Ricky Gervais pulls no punches at Golden Globes 2016

‘If you do win tonight, remember no one cares about that award as much as you do’

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais pokes fun of Sean Penn, Jennifer Lawrence and Mel Gibson at the Golden Globes. Video: Reuters


Comedian Ricky Gervais promised to be “nice” but got naughty with Hollywood’s top stars on Sunday night upon his return as host of the Golden Globe awards.

Oscar winner Sean Penn took a hit over his secret interview with Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and “Passion of the Christ” director Mel Gibson drew a cheeky comparison to comedian Bill Cosby, charged last month with felony sexual assault.

“A few years ago on this show I made a joke about Mel Gibson getting a bit drunk and saying a few unsavory things,” Gervais said about Gibson’s anti-Semitic statements made in 2009.

“Listen, I still feel a bit bad for it. . . I want to say something nice about Mel before he comes out, so okay, here you go: I’d rather have a drink with him in his hotel room tonight, than with Bill Cosby.”

Gervais was referring to allegations against the 78-year-old comedian by more than 50 women in incidents dating back to the 1970s.

Nobody in an audience that included the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Jane Fonda, and Taraji P Henson, was safe. The British comedian opened by hushing their applause and saying “Shut up, you disgusting, pill-popping, sexual deviant scum.”

His swipe at Penn, who was not in attendance, came shortly after. “I am going to do this monologue and then go into hiding. Not even Sean Penn will find me,” Gervais joked, taking a swig of beer on stage before calling the actor a snitch.

“Relax, I’m going to try and be nice,” he said after a few quips. “I’ve changed. Not as much as Bruce Jenner, obviously, now Caitlyn Jenner, of course.”

Gervais created the hit sitcom The Office and has built a career with his razor-sharp take on people’s foibles - even those of the stars.

In past Golden Globe hosting gigs, he has made jokes about Madonna, Jodie Foster and British royal Kate Middleton.

Joy actress and winner Jennifer Lawrence (25) was pilloried for her $52 million (€47.7 million) paycheck and Gervais talked of keeping his own Golden Globe statuette for a door stopper.

“And they asked me to host four times!” he said with a big smile.

Early reviews of the host, and the overall show, were tepid.

“Taking a bit of air out of Hollywood types’ egos is one thing. But Gervais wasn’t taking down Hollywood: He was telling viewers at home they were stupid even to be watching,” Time magazine said.

After he last hosted in 2012, many Hollywood watchers thought he might never be asked to return. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association turned to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host for three years, and when they did not return for 2016, Gervais was asked back.

He quickly sought to put the Hollywood awards in perspective.

“Listen,” he told the stars, “if you do win tonight, remember no one cares about that award as much as you do.”