That’s it? Billed for weeks as the most vicious takedown A-list Hollywood has endured since, well, last year’s Golden Globe Awards, what returning host Ricky Gervais wound up delivering was something far more tepid—when he was on the stage at all. Perhaps he had realized there was no way he could top his infamous 2011 performance, or, more specifically, the surprise and outrage it was met with. So instead we got jabs at low-hanging (and absent) fruit like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, some Bridesmaids references to defecating in a bathroom sink, and sucker punches directed at NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Big whoop. Chris Rock put in a more controversial turn as host of the 2005 Oscars.
Which isn’t to say Gervais earned no laughs at all. Just as we did in this space one year ago, let’s now rate Ricky’s best hits and misses as host of the Golden Globes. (As always, we borrow heavily from the Dungeons & Dragons scoring system in assessing their deadly force.)
“For any of you who don’t know, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker, and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing’s been proved.”
Skill Points: 5
This was a fairly astute joke, because it felt edgy without actually targeting anyone in the room. Nice callback to his accusations last year of the HFPA being bribe-friendly.
Hit Points: 1
There is very little you could say about Kim Kardashian that would shock or offend anyone. She’s the Paris Hilton of, well, now.
Net Damage: 2
C’mon, Ricky, we want blood.
“But who needs the Oscars? Not me. And not Eddie Murphy. He walked out on them, and good for him. But when the man who said yes to Norbit says no to you, you know you’re in trouble. I love Eddie Murphy. He loves dressing up, doesn’t he? Versatile. He’s versatile. No, he is.
Bit of trivia for you. Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler between them played all the parts in the movie The Help. Isn’t that brilliant? They were brilliant.
I cant believe they’re not here. Or maybe they are. They’re masters of disguise.”
Skill Points: 7
I enjoyed this little riff. Eddie Murphy is a touchy Hollywood subject. Dissing him is still considered taboo, even though he’s chosen a steady string of garbage projects. Had the joke ended at Norbit, though—a 2007 movie that’s thought to have lost him the Oscar for Dreamgirls—it wouldn’t have been great. Too dated. It was the tying in of Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill, and then the image of the two of them performing the various characters in The Help under several pounds of latex and drag, that nudged the joke into relevancy. And then the “masters of disguise” button at the end, which was just the right amount of snide.
Hit Points: 4
I’m sure even Murphy pokes fun at Norbit. If he doesn’t, he should. But there was some underlying edge here, in the way Ricky patronizingly dismissed the actors’ work.
Net Damage: 3
No one was going to repeat this joke the next day at work (except me, I guess). It’s really just standard monologue fare.
“They actually gave me a list of rules. I’m going to ignore them, but I thought it would be good to read them out. This is real, okay??
No profanity. That’s fine. I’ve got a huge vocabulary. No nudity. See, that’s a shame. Because I’ve got a huge … vocabulary. But a tiny penis. No, no. Doesn’t matter. It works. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. And I’m not to libel anyone. And I must not 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 have spoken to a lot of guys here, they haven’t seen it either. That doesn’t mean it’s not any good.”
Skill Points: 8
This was arguably an easy take on a joke that’s been made thousands of times before about a movie no one has seen. I mean, the movie is called The Beaver and was directed by Jodie Foster. Is no one going to make that joke? No, obviously everyone is. However! The joke had never been made on a world stage in front of the biggest stars on the planet. Plus, hadn’t most of us forgotten that movie even existed? So Ricky gets points just for doing it. But then, after getting the okay sign from Foster (who looked great), Ricky actually pushed things into ballsy territory, basically outing Foster through his use of the word “guys.” Last year, he referred to certain, nameless Scientologists as being the “complete opposite” of heterosexuals pretending to be gay. But the actors he meant, and we all know who they are, weren’t in the room. Jodie was right in front of him. It was enough to earn a look of deep annoyance from Elton John, who was craning his neck, presumably to see how Foster was handling the moment.
Points off for the references to Ricky’s own genitalia, however. Ewww.
Hit Points: 5
Not particularly mean-spirited, but definitely not a moment Foster wanted played out in front of the world. Still, it’s 2012 and high time she came out, already.
Net Damage: 3
What this boils down too is really just free publicity for The Beaver. I’m sure Jodie slept soundly last night.
“But the Golden Globes aren’t just about movies. It also celebrates the best in TV as well. New shows like the amazing Homeland. And returning shows like Boardwalk Empire. I love that show. It’s great. It’s about a load of immigrants who came to America about 100 years ago and they got involved in bribing and corruption and they worked their way up into high society. But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press.
I’m joking. I love them and they’re good sports for inviting me back. What I didn’t know is they do an awful lot for charity and their non-profit organization. Just like NBC.”
Skill Points: 7
I am actually a big fan of HFPA-bashing, seeing as they are a truly freakish and secretive collection of bizarre-looking geriatrics whose writing no one has actually read; but because of the Globes, they are treated in Hollywood like royal dignitaries. Also, NBC-bashing never gets old, right? It’s like comfort food at this point.
Hit Points: 5
An unambiguous accusation of corruption and bribery leveled against the evening’s hosts and voting body deserves some kind of recognition.
Net Damage: 5
While the Globes will exist for eons, long after the HFPA members are dead (which should be sometime this week), I still think Ricky has done some irreparable damage to them by repeatedly calling out their shadiness on their big night. Kudos for that.
To Johnny Depp: “I have a question for you, and be honest: Are you on recreational drugs? No, I’m just joking, and we all know the answer. Are you ready? Have you seen The Tourist yet?”
Skill Points: 9
A great, funny moment, gutsily played out without warning. I don’t know if Depp’s answer (“Uh…uh, no.”) was honest or if he was just playing along, but either way, he’s a champ.
Hit Points: 2
It’s The Tourist. Who cares?
Net Damage: 2
See above. Still, funny! Definitely funny.
What did you think of this year’s ceremony? How do you think Ricky did as host?