Monday, January 18, 2010

Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes

Watched the Golden Globes last night, and was really looking forward to Ricky Gervais's hosting. I've absolutely enjoyed his The Office, and the few episodes of Extras were also wonderful. He always plays an overly self-confident character, whose character flaw becomes his hubris, leading to his tragic demise (in The Office) and likely in Extras, too - but I haven't watched enough of it to make such an assertion.

Anyhow - he started off the show with some outstanding material. His jokes about the plastic surgeries and 24 were bang-on. I was laughing all the way through. He only had a few moments in the spot light, unfortunately. While some of his material might have been viewed as tasteless, at least he had the ca-hones to say it right to the faces of the stars about him.

Specifically, his stuff at Paul McCartney and Mel Gibson were the funniest things I've ever heard, especially considering Paul McCartney was on screen listening to the joke, defenseless. He looked almost naked with shock. And Mel Gibson, well, he took it as nicely as he could have. It was low-brown, but hilarious.

Even when he wasn't making fun of the celebrities about him, he was making light of the fact that they're basically useless meat-sacks that make their living pretending to be people of importance. When introducing Jennifer Anniston and Gerard Butler, he didn't even use their names, just "Rachel from Friends and that bloke from 300." Immensley enjoyable - the same disregard for celebrity that you know and love from South Park, except this is right at the Golden Globes, right in their own faces. I really enjoyed that.

Ricky's joke at McCartney's expense prompted Tom Hanks to come out and admit, hey, you've got to have a sense of humour. But it was A+ material. My only regret is that he really only outed McCartney and Gibson - who else did he take shots at? I felt toward the end that the producers were keeping him off stage - after the Gibson gag, he was hardly on the air. And his last bit seemed contrived, like he was instructed to stop telling jokes and just move the show from presenter to presenter. He pulled punches for Mickey Rourke (which I'm sure he wasn't planning) and then wound the show up with the ol' Steve Martin joke: If I could only have one wish segment.

Dumb-ass Brian Logan (who doesn't like Ricky Gervais?) didn't like his performance. He was upset that there weren't more anti-Semitic jokes about Mel Gibson?
Joking about Mel Gibson's drinking is one thing – but off the leash, ­Gervais would surely make hay with Gibson's anti-Semitism too.That, alas, is never going to happen at an event as stage-managed as the Globes – nor from a man as palpably delighted to be a Hollywood insider as Gervais. Yet there were at least glimpses of Gervais at his gadfly best.
"Alas," I stand by "dumb-ass."

Gervais' jokes fall flat:
[I]n mocking the glitterati of Hollywood's glamour stars, NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Gervais simply "bit the hand that feeds him", wrote the New York Daily News.

"When will he learn that his spoof self-absorption is as obnoxious as the real thing?" the Guardian asked.

"In future, Gervais should stick to poking fun at these sorts of events from the sidelines rather than being an official spokesman," blogged one Telegraph writer.

These people are absolutely mistaken. Hollywood stars lining up to be praised in front of one another is absolutely ridiculous. The most sincere speech I heard all night was from Meryl Streep who knows exactly what she's talking about when she said (and I paraphrase): I'm just a conduit that helps tell the stories of amazing women, this does not make me an amazing woman. This realization in fact does make her an amazing person, I would argue, and more worthy of praise than the bunch of them. [Matt Damon, cough, and his stupid anti-dinosaur rant during the 2009 Presidential Election is a great example of dumb celebs stepping over the line of being actually important vs. thinking that they're important].
Canada's National Post praised him for "hitting the ground running" but lamented his lack of stage-time.
I agree - I wanted more Ricky the whole time. Not nearly enough jokes embarrassing the stars in attendance. There was a great joke about Angelina Jolie adopting African children (mistakenly called "Asian") that was well done.

The most classic moments were when he knew his jokes were of particularly poor taste, when he'd cover his mouth and grin, knowing full well he shouldn't say what he was about to say, and then said it. Cheeky, would be the best word for it.

I liked it. Bring him back next year, give him more air time, and put more celebrities in the line of fire!

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