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Monday, January 6, 2020
Ricky Gervais Kills At Golden Globes*
The buzz this morning on the interwebs is about Ricky Gervais and his politically incorrect monologue at the Golden Globes. If like me, you are dimly aware of the Golden Globes but haven’t watched an awards show since the turn of the century, you can catch Gervais’ surprisingly funny bit on NBC’s YouTube feed here without having to sit through the whole three-hour ordeal.
The camera panning the audience showed uncomfortable laughter as Gervais kicked off his routine by insulting the Hollywood Foreign Press, which sponsors the Golden Globes, saying that most of the group’s members “can barely speak English and they have no idea what Twitter is.”
“Let’s have a laugh at your expense,” Gervais said. “Remember: They’re just jokes, we’re all going to die soon, and there is no sequel.”
Gervais touched on a number of taboo topics from Felicity Huffman, the “Desperate Housewives” actress sentenced to 14 days in jail in the college entrance exam cheating scandal, who allegedly made the license plate for Gervais’ limo, to a Jeffrey Epstein-did-not-kill-himself reference.
“Shut up. I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care,” Gervais retorted as some members of the audience groaned.
One of my favorite lines was Gervais’ claim that “We were going to do an ‘in memoriam’ this year, but when I saw the list of people that had died, it wasn’t diverse enough.”
“It was mostly white people and I thought ‘nah,'” he continued. “Not on my watch. Maybe next year. Let’s see what happens.”
Other topics included the triumph of Netflix over traditional Hollywood studios and the proliferation of sequels and remakes. Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the movie “Cats” were singled out for roasting.
It was a joke at the expense of “Cats” and Dame Judi Dench that got Gervais bleeped. We won’t repeat it here but you can watch the bleep for yourself at 6:00 on the Youtube link.
A moment that will win Gervais conservative fans was when he took celebrities to task for claiming to be woke while working for companies that ran “sweatshops” or were similarly unprogressive.
“If you do win an award to tonight,” Gervais advised the A-listers, “Don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spend less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”
Of course, Republicans will applaud the line but it won’t stop them from reveling the next time that Kanye West wears a MAGA hat.
It was at this point, 7:28 on the video, that Tom Hanks became a new meme. Hanks, with pursed lips and looking down, would fit right in with the subjects of an older meme titled “how to tell if your dog is involved in a sex scandal.” You’ll be seeing a lot of this picture of Hanks over the next few days.
In these closing remarks, Gervais is bleeped again as he tells the celebs to accept their awards and get off the blankety-blank stage.
I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, but I have appreciated much of his work over the years. After watching the US version of “The Office,” I even tried to watch Gervais’ original British version on Netflix. To be honest, it was almost incomprehensible and I gave up after one or two episodes. After that, I stuck to his roles in American movies such as “Night At The Museum”
Accent aside, Gervais is a funny guy and the truth bombs that he hurled into the Golden Globes were refreshing if slightly off-color. He may be skewered by the left and the comedy police, but, as he said at the beginning, “This is the last time I’m hosting these awards so I don’t care anymore. I’m joking, I never did.”
Comedy is inherently offensive on some level. Someone or something has to be the butt of the joke. Today, we’ve forgotten how to take a joke and it’s killing comedy. The right likes to point to the left here, but, in reality, it’s both sides. Donald Trump is inherently funny and mockable but just try to make fun of him around right-leaners and see what the reaction is.
Jokes also have to have a grain of truth to be funny. Too much of today’s humor, especially political humor, is tribalism masked as comedy. On the left, the punchline of many jokes is nothing more than “f-ck Trump” while the right responds with “Pelosi is crazy” or “Biden is a pedophile.” These alleged attempts at humor please the members of the tribe but are not actually funny.
Ricky Gervais proved in his monologue that comedy still exists in this PC, tribal world. He showed that it’s possible to be genuinely funny while being politically incorrect and without being obscene. Well, mostly.
This morning, as we laugh at Gervais skewering the Hollywood elite, let’s remember that tomorrow it may be our turn. If it is, let’s get off our high horses and laugh at ourselves as we are admonishing Hollywood to do today. It’s easy to have a laugh at someone else’s expense but much harder to laugh when the joke is on you.