Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Last week it was announced that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host next year’s Golden Globes Awards. My first thought was: “That’s a great idea. They’re very funny together.” My second was: “Who cares, it’s the Golden Globes?” and my third was: “Oh good, I’ll be spared another smug insufferable performance by Ricky Gervais.”
The sad thing is I used to love Ricky Gervais. I still feel the British version of THE OFFICE was genius. And he managed to someone create the most interesting original comic character in decades. His first few appearances on talk shows were great fun. He brought a devilishly pixyish personality to the dance that was very refreshing.
And then something happened. He just started wearing out his welcome. I remember seeing his stand-up special on HBO and being disappointed. And his TV appearances started feeling smug and oddly hostile.
I gave his HBO series EXTRAS a try and will admit there were a few bits that I thought were inspired. The “racist test” for one. But a lot of it left me just sitting there. I felt he was doing the whole series to entertain eight of his show business friends.
Then his “bad boy” Golden Globes hosting gigs – this is what I wrote about this year’s affair:
After staging a full-on media blitz to proclaim how daring and offensive he planned to be, Ricky Gervais was a giant bust. MODERN FAMILY’s Steve Levitan was funnier in his three-minute acceptance speech than Gervais was the entire night.
At some point over the last few years I realized I wasn’t laughing anymore at Ricky Gervais. I was shouting “Fuck you” to the TV every time he opened his mouth. This is a sure sign of falling out of love.
I tried to figure out what the turn was, what soured me on this humorist I once greatly admired? I wanted to know, and I also wanted something constructive to include in this post so it wasn’t just five paragraphs of me bashing someone. After much mulling, here’s what I’ve come up with as an explanation:
We love when edgy comics speak for us, say the things we wish we could say, make fun of the sacred cows we too feel deserved it. So it’s very much a you and me against all of them mentality.
But sometimes comics drift into me against all of you. That’s what I think happened to Ricky Gervais. The smirk, the swagger, the massive ego – I don’t find him as pixyish when his contempt is aimed at me.
But what do you think? Am I right about Ricky Gervais? Or am I just Ed Asner in UP?
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM