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January 18, 2011, 5:40 pm
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The brouhaha over Ricky Gervais
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By Keisha Allisse


The Golden Globes, the second biggest night in Hollywood trumped only by the Oscars, was hosted Sunday night by comic Ricky Gervais. The telecast was filled with oohs, aahs and groans, but that mainly happened anytime the host opened his mouth. Charlie Sheen, The Tourist, Cher, the Sex and the City cast, 'some famous Scientologists', Hugh Hefner, the Lost finale and Mel Gibson were all in Gervais' crosshairs and that was just in the first five minutes.


Gervais' scathing humor had been on full display before on last year's Golden Globes and Emmys. He previously joked about Gibson's alcohol fueled rant that got him arrested…right before the star took the stage. In another bit, he tells Kate Winslet how right he was about the accolades pouring in once she did a 'holocaust movie' (aka The Reader, the movie for which she won her first Academy Award.) Of course, I'm paraphrasing, but hearing the words come out of the horse's mouth was hilarious. Tasteless? Yes, but who says comedy is classy?


The same humor that has made Gervais famous was on turbo power last night and I have to say, the Hollywood elite were spoil sports. In a room full of people accustomed to getting their butts kissed, stinging jabs of the verbal kind weren't taken well. Miffed by their roasting intros, a few stars took to the stage with a little vengeance in mind; Robert Downey Jr. commented that, 'aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn't you?' Tom Hanks remarked, 'We can recall back when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian,' to which Tim Allen drily responded, 'Neither of which he is now.' (Ouch)


Gervais' jokes went over so poorly that halfway through the show, the announcer started doing some of his work for him. Granted, I thought some of his jokes were a bit much, but this is what comedians do. Why is everyone so bent out of shape? I actually thought RDJ's introduction of the best actress-comedy nominees toed the taste line, but when you're dealing in funny, that's the risk you take.


The sad part about all the criticism facing Gervais is that he likely won’t be invited back to host (at least not a live show) for awhile. While I enjoy the Globes as a viewing experience more than the Oscars, this year’s show lacked the spontaneity of the past. It seemed every winner gushed about how they didn’t expect to win the award as they unfolded a napkin-sized piece of paper full of names (talk about disingenuous.) Enter Ricky Gervais who’s sharp, freewheeling, anything goes comedy added much needed zing. The audience knew what to expect as did organizers, but as with anything, people with will jump off the bandwagon as they see fit and they did, but he did himself no favors by closing the telecast saying, ‘I thank God for making me an atheist.’ (Cringe)


If there’s something to learn, it’s that the sole requirement of a joke is a punchline; someone, something has gotta take a hit, but Hollywood shows us they're fine with humor so long as they're not the butt of the joke.


Author: Keisha Allisse
Keisha is a freelance writer currently living in New York City. She formerly worked in the nonprofit sector for a walking/biking advocacy group and then later for a small theater company. She worked in the finance department of a NYC-midtown based theater organization before leaving to pursue writing full-time.
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