Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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23.01.2011

Ricky Gervais offends … actually, I don’t know whom

Normally I think Piers Morgan is a plonker, and the time Jeremy Clarkson punched him at the BAFTAs remains one of entertainment’s best stories.
   However, I have enjoyed Life Stories, and he has been a worthy successor, in my mind, to Larry King. Of course it’s not the same show, but the important thing about interview shows is getting the guest to talk (Jonathan Ross take note). The Ricky Gervais interview was the first Piers Morgan Tonight I have seen.
   As to Gervais hosting the Golden Globes, I didn’t have a problem with his jokes. There were no jokes based on race or sexuality, as Gervais says in his interview (embedded below). I don’t believe he’s even offended anyone who’s religious. There were plenty about the Hollywood machine and current affairs. It just so happens that a lot of the people in that room are the subject of what society deems ‘current affairs’ today. And don’t people love topical humour?

   I have a lot of contacts Stateside and none have mentioned to me that they were offended. So all these media reports, mainly from the US, making Gervais out to have offended so many don’t ring true to me. Have most of these journalists gone up to some of Gervais’s roasted victims and enquired?
   A few journalists have tried to get some quotations, but they’re in the minority. One Hollywood Foreign Press Association rep was apparently offended, and that ‘several celebrities’ called up with complaints. Yeah, so offended that (s)he wouldn’t put his or her name to the remark, and revealed that the Association was not above reprimanding someone because they didn’t share the same sense of humour. And here I was, thinking the Golden Globes were supposed to be about the work. Maybe not:

Ricky will not be invited back to host the show next year, for sure … For sure any movie he makes he can forget about getting nominated. He humiliated the organization last night and went too far with several celebrities whose representatives have already called to complain.’

If that’s how the Association works unofficially, maybe Gervais was 100 per cent right to have aimed some of the jokes at it. (As to which member this was, find the one who keeps saying ‘For sure’, has a narrow mind, can’t see much worth in their name, and is the sort of person who thinks it’s right to target Gervais in their work but that it’s wrong for Gervais to target others in his.) The member might not have realized that even prior to hosting, Gervais said he wouldn’t be back for 2012.
   I agree with Gervais’s hint, though he does not say this expressly in Piers Morgan Tonight, that if some of these celebs were actually so narrow-minded as to be offended, they would not have got to where they are. In some of the post-Globes coverage I’ve seen at Lucire, there is no mention of celebrities fuming at one of the parties out of offence. You’d have to be quite petty to have a Ricky Gervais joke spoil your evening—because you’d then have to go after every single journo who wrote a cross word about you, and a not unsubstantial number of bloggers, too.
   So some reps apparently called the Association. Reps making mountains out of molehills to show their indispensability, perhaps?
   This isn’t about a US–UK humour divide, either, though I saw one remark that a British host could get away with this style in Britain. Didn’t the Americans come up with The Simpsons, whose early episodes had this very sort of humour, or The Critic and Family Guy? Or, if we are to look at live-action, Murphy Brown? Doesn’t Jon Stewart do something like this every weekday? Aren’t Sarah Palin jokes the sort of fodder Hollywood types engage in on an hourly basis?
   It’s too bad, because the 2012 Golden Globes’ ceremony will likely be a tepid affair hosted by someone entirely inappropriate and lacking. Just because a few prima donnas got their knickers in a twist because of their own behaviour (how dare Gervais talk about something that everyone knows about!), and a few other people got offended on behalf of some celebrities who themselves have already shrugged off the jokes.

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Filed under: culture, humour, interests, media, TV, UK, USA—Jack Yan @ 04.54

2 Responses to ‘Ricky Gervais offends … actually, I don’t know whom’

  1. jaklumen says:

    I just haven’t the time, bandwidth, and patience to effectively go through all the videos, but… I am familiar with Gervais’s standup routine (Cimmy’s watched a few clips).

    I don’t believe he’s even offended anyone who’s religious.

    No, he hasn’t, to my knowledge, well, not anyone laid back and reasonable, anyways. He’s talked about the problem of forcing one’s views on another– and that’s not even exclusively the province of atheism. Many of us who are religious feel that way. Of course, the louder of the aforementioned groups do like to argue against each other, don’t they?

    As to his Britishness… well, I don’t know what to say. I don’t think brash comedy is quite en vogue in the States at the moment (Andrew Dice Clay was the last big obvious example I can think of offhand), and lately, well, sorry, Jack, I keep hearing Brits and Aussies (no Kiwis yet I know of) defending their senses of humor with “we take the piss with everybody”, which generally tells me they are rather insecure, bullying, and insensitive. I dunno. This comes and goes and I’m sure everyone takes a turn at it around the world. I know the world sometimes thinks the U.S. is so arrogant… but, y’know, hard to know where to point the finger if you haven’t been guilty yourself.

    But Ricky Gervais is hardly a standout example of that. There are other comedians far more deserving of the ancient title of “fool”.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    Americans are, on the whole, better mannered, based on my speaking there, but I think there’s not that big a divide overall. I don’t remember much from Dice Clay, but when I think about it, Letterman is pretty abusive every night toward someone (Regis Philbin and John McCain get the brunt of his elderly jokes, though Letterman is no spring chicken).
       The British do indeed take it to a greater extreme in terms of being inappropriate, though the best comp­ère I have seen in recent years was Stephen Fry at the BAFTAs. That showed class and wit, something which many MCs lack.

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