Host Ricky Gervais teases Johnny Depp during Sunday's Golden Globes… (NBC/Getty Images )
"So where was I? Nervous? Don’t be. This isn't about you."
With that, Ricky Gervais was off and running Sunday as host/roastmaster of the 69th annual Golden Globe awards, putting Hollywood's A-listers on notice but also referencing the hype he's gotten for hosting the ceremony.
"Tonight you get the world's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second-biggest awards show on America's third-biggest network," he said in his opening monologue during the ceremony that aired on NBC. "Sorry, it’s fourth. Fourth."
He slammed Mel Gibson (again), took clever jabs at Jodie Foster and Eddie Murphy and struck his bosses and Kim Kardashian in a single swing. “The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton,” he said. “A bit louder, bit trashier, bit drunker. And more easily bought. Allegedly.”
This was Gervais’ third time hosting, and he seemed to be playing it safe despite promising he’d take it a notch higher than last year, when he made headlines by skewering Hollywood’s elite. Many were surprised when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that awards the Globes, asked him back this year.
The Kardashian joke was low-hanging fruit—but he collected it well.
Whether causing groans, eye rolls or laughter, Gervais still entertained as host because you just never know what he’s going to do. He slyly revisited a jab he took last year at nominated but critically reviled “The Tourist“ when he introduced its star, Johnny Depp. “Have you seen ‘The Tourist’ yet?” he asked. Depp paused dramatically, then said, “No.”
Gervais also managed to piss off at least one of the presenters he introduced, Madonna. He suggested she might still be “Like a Virgin,” which caused the Material Girl to fire back. “If I’m still just like a virgin, Ricky, then why don’t you come over here and do something about it,” she said. “I haven’t kissed a girl in a few years.”
Gervais ran across the back of the stage as she was talking, a funny bit of physical comedy.
With uncomfortably funny moments like that, it was a little disappointing when Gervais wasted time attacking easy targets with jokes that weren’t too original. (Of Justin Bieber he said, “The only way that he could have impregnated a girl is if he borrowed one of Martha Stewart’s turkey basters.”)
His constant self-referencing got a little annoying too; no one wants to hear about the size of your penis unless the reveal is part of a funny joke, Ricky.
Take presenter Seth Rogen's self introduction (and the best line of the night), for example. When Rogen presented an award with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, he couldn’t help himself: "I'm Seth Rogen, and I'm currently trying to conceal a massive erection."
(George Clooney delivered another dick joke that was funny just because it was so unexpected. While accepting his best actor for a movie drama award, Clooney mentioned co-nominee Michael Fassbender, who goes full frontal in his film, "Shame:" "I would like to thank Michael Fassbender for taking over the frontal nude responsibly that I had. Really Michael, honestly, do you play golf like this with your hands behind your back?" George said, making a golf swing motion with his hands behind back.)
I'm not saying it's time for Gervais to step aside. But if he does, Rogen might be a great replacement.