True to form, five-time Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais kicked off the 77th annual ceremony with a round of roasts and skewers. After stating his intent never to host again, he gestured to the celebrity-filled audience in the room with him and kicked things off with, “Let’s go out with a bang — let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we?”
Gervais was as good as his word. Wielding a defensive stance at the outset, he burned the room full of celebrities on a range of issues both personal and political, targeting everything from director Martin Scorsese’s height to actress Felicity Huffman’s jail sentence. Several actors were visibly uncomfortable, including Tom Hanks, who looked on in bafflement for much of the monologue, and Jonathan Pryce, one half of The Two Popes, who was grim and unsmiling when Gervais turned his film into the punchline of a pedophilia joke.
“No, shush,” he silenced the crowd at several points when audience members audibly protested, feigning exhausted scorn. “I don’t care anymore!”
Gervais’s most brutal jokes highlighted a number of industry shortcomings. He flatly called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the organization which votes on the Golden Globes — “racist,” and joked that most of the night’s attendees had been friends with Jeffrey Epstein. He especially dwelt on the industry’s hypocrisy, in an oddly didactic moment:
You say you’re woke but the companies you work for, unbelievable, Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you would call your agent, wouldn’t you? So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off.
Despite some discomfort at the outset, most of the celebrities under fire took Gervais’s commentary with good humor. Leonardo DiCaprio got a dig because of his notorious habit of dating women half his age — and to DiCaprio’s credit, he seemed to appreciate it. A raunchy joke about actress Judi Dench’s bizarre turn in Cats drew both cringes and delight. And Martin Scorsese laughed along at Gervais’s joke that he was too short to ride the rides at theme parks.
So by the time Gervais’s monologue was done, most of the audience seemed to have settled into a spirit of self-mockery — and Gervais had clearly set the tone for the evening.
Read the full transcript of Gervais’s opening monologue below:
Hello and welcome to the 77th annual Golden Globe awards, live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel here in Los Angeles. I’m Ricky Gervais. Thank you. You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards, so I don’t care anymore. I’m joking — I never did. NBC clearly don’t care either, this time. I mean, Kevin Hart was fired from the Oscars because of some offensive tweets... Hello? [Gervais points to himself]
Lucky for me, the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English, and they have no idea. So I got offered this gig by fax. So let’s go out with a bang — let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we? Remember, they’re just jokes — we’re all going to die soon, and there’s no sequel.
You all look lovely, dolled up. You came here in your limos. I came here in a limo tonight, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman. No, shush. It’s her daughter I feel sorry for, okay? That must be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her. And her dad was in Wild Hogs.
Lots of big celebrities here tonight. I mean, legends, icons, yeah? This table alone: Al Pacino, Robert de Niro. Baby Yoda. That’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you, man, don’t have me whacked.
But tonight isn’t just about the people in front of the camera. In this room are some of the most important TV and film executives in the world, people from every background. But they all have one thing in common — they’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow. He’s coming for you. He’s coming for you.
Look, talking of all you perverts, it was a big year, Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes. Shut up, shut up — I don’t care, I don’t care! Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that. The Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist. (Fifth time!)
We were going to do an “In Memoriam” this year, but when I saw the list of people that died, it wasn’t diverse enough. No, it was mostly white people, and I thought, “Nah, not on my watch.” Maybe next year — let’s see what happens.
No one cares about movies anymore, no one goes to cinema, no one really watches network TV. Everyone’s watching Netflix. This show should just be me coming out, going, “Well done, Netflix, you win everything. Goodnight.” But no, we’ve got to drag it out three hours.
You could binge-watch the entire first season of After Life [Gervais’s 2019 dramedy series] instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself because his wife dies of cancer — and it’s still more fun than this, okay? Spoiler alert, season two is on the way, so in the end, obviously he didn’t kill himself — just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care! You had to make your own way here on your own plane, didn’t you?
But seriously, most films are awful, lazy. Remakes, sequels. I’ve heard a rumor there might be a sequel to Sophie’s Choice. That would just be Meryl Streep going, “Well, it’s just got to be this one, then.”
All the best actors have jumped to Netflix and HBO. You know the actors who just do Hollywood movies do fantasy adventure nonsense. They wear masks and capes and really tight costumes. Their job isn’t acting anymore, it’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids. Really, do we have an award for most ripped junkie? No point, we know who would win that.
Martin Scorsese, the greatest living director, made the news for his controversial comments about the Marvel franchise. He said they’re not real cinema and they remind him of theme parks. I agree, although I don’t know what he’s doing hanging around theme parks. He’s not big enough to go on the rides!
The Irishman was amazing. Long, but amazing. It wasn’t the only epic movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nearly three hours long — Leonardo DiCaprio attended the preview and by the end, his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like, come on, Leo, mate, you’re nearly 50!
The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy. He was also in the movie Cats.
But no one saw that, and the reviews, oh, shocking. I saw one that said “This is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs.” But dame Judi Dench defended the film, saying it was the role she was born to play because she — [laughing] — I can’t do this next joke. Because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg, and licking her ...
[Coughs] Fur ball! She’s old school! It’s the last time, who cares?
Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. You say you’re woke but the companies you work for, unbelievable, Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you? So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off.