Charlotte Bend investigates if the man embodying controversy at the Golden Globes has surpassed the line a comedic license allows.
Since Ricky Gervais first appeared on our screens in 1998, he has gained increased fame and fortune, but is that all about to change?
Celebrated for his work on The Office and most recently, his record-breaking fifth time hosting the Golden Globes, Gervais’ satire and comedic talent have shone through. However, Gervais’ hosting of the 77th Golden Globe Awards this January have proved that his provocative humour has gone too far.
He started with his traditional format for hosting: pint in hand, a suggestion that this will be the last time he will present, and a few comments near the line. His opening monologue has repeatedly ridiculed Hollywood’s finest: Colin Farrell, Steve Carell and Mel Gibson have all fallen victim to Gervais’ satire in previous years. Yet this year’s tone seemed different. Gervais’ inability to evolve for our world’s current politically correct climate and the extension of the same jokes year after year at these awards, has led to increasingly provocative comments in hope of gaining a reaction from the audience. This begs the question: can comedic value truly protect someone from making shocking comments or does this nonchalance appear reductive towards significant social issues?
His opening monologue has repeatedly ridiculed Hollywood’s finest: yet this year’s tone seemed different.
One such example is when Gervais used humour to relate the American financier and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, to the TV series After Life, which Gervais stars in: “Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.” This is a recurring theme in Gervais’ jokes, he seems to have walked away scott-free after making offensive comments year after year, simply by suggesting that he doesn’t care or by ridiculing himself.
A piece of comedy which seems to have made it into every one of Gervais’ monologues is one in relation to the Hollywood Foreign Press. This year he suggested that they “can barely speak English” whilst in 2012 he joked that they had warned him that if he insulted anyone they would “definitely invite me back next year”. His repeated use of similar jokes has in return led to viewers remaining blasé about humour which remains controversial and topical.
Ultimately, Ricky Gervais has leapt to success over recent years but this may fall into decline if he continues to ignore the significance of prevalent issues on race, gender and class.