Members of the Television Critics Association have grown accustomed to Ricky Gervais visiting us via satellite from Across the Pond, but on Friday (January 13) morning, reporters were treated to Gervais in the flesh.
Gervais was able to drop by the TCA press tour panel for his new HBO comedy “Life’s Too Short” because he’s already in Los Angeles. As you may have heard, the “Office” and “Extras” creator is preparing for his third tour of duty as host of the Golden Globe and for his third tour of duty as lightning rod for trumped up Hollywood controversy.
“I wasn’t going to do it a third time, but then I kept reading reports, press saying ‘You’ll never be invited back.’ So I did it to annoy them,” Gervais told reporters, many of whom probably wrote similar reports.
Asked if he was nervous about Sunday’s telecast, Gervais cracked that he hadn’t been nervous previously, but he is now.
“What’s the worst that could happen? I end my career once a week, if you read the press,” Gervais cracked. “I only do things that can end my career. That’s my fun. That’s my extreme sport.”
It’s obvious, though, that he doesn’t especially care about reviews of his performances or the possibility of irritating more sensitive members of the entertainment community. I can surmise that conclusion because, well, Gervais says so.
“If you get final edit, which i do and I demand… nothing else matters, and you’re bulletproof. If I’m happy with my performance. I’m a considerate comedian. I don’t view comedy as your conscience taking a day off… I stand by it, like I did every joke I did last year. And I don’t care what people think,” Gervais said.
And it’s equally obvious that even some of the most seemingly irate of Gervais’ celebrity targets were merely playing offended on previous Golden Globes nights. Johnny Depp, for example, appears as himself on “Life’s Too Short,” lampooning his own degree of feigned irritation.
“I said, ‘Sorry about the Golden Globes, do you want to get your own back?'” Gervais said of his via-text pitch to Depp.
When a critic mentioned that bets were being taken in some circles on which stars will be Gervais’ targets on Sunday — and also asked a preview — the cheeky host seemed simultaneously amused and bemused.
“I have specific targets, yeah. I’ve written the gags. But ‘targets’ isn’t a word I’d use. ‘Subjects.’ Why are they betting on who I’ll – what sort of a bet is that? Really? Ugh! I’m going to do a monologue about the year, and then introduce six or seven people throughout the show like I did last year,” Gervais said.
He continued, “But I’ve got nothing against any of those people in the room. I’ve worked with many of them, I like many of them, I admire most of them. They’re just gags. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or give them a bad night or undermine the moral fabric of America. I’m a comedia. I’d rather they laugh than gasp, but I cherish the gasps along with the laughs. I don’t know. I think that everyone took it well. I don’t know who was really outraged last year. Everyone I spoke to… was cool with it. If someone says, “I’m outraged,” then there was outrage. What did I say that was so outrageous? Oh, yeah, I just remembered…”
As always, you can check out HitFix on Sunday night for full Golden Globes coverage.