The Golden Globes

I watched the Golden Globes last night, felt disappointed that The King’s Speech didn’t garner more awards (Colin Firth won Best Actor for his role as King George VI), loved some of the dresses, wondered at others, and genuinely hope NBC doesn’t rehire Ricky Gervais to host the Globes next year.

I understand that Gervais is regarded as a comedy genius, that he writes and markets beautifully. I’ve seen the UK “The Office” (the original which spawned Steve Carell’s American version), and agree, yes, it’s funny, in a biting and overtly sexualized way. I accept that Gervais is intensely popular in Britain.

None of that makes him the right person to host the Globes – or any other American awards show.

The problem with Gervais is he’s a bad fit. He’s not at all stupid, rather the reverse. That means he could – if he liked – tone it down for NBC. He could refrain from corrosive, vulgar or lascivious comments and gestures.

He could. He won’t.

That’s what makes him a bad fit.

I have no doubt that NBC warned him to keep it light. (They may also have offered a little word about drinking-while-hosting, but if so, Gervais ignored the hint. He began with a glass of beer on the podium and continued with what looked like white wine. Which seems a bad mix, even for a Brit.) Gervais knows American audiences are far different from British ones – two countries divided by one language make for dissimilar tastes in humor. He knows we’re not as likely to appreciate coarseness or insults. Yet Gervais soldiers on with his bitter, cringe-worthy comments.

Perhaps he thinks he’ll single-handedly change millions of us. Perhaps he views himself as a messiah of sorts, assigned by the gods of comedy to educate naïve American audiences.

If so, perhaps he ought to first explain his mission to his employers. Gervais was noticeably missing in action during much of the Globes broadcast. What retained him backstage? Did the long arm of NBC, like a vaudeville hook, keep him in the wings?

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