Ricky Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globes for a threepeat on January 15th. True, the Oscars brought back Billy Crystal. But today’s news is more of a surprise because Gervais eviscerated most of the movie and TV stars on the premises during last year’s festivities. He even zinged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association itself and its then-president Philip Berk, saying in his introduction that Gervais had to “help [the HFPA president] off the toilet and pop his teeth back in.” Berk was clearly unamused, making it clear Gervais wasn’t winning a Globe. But now Gervais has the last laugh with this encore. The only question now is whether the HFPA reserved the right to vet Ricky’s monologue and script. Not that he’d necessarily pay any attention to that. So here’s the backstory as Deadline has previously reported it:
The fact is that suitable hosts for major awards shows aren’t found easily. So the HFPA decided to hold onto two-time Golden Globes host Gervais. NBC originally signed the British comedian to a two-year deal and always wanted him back. And Gervais in August announced that the network had invited him to return. But the HFPA was the holdout and “it’s their event. It’s their party,” as Ricky himself recently noted. The sides have been talking, albeit informally, and Gervais recently dined with reps for both NBC and HFPA in Paris. Nellie Andreeva reported there was an A-lister threatening not to attend if Gervais emcees. And don’t forget that last year the HFPA reps said that Gervais “went too far” and “crossed the line”.
Ray Richmond most recently learned that the HFPA was deeply divided over whether to bring back Ricky. But, with the Globes less than two months away, the organization had to decide one way or the other by this Thursday or Friday at the latest. The HFPA membership appeared roughly evenly split, but both sides are united in their anger at NBC for lobbying to have the comedian back and pressuring the HFPA to follow suit. As a source close to the discussion told Richmond: “NBC has put the HFPA in a lose-lose situation. If the Hollywood Foreign Press says yes to Ricky, it risks turning the Globes into The Ricky Gervais Show and leaving the impression that they’re annually throwing a great party while inviting someone who humiliates all of the guests. If it says no, the HFPA looks like it has no sense of humor about itself. The problem is, if you have Ricky, the show tends to wind up being all about him and how mean he can be. He effectively dwarfs the importance of the ceremony itself.”
The other argument waged by membership is that there has been more and more consistent chatter about the Globes in the two years Gervais has hosted than perhaps ever before, helping to swell interest and potentially ratings. “There are those who feel that ratings and revenue are what the HFPA need to focus on most,” the source told Richmond. “Of course that’s all NBC is interested in. The other faction believes that without Ricky, you may lose a little in viewership but wind up better protecting the brand. Some think the job of a host should be enhancing everyone’s experience and making sure they all have a good time. But that isn’t where Ricky’s head is at. He tends to make it all about his career and all about him. The question the association has to answer now is, is the boost in interest ultimately worth the price? Nobody really knows which way it’s going to go yet. But what NBC needs and what’s in the best interests of the HFPA may be two very different things.”
If you’ve forgotten Ricky’s biting rants, here is his monologue from last year.