Ricky Gervais once said one should never do a third encore. But that is exactly what he did last night, returning for a third consecutive year to host the Golden Globes 2012. He was undoubtedly tamer this year, if not completely tamed. So, was it a mistake for Ricky to return to the Globes to poke fun at Hollywood’s elite in the hope of establishing himself once again as the bad boy of comedy?
Last year’s ceremony was quite literally breathtaking, leaving one gasping at Gervais’ audacity. But this year, he surely fell short of his own standard of controversy.
Jabbing at Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber while leaving Madonna, George Clooney and Elton John to escape unscathed felt like shooting fish in a barrel.
“The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton – a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought.”
This second encore for Ricky Gervais wasn’t a disaster, but it surely could be seen as a mistake.
Thankfully, he didn’t make the mistake of trying to be more shocking than last year, which would probably be just as wrong. But last year he hit the nail bang on. His jokes were relevant, and wickedly funny.
But if Gervais always planned to tone down his act for this year’s Golden Globes, why did he take the gig at all?
Sure there were jokes. But couldn’t we have predicted his swipe at Eddie Murphy for stepping down as the host of the Oscars? If not, surely we could have foreseen the smutty comments about Jodie Foster and beaver.
“I haven’t seen it myself. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys here, they haven’t seen it either. But that doesn’t mean it’s not any good.”
With the best will in the world, Ricky is not the slickest presenter or gag-man. It is his willingness and ability to push the limits and say the apparently unsay-able that sets him apart.
Gervais’ brand of humor makes a welcome change from the usual back-slapping, corn-fest and tearful speeches of most of Hollywood’s awards season. So if he’s going to become all establishment and tell jokes the whole room will happily laugh along at, is his position as controversial host undermined? Because that’s the only thing that got him the gig.