January 17th, 2011
10:10 AM ET
[Want to hear more from Ricky Gervais? You can catch him on "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Thursday, January 20 at 9 p.m. ET.]
From Angelina Jolie to Scientology to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, no one was safe from host Ricky Gervais's biting quips at last night's Golden Globes.
The Brit funnyman opened with a monologue that garnered more gasps than laughter, a bit that had Funny Or Die tweeting: "Damn. Ricky Gervais must carry his balls around in a wheelbarrow" and the Washington Post asking if we were at war with England.
"If not," the paper went on, "then why have we been subjected to two years of Gervais hosting the Golden Globe Awards, witnessing a growing hostility between the British comedian and a resentful audience of celebs?"
Gervais opened with a shot at Charlie Sheen - "It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast" - and then followed it up with a barrage of jokes that left some laughing (anyone else see Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro giggling in the audience?) and some getting on the defensive (we're looking at you, Robert Downey, Jr.). Gervais joked:
Halfway through the show, the internet started buzzing with rumors that Gervais had been yanked after the comedian was gone from the stage for an hour. But Gervais returned to close out the evening and not surprisingly, the reaction was mixed.
Celebrities, for the most part, seemed to love Gervais. “I thought he was brilliant," Chris Noth told CNN. "We could all afford to have a few ribbings like that." Thomas Jane thought it was "great to keep people on their toes," and Sofia Vergara admitted, "It was funny."
"How I Met Your Mother" star Jennifer Morrison told CNN Gervais was "really good at pushing the envelope" and was "definitely blown away by some of the things he said," while Peter Facinelli enjoyed the "fun, awkward silences when Ricky Gervais went there," but admits, "at times it got a little uncomfortable in the room."
And that's no joke! Most reviewers believed Gervais was a bit too mean-spirited.
"He was merciless from the start, mocking his hosts for nominating the stars of the badly reviewed movie 'The Tourist,'" wrote the New York Times's Alessandra Stanley, noting that mocking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was a no-no. "Trashing the association that feeds you… is bad form, or bad politics."
The L.A. Times's Mary McNamara agreed, saying, "Poking fun at big stars is in the job description. But televised teasing requires a lightness of touch or else it quickly becomes bullying."
While McNamara felt Gervais seemed more comfortable hosting last night than he did the previous year, she said, "It quickly became clear that his material wasn't just falling flat, it was making many audience members and presenters uncomfortable and even angry."
But the Hollywood Reporter believes everyone should lighten up. "It made for compelling — if sometimes wince-inducing — television," adding, "The trouble is, the awards are for the people in the business, but the show itself is for the viewers at home. There’s only so much sycophantic back-slapping anyone can take without a little needling to burst the ego bubble."
Gervais feels the same. "I hope they can all take a bit of roasting from a nobody like me," he told the L.A. Times. "Did I think twice about any of [the jokes]? No I didn't. I'd say any of that to their faces, I'd walk up to them and say it. That's the test for me. And it's in good fun."
What did you think of Gervais as host? Tell us in a comment below.