Ricky Gervais knowingly set Hollywood up for a glittering failure on Sunday. I’m not sure it was the best ever, but his opening monologue at the Golden Globes deserves to go down in award show history for its definitive and explicit rebuke of one of the season’s grandest traditions—and one of the industry’s most iconic blindspots: the political acceptance speech.
“You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world,” he told the room of insiders. “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 f-ck off.”
But it wasn’t to be. Patricia Arquette and Michelle Williams, no strangers to this genre of acceptance speech, both spent their allotted time on politics. Arquette, on President Trump. Williams (who is reportedly pregnant), on abortion. The crowd, it should be noted, went wild. (There was also plenty of chatter about climate change, inspired mostly by the wildfires raging across Australia.)
It was boring and tedious and predictable. But it was also exactly what Gervais preemptively discredited.
Gervais, elbows sharp as ever, cleverly got the glamorous crowd to groan before a national audience over jabs at their associations with Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein. He shredded the credibility of Hollywood’s progressive politics: “You say you’re woke but the companies you work for—Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?” (Tim Cook was in the audience.)
And he did all of this to their faces. Surely, conservative approval for his routine means Gervais will be summarily dismissed as a MAGA stooge. (A laughable charge, considering his political persuasions.) No matter, the audience saw what it saw, and what it saw was three hours of oblivious point-proving.
Of course, Gervais knew that’s how the show would unfold. He just happened to be clever enough to finally give all the blather its proper framing.
As far as Globes broadcasts go, this was a good one, and not just thanks to Gervais. The nominees were strong, and yielded plenty of camera time for A-listers. But after nearly five years of life in the Trump timeline, an era where Hollywood’s supply of sanctimony has been dramatically at odds with its supply of moral credibility, this year’s Globes deserve to be remembered as the time Gervais finally said what everyone outside Tinseltown has been thinking.
“Have a great time. Get drunk. Take your drugs,” he signed off.
Here’s the full transcript of the opening monologue:
“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. I’m joking, I never did. NBC clearly don’t care either — fifth time. I mean, Kevin Heart was fired from the Oscars for some offensive tweets — hello?
Lucky for me, the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English and they’ve no idea what Twitter is, so I got offered this gig by fax. Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense. Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, so remember that.
But you all look lovely all 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. OK? 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. Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, 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. They all have one thing in common: They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow. He’s coming for ya. Talking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. 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. Hollywood Foreign press are all very racist. Fifth time. So. We were going to do an In-Memoriam this year, but when I saw the list of people who 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 is watching Netflix. This show should just be me coming out, going, “Well done Netflix. You win everything. Good night.” But no, we got to drag it out for three hours. You could binge-watch the entire first season of Afterlife instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself cause his wife dies of cancer and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.
Seriously, most films are awful. Lazy. Remakes, sequels. I’ve heard a rumor there might be a sequel to Sophie’s Choice. I mean, that would just be Meryl just going, “Well, it’s gotta be this one then.” All the best actors have jumped to Netflix, HBO. And the actors who just do Hollywood movies now 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. Have we got an award for most ripped junky? No point, we’d know who’d win that.
Martin Scorsese made the news for his controversial comments about the Marvel franchise. He said they’re not real cinema and they remind him about 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. He’s tiny. The Irishman was amazing. It was amazing. It was great. Long, but amazing. It wasn’t the only epic movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like, “Come on, Leo, mate.You’re nearly 50-something.”
The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy. He was also in the movie Cats. No one saw that movie. And the reviews, 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 film she was born to play because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg and licking her ass. (Coughs) Hairball. 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 the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — 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. 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, OK? It’s already three hours long. Right, let’s do the first award.”