Ricky Gervais took sharp aim at various Hollywood luminaries on the Golden Globes Sunday night, but his remarks this year didn’t seem nearly as biting as ones he made a year earlier, reportedly angering stars such as Robert Downey Jr.
One reason this year’s jokes weren’t as savage: Some of his targets weren’t even there — among them, Eddie Murphy and Kim Kardashian.
Of Kim, Ricky said, “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!”
A better line comparing the Oscars and Golden Globes was this one: “For those of you who don’t know, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars — but without all that esteem!” Ricky said.
On the subject of Eddie Murphy, Ricky made a reference to Murphy’s refusal last fall to host this year’s Oscars, after first saying yes, when producer Brett Ratner, a friend of Murphy’s, was dropped from the telecast. “Who needs the Oscars?” Ricky asked in his monologue opening the “Golden Globes” telecast on NBC. “Not me — and not Eddie Murphy! He walked out on ‘em. He said no. And good for him. But when the man who said yes to ‘Norbit’ says no to you, you know you’re in trouble!”
Then Ricky added Adam Sandler to the mix as he noted how Sandler and Murphy often play multiple roles in their films. “Bit of trivia for you — Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler between them played all the parts in the movie ‘The Help’! They were brilliant! I can’t believe they’re not here!” Certainly, it would have been better for the jokes if they had been in the audience.
Jodie Foster was in attendance, though, and she seemed to take one of Ricky’s routines — delivered at her expense — in stride. It was when Ricky made the most of the title of the movie Foster directed last year that starred her friend, Mel Gibson. The movie was “The Beaver.”
The “Beaver” routine came as Ricky took aim at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that sponsors the Golden Globes. “Now the Hollywood Foreign Press has warned me that if I insult any of them or any of you or offend any viewers or cause any controversy whatsoever, they’ll definitely invite me back next year as well!”
He then read a “list of rules” he said the HFPA gave him. The “rules” included avoiding “smut and innuendo” and any mention of Mel Gibson — two rules he then immediately broke. “I mustn’t mention Mel Gibson this year,” Ricky said, “not his private life, his politics, his recent films, and especially not Jodie Foster’s ‘Beaver’! I haven’t seen it myself,” Ricky said of “The Beaver.” “I spoke with a lot of guys here [and] they haven’t seen it either, but that doesn’t mean it’s not any good!”
Of course, innuendo about beavers, bodily functions and the male sex organ are so commonplace on TV these days — particularly in prime-time sitcoms — that it wasn’t too surprising to hear jokes about those subjects on the Golden Globes. Of course, one could argue that such material has no place on a nationally televised awards show, but that’s an argument that was lost long ago.
As it happened, we counted at least three jokes about penis size — one uttered by Ricky (about his own); another staged by presenters Jane Lynch and Tina Fey when they mentioned Thomas Jane, star of “Hung” on HBO; and yet another from George Clooney. Clooney made his remark when he accepted his Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for “The Descendants” and acknowledged fellow nominee Michael Fassbender’s full-frontal nude scenes in “Shame.” Clooney then appeared to compare Fassbender’s endowment to a golf club.
As for bodily functions, a scene from the movie “Bridesmaids” in which Melissa McCarthy apparently defecates in a sink was mentioned more than once. Well, at least now I’m not sorry I missed “Bridesmaids.”
For many, Ricky’s opening monologue was the principal reason they tuned in to watch the Globes telecast, since his appearance last year made headlines for days. We’ll learn whether he had the desired impact this year when the ratings come in on Monday morning.