Reviewing Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes

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There was a lot to talk about after the Golden Globes last night, but, as Mediaite's Mark Joyella points out, the big question is this one: "was Ricky Gervais amazing ... or was it a career-killing crash and burn"? Host Gervais opened with a witheringly hilarious monologue, took potshots at stars throughout the night, and closed by thanking God for making him an atheist (see the monologue below). The usually unflappable online awards observers are still reeling.

  • 'Dangerously Close to Performance Art-Cum-Career Suicide in His Opening Monologue,' agrees Joyella's colleague Colby Hall at Mediaite, elsewhere calling Gervais's jokes "fearless but also "at times ... mean-spirited." Writes Hall, "after setting the tone with a bitterly hilarious monologue, Gervais continued to jab at upcoming presenters in a stunningly unpleasant, uncomfortable and yet entertaining way. At one point in the show, the Twittersphere openly wondered if he'd been fired mid-show after he'd disappeared from the stage for what semed like an eternity."
  • 'One of the Most Unrelentingly Harsh and Uncomfortable Monologues in Awards Show History,' declares Gawker's Matt Cherette, careful to note that that does not mean it was not funny:
So, in the span of four minutes, Gervais managed to make an enemy of Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Cher, the entire cast and crew of Sex and the City 2, the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Hugh Hefner, and Hugh Hefner's fiancée.
  • 'The 68th Annual Golden Globes Awards Will Go Down in History' writes The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes, "for having brought Hollywood together in its hatred of host Ricky Gervais." She prefaces her Golden Globe coverage by saying, "we're here to bring you the TV news that emanated from the frosty ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel where Gervais's career died."
  • Silly to Resist  "Anyone who tried to spar with [Gervais]" in the course of the night, writes The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman, "just looked petty and unfunny in hte process." While admitting Gervais has pretty much guaranteed he will not be invited back, Goodman observes, first of all, that Gervais did warn people about his brand of humor, and, second of all, that, while "the awards are for the people in the business ... the show itself is for the viewers at home." Recalling this, Gervais's performance seems more appropriate: "There's only so much sycophantic back-slapping anyone can take without a little needling to burst the ego bubble." As for Gervais's decision to end the show thanking God for making him an atheist? "That pretty much sealed it, one would suspect."
  • 'The Biggest Evidence of the Chasm Between Cable and Broadcast,' Time's James Poniewozik says of that closing atheist remark. It was "a sentiment that, celebrity-roasting aside, may not sit well with a broadcast network."

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