Ricky Gervais, as you may remember, hosted the Golden Globes in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Sometime in that three year span was probably the point at which you stopped liking Ricky Gervais. By the end of that run, his reputation for being mean was, for a lot of us, predominant over his reputation for being funny. After the 2012 awards, Gervais swore he’d never host the show again, and when asked if they’d consider having him back, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association simply said “no comment.”
So then why was it announced today that Tina and Amy are done, and the host of the 2016 awards will be— yup— Ricky Gervais? The best awards show hosts are always cutting, making jokes at the expense of the entertainment industry and prominent individuals in it. But to do this well, the hosts need to still be charming and fun and light. To wit:
As a refresher, here are some of Ricky Gervais’ jokes from his time hosting.
—“Also not nominated, I Love You Phillip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.”
—“Many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail. Please welcome Robert Downey Jr.”
—“I’d like to quash this ridiculous rumour going around that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so the Hollywood Foreign Press could hang out with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. That is rubbish. That is not the only reason. They also accepted bribes.” (At the time, the HFPA was actually being sued by a publicist accusing the organization of favoring movies that gave lavish gifts.)
—“What can I say about our next two presenters? The first is an actor, producer, writer and director whose movies have grossed over $3.5 billion at the box office. He’s won two Academy Awards and three Golden Globes for his powerful and varied performances starring in such films as Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Castaway, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan. The other is Tim Allen.”
—“No profanity: That’s fine, I’ve got a huge vocabulary. No nudity: See that’s a shame because I’ve got a huge [pause] vocabulary. But a tiny penis.”
—“Our next presenter is the queen of pop. Not you, Elton. Sit down.”
—“What you don’t know about him is he’s very racist. I mean, really nasty stuff. I’ve also seen him punch a little blind kitten. Please welcome the evil Colin Firth.”
—“I mustn’t mention Mel Gibson this year. Not his private life, his politics, his recent films and especially not Jodie Foster’s 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 good.” (Get it? Lesbian joke. Hilarious, no?)
—“Actors aren’t just loved here in Hollywood, they are loved the world over. You could be in the third world and get a glimpse of a Hollywood star and it could make you feel a little bit better. You could be a little Asian child with no possessions and no money. But you could see a picture of Angelina Jolie and you’d think, ‘Mummy!’”
—“Justin Bieber nearly had to take a paternity test. What a waste of a test that would have been! No, he’s not the father. The only way he could have impregnated a girl is if he borrowed one of Martha Stewart’s old turkey basters … open wide!”
He’s got the ‘biting commentary’ thing down, but when he does it, it’s not light or playful or anything, really, except mean. I’m not sure if it’s the material itself, the delivery, or the fact that he’s not really a big enough figure for this to seem like “in jokes”— it feels more like petty tearing down from the outside. (All three, I guess.) Whatever it is, though, he comes across as a bully. I’m predicting a lot of jokes about transgender roles, gay roles, gay actors, rumored gay actors, Fassbender’s penis as a Steve Jobs jokes, and, I don’t know, something that makes Nic Pizzolotto cry. Those are just my awards season predictions.