On Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globes Monologue


Jay Doherty, Web Editor

Jay DohertyStaff Writer
For the past 5 years, Hollywood’s “Golden Globes” ceremony has imbued comedian Ricky Gervais with the task of hosting. In celebration of his final year emceeing the show, the English comedian made it clear he was not going to hold back poking fun at Hollywood actors and actresses who preach liberal and open-armed philosophies, all the while enjoying the luxuries of America’s one percent.  
The theme of Gervais’s entire eight minute monologue was, “who cares?… it’s the last time.” That heedless attitude towards the bevy of serious issues Gervais was monologuing about is exactly what America needs right now… in moderation. 
To be fair, Mr. Gervais began his monologue forewarning Hollywood elites to lighten up, his jokes are “just jokes,” afterall, “we’re all going to die soon, and there’s no sequel.” It was clear from the beginning that no one could hide the visible looks of fear amongst the A-list as the camera panned the audience.  
Such a prelude seemed unnecessary as things quickly became controversial. In fairness, one could ask how an outwardly moot comedian like Gervais could not offend at least someone in the viewing audience considering the Golden Globes ceremony is a three-hour telecast that airs live nationally. 
Needless to say, Gervais and those giving acceptance speeches find themselves in front of a diverse and substantial audience. They could look at this as a choice. Either acknowledge the award with simple “thank you” or take full advantage of the microphone and the viewership to sway political opinions. Gervais advised preemptively: “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world.” He went onto say finally, “if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and f*** off.” 
Gervais used humor as a buffer, however blunt and personal, to call out the contradictions inherent to politically vocal hollywood movie stars who try to identify with the average person watching at home. 
Before jesting about dead and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, cracking racy jokes about the film “Cats,” and poking fun at outspoken actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s career, Mr. Gervais attacked Felicity Huffman, the 57 year-old actress recently sentenced to two weeks in prison on mail fraud charges related to her involvement in a college admissions scandal. The quip about Huffman, who was notably apologetic to those she swindled, was met with an uncomfortable response from the crowd, especially considering many of the attendees knew her personally. 
After this statement and many more, it was uncomfortable to see the cringes on actors’ faces combined with reluctant laughter from the surrounding crowd. Gauging from the audience’s reaction, Gervais was just beginning to push the threshold on how far he would be able to get away with jokes like these…and so the contentious jokes continued. 
Among many things, Gervais first appeared to genuinely state that technology company Apple “roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing…made by a company that runs sweatshops in China.” 
The remark about the corporate hypocrisy of America’s third richest company was met with awkward laughter but the peak of tendentiousness was when Gervais compared Apple and other major corporations like Disney and Amazon to ISIS. Gervais quipped to the actors, “if ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent” connoting their “woke” philosophies as being sanctimonious. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who announced the company’s streaming service in September of last year, was shown on the big screen looking uncomfortable and, quite frankly, out of place.
Overall, the speech hit the crux of Hollywood’s problem: promoting views that generally improve the lives of the public but contradict the lavish lifestyle that most Hollywood celebrities live, if not flaunt.
As a young person in an advanced world witnessing extreme ideological divisions, it is important to expose oneself to a myriad of liberal and conservative sources to ensure understanding the veracity of a given story before forming opinions. This is a technique that both the far-left and the far-right do not practice enough, especially in privileged communities like Hollywood where each side has the opportunity to spread the message.
However, some in the Latin community feel it unnecessary for these high-profile individuals to preach about how one should live their life, when they themselves frequently do the opposite. One sophomore noted that Leonardo DiCaprio, who has won numerous awards for his acting at the Golden Globes, “preaches a lifestyle with zero carbon dioxide emissions whilst riding around in a private jet” denoting widespread hypocrisy articles like this one point out around the prevalent issue of climate change. 
Met with fierce backlash from editorially liberal newspapers around the nation, Gervais, who identifies as a liberal himself, responded unapologetically on Twitter stating: “I roasted them for wearing their liberalism like a medal.”
Reflecting on the speech holistically, Latin junior Brendan Myers remarked: “As much as I found Gervais speech to be funny in some parts, I think he went overboard and didn’t understand what kind of audience he was going to have. Still I applaud Ricky wanting to speak his mind, it is not easy being a black sheep in Hollywood when you’re self-employed and all.”
Taking a more supportive view of Gervais, sophomore Joe Schwister, who says he leans liberal on most issues, said: “I think that he’s correct and I found it hilarious that he was so nonchalant about this. However, Hollywood isn’t going to change. Gervais is simply not relevant enough and the industry is too large that it will change, even from that speech. I doubt that it will change anything. Actors simply stand too tall to be toppled by justice.”
By shedding light on an extremely liberal shadow lurking upon Hollywood’s elites, Gervais successfully made fun of himself, his colleagues, and the reason politics is even being discussed at a celebration put on with purpose of recognizing theatrical accomplishments, increasing TV ratings, and making NBC money. Gervais alleviated, at least for eight minutes, the enormous political tension felt by most sitting in the audience and watching at home, especially judging from similar events of the past. He balanced the political scale for a couple of minutes, and also reminded the studio audience that they live in an elite bubble that is wholly disconnected from reality. That is what Hollywood, and frankly all political groups need right now—a reality check.
While only looking at one side of the story never benefits anyone, it is what many liberal and conservative groups are doing right now, which is foolishly dangerous. All political groups, no matter their affiliation, their location, or their values need to look past the danger of a single story and work towards independent, opinionated, and balanced thought based on facts and not self-proclaimed moral arbiters that have amassed their popularity from systems they frequently criticize. If a small amount of controversial humor takes us one step closer to achieving this challenging task, so be it.