Comedian Ricky Gervais catered to no audience last night when he let his mouth run wild in a no-holds-barred opening monologue at the Golden Globes, during which he roasted the roomful of celebrities for their yearly routine of hypocritical virtue-signaling.
“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a political platform to make a political speech,” Gervais told the crowd. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God — and f*** off. OK?”
Gervais simultaneously roasted corporations like Apple and Amazon for producing supposedly “woke” creative content while doing business in authoritarian countries like China.
“Apple roared into the TV game with ‘The Morning Show,’ a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing — made by a company that runs sweatshops in China,” Gervais said. “Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?”
Naturally, segments of the American media did not exactly embrace everything Gervais had to say that night. Indeed, Gervais was immediately blasted for cruelly repeating “right-wing talking points” to score cheap laughs.
“Here’s my Ricky Gervais problem: The idea that celebrities are not only pampered babies but hypocrites who cause the problems they make speeches deploring and should therefore shut up and act/sing/be grateful is a right-wing talking point, and an especially stupid one,” tweeted Mark Harris of Vanity Fair.
“It’s not an act of speaking truth to power or of bravery to attack celebs on that front — it’s a tired way of scolding people into silence because you don’t like what they’re saying, and saying that he’s ‘calling out’ the hyper-privileged is just the same thing in a new guise,” he continued in the tweet thread. “You’ll never go broke ending a night scowling at celebrities and saying, ‘Get drunk, do your drugs, f*** off,’ which I think were his last words on the show. There will always be people to say, ‘Yeah! You tell ’em!’ But tell ’em what? ‘F*** off’ isn’t a stance. It’s a tantrum.”
“Anyway: There were celebrities who used their stage time to say valuable things coherently last night, and others who said valuable things incoherently, and others who talked about themselves. I don’t think yelling at any of them is of great interest. Peace,” he concluded.
Over at the Los Angeles Times, Lorraine Ali lamented how Gervais’ trollery disrupted the sober mood at the Golden Globes.
“The [Golden Globes] mood was already sober thanks to an impeachment, threat of war with Iran and Australian bush fires. The last thing anyone needed was Ricky Gervais there, telling them they sucked,” tweeted Ali.
Sam Adams of Slate went into even more detail by ranking the jokes in Gervais’ opening monologue according to their “dickishness.”
“Going into the Golden Globes, the biggest question was not who will win the night’s biggest awards but how much of a jerk Ricky Gervais would be,” wrote Adams.