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Hosting the 77th annual Golden Globes tonight was Ricky Gervais. After he unapologetically spoke out about the Jessica Yaniv “wax my balls” controversy and supported J.K. Rowling’s tweets in favor of biological reality, there was much speculation as to whether he would skewer identity politics as host of this year’s awards show.
Patricia Arquette called on Gervais to apologize for his jokes, telling Variety “I think it’s a really important conversation for everybody to have… I just don’t think anything’s funny about making fun of the trans community. They’re really persecuted, so I don’t think it’s funny.”
Gervais stuck to his guns though, telling the Hollywood audience, “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world.”
Gervais clearly had no intention of apologizing, or excusing himself from hosting the awards show. He noted “I also make jokes about AIDS, Cancer, Famine, and The Holocaust. Those things do a bit of harm too. But jokes don’t.”
As he took the stage, Gervais was greeted with applause from the crowd. “You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards, so I just don’t care anymore.” Noting that of course he never cared. “They’re just jokes, we’re all gonna die soon, and there’s no sequel.”
Tom Hanks seemed displeased about Gervais joke that the license plate on his limo was made by Felicity Huffman. He made jokes about Hollywood being racist, afraid of Ronan Farrow, and pitched the audience on watching his Netflix show Afterlife, about a suicidal widower, instead of the Golden Globes.
He said that the second season of Afterlife shows that the main character didn’t kill himself, just like Jeffrey Epstein. The crowd groaned. He said “I know he was your friend, I just don’t care.”
Gervais also took aim at Leonardo DiCaprio for his notoriously young girlfriends, comparing him to Prince Andrew. He noted that films are so long that by the time the premieres are over, DiCaprio’s girlfriends are too old for him.
Gervais skewered the Hollywood elite, criticizing the new Apple streaming service and mentioning sweatshops in China. He addressed the audience directly and said, “The Morning Show is a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Apple, Amazon, Disney … You say you’re woke but if ISIS started a streaming service you would call your agents. But if you do win an award tonight, don’t make a political speech… Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”
The lesson? Gervais doesn’t care if he’s controversial, and what a refreshing change that is. It’s the kind of change we actually need in entertainment.