Well, well, well. We all can agree that Ricky Gervais acted like a guy who didn't want to be hosting the Golden Globes, at least not in the way that Hollywood (and particularly the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) expects its hosts to play nice. But was he funny?
Let's go to the videotape. Just joking. Nobody uses videotape in 2011. Let's go to the official online clips!
In his monologue, Gervais didn't stick the landing on the opening Charlie Sheen joke, but as soon as he started in on The Tourist, the audible gasp of hundreds of rich, famous, beautiful people sucking the air out of the room meant that Gervais had everyone's attention from then on. Cut to joke victim Johnny Depp. He's smiling. Phew. Where's Cher? Not there? OK. Everyone's laughing. Sex and the City 2? Even Mr. Big is smiling and nodding in approval. A Scientology joke — the Scientology joke — followed by the tag: "My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke." And then the Hugh Hefner jokes, followed by the act-out on the line "just don't look at it when you touch it." This was all happening live on network television (NBC) at 8 p.m. on a Sunday — 7 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Pacific! Wow. Now that's some ballsy talk. About balls.
But Gervais was only getting started. When he introduced Eva Longoria to introduce the HFPA president, Philip Berk, Gervais said of the man in charge: "That's nothing. I just had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth in." Berk's retort? "And Ricky, next time you want me to help you qualify one of your movies, go to another guy." Then he smiled and turned quickly toward Gervais. Still friends? Is this how the game is played? Or is there a backlash a brewing?
Gervais was gentler when introducing Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Lopez, saying: "He's Alec from the Rock. She's just Jenny from the block. If the block in question is that one on Rodeo Drive between Cartier and Prada." That's a gentle gibe, right?
Gervais hit hard in this introduction: "But many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail. Ladies and gentleman, Robert Downey Jr." Everyone seemed to think Robert Downey Jr. handled Gervais best by getting in a quick quip, saying: "Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far, wouldn't you?" RDJ then launched into his own bit, which was equally ribald, suggesting he have/had sex with each of the best actress nominees.
But wait. There was much more…
Gervais continued his long-running love/hate fake feud with Steve Carell when introducing him and Tina Fey to the stage. But Carell may have been joking in a funny because it's sarcastic way when he stiff-armed Gervais and bellowed, "I love it! Never gets old!" They were funny, and also, as Videogum noted in real-time on Twitter, it was super-weird to see the creator of 30 Rock hand an award to the creator of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Except for the part where awards-show producers usually do find subtle and/or blatant links between the awards presenters and winners.
And now for two bits that you may have thought were funny, horrible, or maybe horribly funny. Sometimes all at the same time. Both clips involve celebrities who were not good at all at hosting SNL.
First up, Jimmy Fallon and the cleavage of January Jones throw their voices in their banter leading up to announcing the winner of best TV show in the comedy/musical category (spoiler alert: the musical show beat the comedies). Hey, remember when Fallon was a great and happy host at the Emmys? Hey, remember when Jones had comedy timing? Interesting lines on that dress, though.
Then there was Robert DeNiro's acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. After getting roasted lightly over the coals by Matt Damon, DeNiro got up there and started obviously reading the prompter and what was written for him. It says this clip is only 4:46 but it felt a lot longer. Like Rupert Pupkin longer. Only The King of Comedy did not write this speech. According to the credits, it had to have come from either head writer Barry Adelman (veteran of multiple Globes gigs, whose career goes back to writing for The Sonny and Cher Show in the 1970s!), but probably not, because the end credits also list three other men as writers. "Special material by Jon Macks and Dave Boone. Additional material by Lewis Friedman." Macks is a longtime writer for Jay Leno. Ahem. That's only circumstantial evidence. Boone is a writer for Dancing with the Stars. Wait. What? Relevance? Banter, I guess, as he's written for many other awards and pageants. And Friedman wrote for Fashion Rocks. I don't know.
Maybe it was the extended diatribe about immigration, followed by a crude Megan Fox joke, and then the false modesty, and then the DVD pitch, it all sounded false coming out of his mouth as he read them. And then the private school closer?!
At the very end of the show, which finished early enough to roll the full credits under a promo for the next edition of Celebrity Apprentice, Gervais snuck in one more jab as the camera panned out to show the room from the ceiling's perspective: "I'd like to thank God, for making me an atheist."
That'll learn 'em.
It wasn't all awkward, at least not for these comedy (and/or musical) winners from the 68th annual Golden Globes…
BEST PICTURE COMEDY/MUSICAL: The Kids Are All Right
BEST ACTRESS IN A PICTURE, COMEDY/MUSICAL: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
BEST ACTOR IN A PICTURE, COMEDY/MUSICAL: Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Toy Story 3
BEST TV SERIES COMEDY/MUSICAL: Glee
BEST ACTRESS IN TV, COMEDY/MUSICAL: Laura Linney, The Big C
BEST ACTOR IN TV, COMEDY/MUSICAL: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN ANY FORM OF TV, APPARENTLY: Jane Lynch, Glee
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN ANY FORM OF TV, APPARENTLY: Chris Colfer, Glee