Mixed reaction to Ricky Gervais as Golden Globes host

Ricky Gervais

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Comedian Ricky Gervais promised this year he would push the boundaries as he hosted the Golden Globes for a second time.

"I think I'll go just close enough to the edge but not go over it," he said on the red carpet before the ceremony.

But by the end of the star-studded bash, many were left debating whether he had gone too far in his jibes at the gathered celebrities and even organisers the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

He opened the show in no-nonsense style saying: "It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking - or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast."

After a barrage of jokes, the rumour mill then went into overdrive after Gervais apparently disappeared for nearly an hour during the live ceremony.

When he eventually returned, he appeared to be less offensive, prompting a number of people to question what had happened to him.

Had he been fired? Been given a telling off? Ordered to tone it down?

Start Quote

Robert Downey Jr

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?”

End Quote Robert Downey Jr

Former newspaper editor and Britain's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan tweeted: "1st question when Gervais appears on @pierstonight on Thurs - what the hell did they do to you backstage for an hour? He looks haunted."

Here's a selection of his more controversial jokes:

  • "It was a big year for 3D movies. Toy Story, Despicable Me, Tron. It seems like everything this year was three-dimensional, except the characters in The Tourist. I already feel bad about that joke. I'm jumping on the bandwagon, because I haven't even seen The Tourist. Who has?
  • I'd like to quash the rumours that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so that the Hollywood Foreign Press can hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish, that is not the only reason - they also accepted bribes.
  • "I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carey and Ewan McGregor - two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So, the complete opposite of some famous scientologists. Probably. My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke."
  • "I was sure the Golden Globe for special effects would go to the team that airbrushed [the Sex and the City 2] poster. Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza."
  • On Jennifer Lopez - "She's just Jenny from the block. If the block in question is that one on Rodeo Drive between Cartier and Prada."
  • On multi-millionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: "Heather Mills calls him the one that got away."
  • While introducing Robert Downey Jr - "Many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail."

When he took to the stage, Downey Jr quipped in return: "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?"

He later said backstage: 'I think it's great to be funny, but it's better if you can do it without hurting people."

Other celebrities also expressed their opinions on Gervais's hosting skills - Oscar winner Tom Hanks said while presenting an award: "We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian," to which his Toy Story 3 co-star Tim Allen quickly added: "Neither of which he is now."

And after suggesting he had to help HFPA president Philip Berk "off the toilet and pop his teeth back in", Berk fired back at Gervais: "The next time you want someone to qualify your movies, go to another guy."

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen Tom Hanks and Tim Allen expressed their dismay at Gervais's hosting skills

Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein joked that Gervais would "not make it out of town" that night.

"There are seven people that we've hired to kill him and deservedly so. Knowing that Ricky Gervais will never work again means a lot to me, I'm going to make sure of it," he told journalists backstage.

But some attendees endorsed the comic's jokes. 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin was spotted wiping tears from his eyes throughout the ceremony, and lifetime achievement winner Robert De Niro was also seen laughing all the way through.

While The Social Network and best supporting actor nominee Andrew Garfield told the Los Angeles Times: "He's been terribly nasty and horribly rude and I think he's genius."

US critics were not kind in their review of Gervais's "performance".

The Los Angeles Times said his jokes set "a corrosive tone" for the night, while TV critic Mary McNamara said: "The opposite of dull and deferential is not snotty and abusive."

"It would not have been surprising to see a hook emerge suddenly stage left or to learn that the host had taken 'suddenly ill'," she added.

The New York Times said the comic was "merciless from the start" while the Hollywood Reporter said it would "undoubtedly be his last hosting gig for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and, who knows, maybe any Stateside awards)".

However Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker had nothing but praise for him: "Thanks once again to Ricky Gervais for bringing the sort of funny rudeness and effrontery... that make an awards show such as the Golden Globes engaging to watch."

The King's Speech director Tom Hooper perhaps summed up the general feeling after the ceremony: "I thought he was hilarious but will he ever present another award show again? I don't know but if he went out, he went out burning."

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