BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) – If you tuned into the Golden Globes on Sunday, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether you were watching an awards show or a Friars Club roast. While good natured jabs have long been a part of these ceremonies, emcee Ricky Gervais’ zingers were especially pointed. Did he go too far?
On “The Early Show,” Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of HollywoodLife.com, and Howard Bragman, chairman and CEO of Fifteen Minutes PR, shared their opposing viewpoints on Gervais’ performance.
Fuller said Gervais only “hit below the belt in order to hit it out of the park.”
“His job is to get people buzzing, his job is to entertain,” she said. “His job is to get great ratings. He did those things. And people do expect a roast-like atmosphere.”
“His job is called host,” Bragman said. “A host is there to make you feel comfortable. A host is there to make guests really have the great moments. And in past Golden Globes, we’ve seen a lot of really crazy moments from the guests because there’s alcohol. There’s a lot of fun there. We didn’t see that this year. We’re talking about the host. And I think we should be talking about nominees and the winners instead.”
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Fuller and Bragman aren’t the only people with opinions on Gervais. A day after the awards, Gervais’ performance went from the buzz of Hollywood to the talk of the nation.
Fans and foes lit up Twitter, saying Gervais’ pointed humor was, “mean-spirited,” “more offensive than funny,” while others gushed “I loved Ricky Gervais and all the jokes.”
At one point in the evening, Gervais said, “Also not nominated, ‘I Love You Phillip Morris.’ Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor — two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists then.”
“When he went after Scientologists,” noted Ken Baker, executive news editor of E!, “I think even the most jaded people in the crowd were stunned.”
Virtually no one was spared — including Robert Downey, Jr.
“Many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and the Los Angeles County Jail, please welcome Robert Downey, Jr.,” quipped Gervais in his introduction for the Hollywood A-lister.
But some barbs seemed to hit too close to home.
“Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited, with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show’s been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?” said the star after taking the podium.
In the middle of the broadcast, Gervais seemed to go missing for more than an hour, creating speculation that he was being punished, or even fired mid-show. In a statement, Gervais said both rumors were not true.
“I did every single introduction I was meant to … I obviously chose presenters who I had the best jokes for. And who I knew had a good sense of humor,” the British comedian said.
When he reappeared 62 minutes later, he kept on jabbing.
When he introduced Tom Hanks and Tim Allen he said, “What can I say about our next two presenters? The first is an actor, producer, writer and director whose movies have grossed $3.5 billion. The other is Tim Allen.”
“He definitely crossed the line. And some of the things were totally unacceptable. But that’s Ricky.” said the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Baker, of E!, noted that the always-irreverent Gervais “wasn’t making these jokes to please the celebrities or suck up to the celebrities. In fact, if they are mad at him today, then he feels like he has done his job.”
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