Ricky Gervais began his fifth turn hosting the Golden Globe Awards by dragging Felicity Huffman, calling out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for being “very, very racist” and declaring that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
The British comedian opened Sunday’s show by telling the crowd that he very much did not care and that everyone should just appreciate the jokes because “we’re all going to die soon and there’s no sequel.”
Not missing a beat, Gervais went after former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman for her involvement in the college admissions scandal and subsequent imprisonment.
“I came here in a limo and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman,” he quipped.
Gervais went on to compare Joe Pesci to Baby Yoda, blame the lack of diversity at the show on the HFPA being “very, very racist,” and tell everyone that reporter Ronan Farrow is coming for them.
Some of the more daring jokes came when he jabbed DiCaprio for consistently dating much younger women and then flat-out declared that the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
“I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care,” said Gervais.
The comedian was bleeped out more than once during the monologue. During one of a few jokes about the movie, “Cats,” Gervais made an X-rated claim about Dame Judi Dench licking ... something. Another joke about the film dragged James Corden: “The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy and he was also in the movie ‘Cats.’”
He also implored the celebrities around him to not make any politically charged statements during their acceptance speeches because they’re “in no position to lecture the public about anything.”
Previously, Gervais hosted the Golden Globes in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016, stirring up more and more controversy each time he did.
His jokes over the years have included riffs on Hollywood darlings like Jennifer Lawrence and roasts of problematic celebrities like Mel Gibson who were, arguably, deserving of such treatment. His last hosting stint in 2016 featured a joke about Caitlyn Jenner’s driving skills about a year after she got into an accident that left one person dead.
That joke coupled with some comments he offered up in December 2019 have driven some people to call the 58-year-old comedian transphobic. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, Gervais noted that the remarks he tweeted last year were in response to spoof Twitter account Jarvis Dupont. The account’s schtick is that “he’s so woke that he’s actually gone full circle and does terrible things” and its latest bit at the time was that Jarvis was transgender but was getting it all “wrong,” according to Gervais.
“I responded by playing along with him, saying, ‘Oh, you’re so much better than biological women because they’ve had a lifetime to get used to it.’ Now, people saw my tweet and they thought he’s a real trans person, but I’m taking the piss out of Jarvis Dupont, who is actually a woman in real life,” Gervais told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he couldn’t just explain now that he was joking because “that’s not always enough for people.”
“They go, ‘Well, why were you joking?’ Also, add to that the nature of Twitter — it’s so curt, there’s no nuance, it’s there forever out of context,” he said.
Later in the interview, Gervais addressed the Jenner joke, which he said was “misunderstood.”
“I was very careful that the joke was about her being a bad driver. The joke was about stereotypes. I started off being correctly inclusive, saying she’s brave, breaking down barriers. And then I [said] she didn’t do a lot for women drivers,” he said.
Gervais stated at one point: “Deep down, I want people to know I’m not a racist or a homophobe or a sexist.”