Today the news media, not to mention such social networkings sites as Twitter, were all abuzz with Ricky Gervais' performance as host of the Golden Globes ceremony last night. The majority of opinion was that Mr. Gervais was overly rude and disrespectful to the people the show was meant to honour. Indeed, he made reference to Robert Downey Jr.'s past problems. He joked about the age of the cast of Sex and the City 2. He even announced that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the folks who hand out the Golden Globe Awards) "took bribes." HPFA president Phil Berk stated that when one hires a comedian like Mr. Gervais, one must expect outrageous humour. He went onto say, "The HFPA would never condone some of his personal remarks. Overall, however, the show was among the best we've ever had." Despite the stance of the HPFA, however, the consensus of most of the press and many others is that Ricky Gervais should be fired as the show's host.
My own thought is that to a large degree the controversy over Ricky Gervais' hosting duties on the Golden Globes Awards is a tempest in a teapot. While I certainly do not condone many of Mr. Gervais' comments and I would not blame anyone if they took a horse whip to him, in the end I do not see that they are all that newsworthy.
First is the fact that I do not think the Golden Globe Awards themselves are newsworthy. In fact, I did not even bother to watch the ceremony last night (Ghost World was on KPLR--I only know of Ricky Gervais' remarks from coverage on television and internet). After all, it is hard for me to see how anyone could take the Golden Globes seriously. They are not given by the industry itself, as the Oscars or the various guild awards are. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association are simply a small group of journalists (only about 80 to 90 in all) who report entertainment news. To me this gives the Golden Globes about as much clout as the People's Choice Awards. It should then not be surprising that the Golden Globes are not a good forecast of the Oscars, no more than the various critics associations' awards. Finally, I guess I need not point out that the Golden Globes is nearly as well known for its scandals as it is for its awards (just read my first post on the subject). It seems to me that Hollywood and the media place an importance on the Golden Globes ceremony that it does not deserve.
Second, as HFPA president Phil Berk pointed out, when one hires a comedian like Ricky Gervais, one expects outrageous humour. Much of Mr. Gervais' comedy comes from being rude, disrespectful, and even hurtful. It is unrealistic to think that he would pull any punches simply because he is hosting an awards ceremony. Quite simply, the news media and Hollywood should not be shocked that Mr. Gervais insulted many celebrities. Being shocked at Mr. Gervais being insulting is like being shocked at there being water in the ocean.
Quite simply, between the relative unimportance of the Golden Globe Awards and the fact that Ricky Gervais was only doing what one would expect him to do, I fail to see why so much of the coverage of the awards focused on his hosting. Ricky Gervais insulted people? This is news? Next the press will be reporting that it is summer and it is hot....