We’d be remiss, we suppose, if we didn’t provide a forum to discuss last night’s Golden Globes—and specifically the question of whether, as some have suggested, host Ricky Gervais went “too far” by openly joking about the sorts of topics which are openly joked about ad nauseam on the Internet. While Gervais’ digs at absent easy targets such as Charlie Sheen and Hugh Hefner (including Gervais miming a gag-inducing handjob that totally cracked up Robert De Niro) seemed to go over okay, his other shocking insinuations—that certain Scientologists may actually be gay, that Cher is old, that The Tourist was sort of shitty and only nominated to get Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the room, and that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a possibly payola-influenced body of incorrigible suck-ups whose presence is only barely tolerated as an excuse for celebrities to get drunk on their dime—well, all of these apparently left some in the room “palpably discomfited,” to borrow the L.A. Times’ delicate phrasing.
Of course, there are many (we at The A.V. Club included) who think Gervais did everything he was supposed to—namely, act like a comedian whose entire persona is based around being bluntly honest, a scorched-earth, mass "burn" that the Globes even hinted at in its advertisements. Nevertheless, it seemed to chafe, sort of, people like Bruce Willis (whom Gervais introduced as “Ashton Kutcher’s dad”) and Robert Downey Jr. (whom Gervais said was known for his appearances in “the Betty Ford Clinic and the L.A. County Jail”), prodding Downey to not only joke, sort of, on stage that he felt the show was “hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones,” but also to later elaborate, “I think it's great to be funny, but it's just better if you can do it without hurting people.” (Yeah, why you want to hurt Tim Allen, Ricky Gervais? Hopefully he can find some solace in co-starring in the most successful animated film series of all time, and maybe go home and hug his body pillow made out of money.)
Anyway, Gervais himself obviously doesn’t have any problem with Gervais’ performance, telling Deadline, “For three hours every year, Hollywood is scared to death of me. It's great.” And although conspiracy theories abound as to whether Gervais’ reduced screen time in the second half of the ceremony was the result of a backstage dressing-down, Gervais says that never happened—and he certainly didn’t pull any more punches upon his return, even ensuring that the very last word spoken at this year’s Globes was his thanking God for making him an atheist. Naturally, some have already begun hyperbolically characterizing the whole thing as Gervais committing career suicide, and while it’s highly unlikely he’ll host the Globes again (“No comment,” said HFPA President Phillip Berk, whom Gervais joked during the show needed his help to get “off the toilet and pop his teeth back in”), obviously declaring that it will lead to the end of Gervais in Hollywood is a bit ridiculous. The only all-but-guaranteed result is that next year’s Globes will likely be much, much duller.