Los Angeles Times television critic Lorraine Ali penned a disapproving opinion-editorial slamming Golden Globe host Ricky Gervais for roasting Hollywood elites on Sunday evening.
According to Ali, Gervais’s roasting of A-list celebrities felt unoriginal because his searing jokes pointed at the award show’s attendees were expected, which immediately canceled any possibility that he would be the evening’s “funniest guy in the room.” She also lashed at the comic for calling on award-winners to avoid politics while Congress weighs impeachment and Iran is threatening retaliation for the death of top general Qasem Soleimani.
The host’s acerbic wit was nothing new. He’d certainly offended in the past from the awards stage, and ads for Sunday’s telecast played upon the idea that anything could happen, including Gervais being a jerk. His knack for ripping on Hollywood and offending the glitterati is well known among the thin-skinned in the industry.
But at the Beverly Hilton, where the three-hour-plus ceremony took place, the mood was already sober thanks to an impeachment, the threat of war with Iran and devastating bush fires in Australia.
The last thing anyone needed was for the smirking master of ceremonies to reprimand them for having hope, or taunt the room for trying to use their influence to change things for the better.
Almost immediately, however, it became clear Gervais wasn’t the funniest guy in the room at the 77th Golden Globes — and he wasn’t running the show, either.
She tosses several more complaints into the piece, saying Gervais’s putdown of political statements was “disingenuous,” he relied on a “tired agitator schtick,” and he failed to “read the room.”
Gervais kicked off the Golden Globes by telling the audience his fifth time hosting would be his last, then proceeded to deliver an expletive-laced skewering of Hollywood’s elites.
True to his reputation, Gervais opened the show on Sunday with a mix of evisceration and exasperation, pretending to confuse Joe Pesci for Baby Yoda, calling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association racist, and declaring Netflix’s takeover of Hollywood.
The acerbic actor was bleeped multiple times, once for referring to the anatomy of Dame Judi Dench, then when he advised the night’s winners to stick to thanking their agents and their Gods, not lecturing the general public.
“Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg, so if you win, come up, accept your award, thank your agent and your God and fuck off,” he said, referring to the teen climate change activist.
Gervais said the audience full of powerful TV and movie executives were all “terrified” of journalist Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who goes on trial in New York City on Monday for sexual assault. Gervais told the crowd about Farrow: “He’s coming for you.”
After another Weinstein joke that earned a sharp response toward the end of the broadcast, he snapped back at the crowd, “I didn’t do it. You did it.”
He made fun of Felicity Huffman for her prison sentence in a college exam cheating scandal, saying she made the license plate for his limo.
When some groaned about his joke about the former financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in jail after being arrested for allegedly sex trafficking girls, he responded: “Shut up. I know he’s your friend.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.