three hours was such fun.”
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Gervais — who has to turn his attention to The Muppets sequel, which begins filming next week — is still seemingly astonished by the amount of press attention his no holds barred hosting style garnered. “Usually you have to murder someone to get that many column inches,” he quipped.
The comments came during his time before the Television Critics Association Wednesday, where he was on hand to peddle his Netflix-distributed comedy series Derek, in which The Office and Extras creator plays a slow-but-sweet nursing home employee named Derek Noakes. The show, which also stars An Idiot Abroad’s Karl Pilkington, bowed as a special last spring before getting picked up to series by Channel 4 in the U.K.; in the fall, Netflix announced that it would host the series for U.S. viewers.
Already, Derek has drawn criticism from some disabled advocates, who argue that the mentally ill are being mocked, but Gervais suggests that this series has a sweetness that his previous efforts lacked. “It’s a show about kindness and forgotten people… as strange and quirky as it may seem, it’s a quite classic format of sitcom,” he continued, noting that while this series will feature flawed characters and the kind of existentialism of The Office and Extras, he has shifted away from the media focus employed in many of his other works because he has “gotten the swipes at fame” out of his system.
“The risk is people not watching it, and making assumptions,” he explained of a project he claims he hasn’t been this excited about since the original Office. “Some people don’t get it and some people don’t like it… Hopefully, there will be enough people who find it.”
Whatever the ratings or critical response, Derek is as Gervais’ wanted it, as the multi-hyphenate acknowledged that he demands (and is granted) final edit at this stage of his career. “If it isn’t all yours,” he said, “there’s no fun in it for me.“
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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