The 68th Golden Globes were opened by Ricky Gervais. Absolute shocker that this act would prove a major talking point once the ceremony went under way. I’m not sure whether it’s a reflection of the pathetic state of Hollywood these days, that they have to dress up a hilarious opening monologue with talk of conspiracy – Gervais disappeared for an hour to come back somewhat subdued, apparently having been told to tone it down. Now what a frankly uninteresting and largely irrelevant awards ceremony definitely does not need, is toning down.
The first few words of his opening gambit seem like a dull joke to appease a room full of stuffy halfwits – but the punchline is still to come, and he goes for the juggler at Charlie Sheen’s expense. I think I’m right in assuming that the majority of the viewing public tend to enjoy seeing the mega-rich self appreciative Hollywood being brought down a peg or two, and from what I’ve seen so far, it was (if a little awkwardly) taken all in good jest by the A list crowd. But the many publications which have slammed Gervais for his bad taste humour largely fail to miss the point, and this is what worries me with Americans – their lack of humour.
Now I’m not putting every member of the United States under this umbrella. American comedy is in a veritable golden age, with The Office (being written by the man himself yes, along with Stephen Merchant – but now outgrowing the original premise and being funny in it’s own right) and Family Guy becoming popular and credible mainstays on US TV networks. But there is a large population of America who fail to miss the point a hundred times over, and would never appreciate someone like Gervais.
The worrying thing is he isn’t even close to the worst (worst meaning dangling on the precipice between comic ‘harshness’ and rude, insulting and racist material) that our little old isles have to offer. Frankie Boyle is probably the first to spring to mind – now imagine him hosting the Golden Globes. How much would we pay to see that?
Slight rant over, let’s move back onto the man in the dock, the accused, Mr. Gervais. He’s been one of my, if not my all time favourite comedians of all time. Yes, for every soul who sings his praises, another disenchanted figure will cry of his smugness, his ego, his tendency to rehash the same old joke & routine and his best being long, long behind him. Having seen him live recently, there is a touch of originality perhaps which is lacking from The Office, or his earlier stand ups, yet critical acclaim mixed with the courting of Hollywood would surely send anyone on a downhill slope, and despite this, his acid tongue still prevails. Anyone listening to the podcasts with the ever remarkable Karl Pilkington, will have listened through hours of gold – not to mention the recent An Idiot Abroad featuring said Pilkington (the jury’s out on him too – Gervais’ comic creation, or genuine fool taunted by the school bully?) so for people to suggest he’s lost it is blasphemy. Gervais still has a lot to offer, and i feel that there will be a couple more things in the pipeline (not to mention a sitcom on loveable dwarf actor Warwick Davis) which will stand the test of comic time.
This is of course if he stays with Merchant. I’ve not given ol’ Steve enough credit in this piece – but it will come. He is as important in the making of The Office as Gervais, and nearly everything that has cemented Gervais as a comedian since.
But for now, let’s just bask in Gervais love, and remind ourselves of Wernham Hogg’s most loveable manager.