Did you happen to see Ricky Gervais hosting the golden globes last night? It is said he did it without a script. He was very funny, bitingly funny, and it is quite possible that he went too far in his roasting of some of the presenters (his main job was introducing presenters). Not being very knowledgeable about Hollywood and stuff, I did not get most of his jokes, so I have no idea. It does seem, though, that some of the presenters reacted as though this was the case.

However, it is also true that he ended his presentation, as the credits were starting to roll by, with the statement “I thank god … that he made me an atheist.”

So, given the way things work ’round here, we have to ask the question: Is the fact that Ricky Gervais is getting roasted in American Newspapers and on the AM news shows (and he is) because he was being a dick or because he is godless?

Did you see it? Have you observed any Gervais roasting? What do you think?


Apparently, there is at least something of a move to actually blacklist Gervais in Hollywood by the Hollywood Foreign Press.

“Ricky will not be invited back to host the show next year, for sure,” a member of the HFPA tells me, adding that Gervais’ relentlessly mean shtick could have even larger consequences. “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.”

(Quoted in this blog post)

Fancy that. A foreign press association blacklisting a British comedian on American soil. Well, if that’s the way they want it, I’ll not be watching the Golden Globes again, ever. Never watched them before, either … I only did this time because I wanted to see Ricky Gervais.

What I find most amazing is this: The primary victim of Gervais’s roasting commentary was Mel Gibson. Getting upset becasue someone trashes Mel Gibson is like getting upset that someone has taken out the trash.


  1. #1 Everyday Atheist
    January 17, 2011

    Gervais was hilarious. Yes, he took the piss out of several stars in rather biting fashion, but c’mon. He’s Ricky Gervais. The producers knew what they were getting into when they hired him, not least because he hosted last year as well. His jokes were no worse than Robert Downey Jr.’s sexual innuendo-heavy presentation, or Robert DeNiro’s borderline racist crack about all the waiters at the event being deported.

    The “thank God for making me an atheist line” was the very last thing he said, so I just barely caught it. But my wife and I busted a gut when we heard him. That was a very big middle finger at religion, in a very widely viewed forum. I say good on him for making such a bold public declaration. As the kids say these days, it’s on!

  2. #2 Jim
    January 17, 2011

    I saw it on YouTube, he did exactly the same thing as he’s done when hosting other award ceremonies or presenting awards (Emmys, etc.) so to get all upset now is disengenuous. They knew what they were getting. He’s done another brilliant job of promoting himself and I’m sure he’ll be invited to host other ceremonies in future. And if not, I don’t think he’ll mind too much. He makes more money from the various incarnations of The Office than he can ever spend.

  3. #3 Chris
    January 17, 2011

    Each time some religio thanks god or praises jesus for their accomplishments I find it annoying. I didn’t see anyone do that on the Globes, but I was not watching the whole time. If Gervais’ was the only proclamation of creed you will hear complaints about it, too bad some famous H-wood star did not praise god. The contrast would have been tastier.

  4. #4 Andrea
    January 17, 2011

    I loved the fact that he drank a glass of 16 ounces of booze. I’m sure it was Apple Juice, but still, it was funny.

  5. #5 Susan
    January 17, 2011

    I have not heard my local news mention the atheism quip, but did say he is unlikely to be invited back ever. He was “a little abrasive.”

  6. #6 Vince
    January 17, 2011

    Damn. I missed it,

  7. #7 Chopper Vance
    January 17, 2011

    Sure, the stars he lampooned were all mad at him, but the moment he said the atheist thing at the end, I’m sure they forgave him instantly.

  8. #8 A watcher
    January 17, 2011

    Fox: “In his final wrap-up, Gervais thanked the audience, the HFPA, the viewers at home, and “God for making me an atheist.”

    Ba dum bum.

    One star not afraid to admit she wasn’t amused was fellow Brit, Jane Seymour.

    “What I saw didn’t seem terribly funny. I don’t think he’ll be invited back to do it next year, not in a hurry,” the former “Bond” girl told FOX411’s Pop Tarts at the Relativity Media and Weinstein Post Golden Globes Party presented by Marie Claire. “I just think it’s about how it’s done. The way it came across and the way it was being received, I think there was a general feeling in the room that ‘this isn’t appropriate.’””


  9. #9 GegorgeC
    January 17, 2011

    Saw it, loved it.

  10. #10 Stew
    January 17, 2011

    He was a typical athiest, a complet dick, the whole time. He should not be invited back under any circumstanses.

  11. #11 Aegis Linnear
    January 17, 2011

    Always amusing to hear barbs about ‘typical atheists’ from those who can’t spell the word. With such detailed knowledge of atheism, of course they must know what’s typical among us.

  12. #12 patina
    January 17, 2011

    Fox news would find the one person who hated it. Haters, they are.

  13. #13 valdemar
    January 17, 2011

    Proud to be a British atheist like RG. He actually said something vaguely interesting while hosting an award ceremony. Is this some kind of record?

    As for the criticism – if only he’d issued a few death threats to abortion doctors Fox News would be falling over themselves to see both sides of the argument. Hypocritical Murdoch scum, is my balanced opinion of them.

  14. #14 O'Hara
    January 17, 2011

    I’m sure there have already been death threats.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    January 17, 2011
  16. #16 Andrew
    January 17, 2011

    I can not think of having seen that any other time, the “I am an atheist” mention. Cool.

  17. #17 Anonymous
    January 17, 2011

    I suppose Dave Mabus will not incorporate this into his infernal emails.

  18. #18 Steve Caldwell
    January 17, 2011

    You may want to check out this Washington Post web site coverage of the Golden Globes along with the reader comments:

    “‘Glee’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ soar while Ricky Gervais crashes at Golden Globes”

    Apparently, the TV columnist and the readers were watching different TV shows. At the time of my writing this, every reader comment is favorable towards Ricky Gervais humor and several readers suggested that the TV columnist is more concerned with sucking up to Hollywood that writing honest journalism.

    Remember that several journalists reported that Stephen Colbert bombed during the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. Often, it appears that the journalists who cover politicians or celebrities identify more with their journalistic subjects than they do with the public they allegedly serve.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    January 17, 2011

    Steve, excellent point.

  20. #20 anatheist
    January 17, 2011

    Those of you bashing atheists, we’re sick of it, so just stop it. Show some damned respect. The world would be a better place without you crazy psychopathic religious nuts.

    Think I’m being a hypocrite asking for respect and then having a go at religion? Well if atheists terrorised children with tales of hell, blew themselves up to die martyrs or mutilated the genitalia of their children, we wouldn’t deserve respect either.

  21. #21 Paul
    January 17, 2011

    There should be a rule that all “true atheists” praise their belief system by thanking god for making them an atheist while in public.

  22. #22 RickyWho
    January 17, 2011

    Okay. First, I loved Extras. I never tried “The Office”..been there done that in my work life,
    and I’m actually afraid to see something to close to my reality. I love Karl, and the whole Pilkington bit. So, I am a fan of Ricky. But gaining great wealth, having great talent, can also build a great EGO, and sometimes that EGO can become so obnoxious that even loyal fans will tire of it. And as far as the “religion” aspect. I have my own beliefs. And I don’t like having the “Born Again Go to Church Every Sunday” folks ramming their “perceptions” of what they believe their faith is about…down my throat. And the same time, I don’t like atheists mocking those that get comfort in faith. Ricky hit the jackpot as far as his life is concerned…a unique set of circumstances came about to bring Ricky, Karl and Steve together. “fate” “chance”, whatever. if not for that, Ricky would be an unknown. I’m not impressed with his unfounded ego. And I’m quickly getting turned off by his seeming love for himself.

  23. #23 Wow
    January 17, 2011

    Hey, I’ve heard that atheism is a religion too. So why not show some tolerance for the religion of atheism, as opposed to continual sniping over it?

    PS any one know what “to ath” is? Just so I know whether I’m the ath-iest person I know…

  24. #24 cubefarmed
    January 17, 2011

    Personally, I <3 Ricky Gervais and his humor. The more caustic, biting, satirical, or ironic the humor the harder I laugh. I do realize that it's mean of me at times. But, I figure being at the bottom of the corporate ladder and being treated as a peon all day makes me a bit bitter 🙂

    Ego issues aside - Was there anything he said that was a lie? I think he's just made a successful career out of saying what a lot of people are thinking but too polite to speak aloud. Good on him for being able to deliver it with some comedic value attached! It's not for everyone, certainly. But he's been doing this for years now. And if the people who hired him thought he was going to play nice then they need their heads examined. It really does remind me of Colbert skewering the Bush Admin during the press dinner that year. Seriously. There's no reason to assume they didn't know what they were getting when they asked him to host.

    As for the closing line about being an atheist... FINALLY! All the people who stand up there and thank God or Jesus for their own hard work and talent needed to be poked at.

  25. #25 cubefarmed
    January 17, 2011

    Whoops. Borked that first line. I meant to say that personally, I love his humor. The more caustic, biting, satirical, and ironic it is the harder I laugh. Even though I know it’s a bit mean of me.

  26. #26 Hank Fox
    January 17, 2011

    My first reaction was “Oh, what a good idea. Golden Globes is tossing out peanuts for the pigeons.”

    Other than Snooki baring her tits on stage while Howard Stern set Sarah Palin on fire, nothing could have started the tongues wagging more than what happened.

    It might be “location, location, location” in real estate, but in entertainment media, it’s “publicity, publicity, publicity.”

    Golden Globes DELIBERATELY contracted with Ricky Gervais for this result.

    Every person attending was fully aware of what was about to happen. Every news media personality commenting on the show afterwards was riding the coattails of the show in a win-win extravaganza of shock.

    The fact that we’re talking about it is proof, 1) that fairly intelligent people are often as predictable as dumb ones, and 2) that the carefully engineered plan worked.

    When you have a nail to be pounded, you reach for the right tool — a hammer. When you have publicity to be garnered, you reach for the right tool — in this case manufactured outrage.

    The Golden Globes have a higher profile, Ricky Gervais is more famous than ever, and every entertainment news conduit, print and broadcast, has juicy stuff to fill the pages and hours.

    As to us here talking about it … we get the peanuts.

  27. #27 Gavin
    January 17, 2011

    Last night Gervais was the Colbert equivalent to the Washington Press Corp. They didn’t get the jokes ’cause they were the punchline.

    And is there anyone more ridiculous than Robert Downey Jr. anywhere? He was the feller who comes on stage all righteously indignant over Gervais ripping him for his past and numerous drug charges, and then goes on to make a speech about how he wants to have an orgy will all five of the best actress nominees.

    Stay classy Robert – for a second.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    January 17, 2011

    Hank: Sure, sure, but there is a specific point being made here. I’m sure they got Gervais for the exact reasons you state, but there is no reason to assume that they knew he was going to make the atheist remark at the end. Maybe, but probably not.

    He hosted the show last year, and the talk before this year was not pre-shock and pre-disapproval, it was rather titillated and even inviting. My question here is, did the mention of atheism cause the TV commentators who would have normally reveled in the roastiness of the event to revel instead in the mean spirited nastiness of it. This is especially obvious when one station showed Robert Downey Jr.’s reaction and stated that he was obviously very pissed, when he obviously wasn’t. (Well, at least, I didn’t think he was at the time.)

    My question is not about the obvious shock and awe tactics of Hollywood, but whether or not there was a shift in reaction, say from last year to this year, because Gervais said the magic (non-magic) word.

  29. #29 Susan
    January 17, 2011

    I am not sure if Downing was happy or not with the comments, but he was at least owning up to his part in the joke, and he did, technically, say something positive.

  30. #30 Rickey Fan
    January 17, 2011

    Rickey can dish it out and he can take it. They will have him back.

  31. #31 Charlotte
    January 17, 2011

    Not a pariah, but something of a piranha. In a good way.

  32. #32 david
    January 17, 2011

    Tina Fey looked bored. That pretty much said it all. I think the defense of Gervais here is a strawman’s argument. The point isn’t that celebrities need to take a joke. But there’s a level of skill involved and delivery involved that makes you laugh with them. But when there’s a barrage of roasting over and over and over and over again, it loses it’s shock value. It should never be whole routine. Because then you just exhaust people.

    Without Gervais himself delivering the lines, it was basically Jay Leno’s routine. I love Gervais’s comedy like everyone else, but I’m not a fanboy. he was lazy this time around.

  33. #33 Hank Fox
    January 17, 2011

    Longer version of what I said above:


  34. #34 Paco
    January 17, 2011

    A.) He was paid to be a dick.
    B.) The press knew he was going to be a dick. The press corps getting the vapors is pure bullshit posing. (What’s new?)
    C.) He doesn’t care because any press is good press.
    D.) He (and any intelligent person) would only waste time being involved or watching such drivel if he were paid handsomely. I was not and therefore did not watch. Ricky was, and participated.
    E.) Ricky is one funny mofo!!!

  35. #35 rob
    January 17, 2011

    entertainment news. yawn.

    movie stars are like trolls on teh intertubes. if you feed them, they won’t go away!1!!1!11!!!

  36. #36 Camels With Hammers
    January 17, 2011

    Early on in the broadcast, I said he’s doing such a great job cracking me up that the critics will certainly kill him. Every time I love an award show hosting performance the host gets roasted. And it’s usually because the host makes the grave error of actually firing off jokes that go for the jugular. Gervais was no exception.

  37. #37 Joe
    January 17, 2011

    Nice navel gazing, Greg. The (media and celebrity-driven) backlash was all about how “mean” he was. No one has mentioned his atheistic comment as reason for the criticism. But you go ahead and keep searching for lame things like this to validate your apparent world-view that people are hated because they are atheists.

  38. #38 lisa
    January 17, 2011

    The meanness didnt bother me. It was just flat. I think his stand up days are over and he should go back to writing. Maybe Merchant should have written his jokes. Hes getting to be like the people he mocks.

  39. #39 Lorax
    January 17, 2011

    @ Joe, I read a few of the comment sections for some of the articles about the GG (didn’t watch it myself). “The OMG an atheist!! Lord save us” meme shows up quite quickly and gains steam. Maybe the articles don’t highlight the fact, but I presume journalists know what gets people talking.

    Regardless, my interpretation into Greg’s navel gazing was the question, is the media- and celebrity-driven backlash due to the closing statement or not. You might have missed that, because it was subtly hidden in this thing called a blogpost title.

  40. #40 Gale
    January 17, 2011

    Hollywood — oh, shoot, everyone!— should start a petition to deport this very unfunny, rude jerk!

  41. #41 Joe
    January 17, 2011

    @Lomax, I, too, read a number of articles and reader comments on the issue, and I haven’t seen ONE “OMG an atheist” comment. Then again, I’ve been reading Hollywood and entertainment blogs, not belief.net, since this is a Hollywood topic. Most of the commenters I’ve read, actually, have been in support of Gervais – it’s been some celebrities and “journalists” who have been critical (see the WAPO blog linked in comment 18 above for a perfect example).

    And I also saw what you did there with your (un)subtle dig that I don’t know how to read a blogpost title. I do, thank you, and the title contains the exact navel-gazing I was talking about. Greg asks, and I quote: “Is the fact that Ricky Gervais is getting roasted in American Newspapers and on the AM news shows (and he is) because he was being a dick or because he is godless?” Well, since he knows Gervais is getting “roasted,” he need only read those “roastings” to see that it was due to Gervais’ mocking of Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Hefner, Tom Cruise, and many other Hollywood actors. There is NOTHING to suggest the backlash was due to atheism, which is probably seen more as a positive than a negative by those in that industry, anyway.

  42. #42 Greg Laden
    January 17, 2011

    Joe, I am in fact asking if there is a difference because of the atheism remark. You seem to be arguing that there is not . I appreciate having your opinion posted here.

  43. #43 megan
    January 17, 2011

    The increased vindictive comments by the presenters during and post the show meant to me they were already ready to turn on Gervais, looking to take down a newly elevated mogul. The fact Ricky added the barely heard/known comment about thanking a god for making him atheist seems just a cherry on the top for the normally religious conservative crowd in media celebrity commentators. FauxNews hates Hollywood anyway, so the fact they are affronted about Gervais’ rudeness is really a way to comment on his known atheistic opinions.

  44. #44 Chris Taus
    January 17, 2011

    Fantastic Host!! The only good thing about this grinder of a show was Ricky the reactions of the little plastic stars seated at the tables. Too bad we couldn’t have seen a little more banter with Carrell. Hey, if you can’t handle the truth, don’t show up for the gig. “The Tourist”?? Make that movie and you better expect to get jammed up by Ricky!

  45. #45 Alice
    January 17, 2011

    megan I don’t think “mogul” means what you think it means.

  46. #46 megan
    January 17, 2011

    @Alice I knew EXACTLY what I meant using the word, by context one would/should assume I was referring to the oft used term ‘Media Mogul’ which Gervias has become.

    Media Mogul, a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position, any media enterprise.

    You, Alice, must not be conversant in the various uses of the English word. Your loss not my mistake.

  47. #47 Alice
    January 17, 2011

    Megan, you’re right. I’ve looked him up. I did not know he was such a mogul. I thought he was just a very popular comedian.

  48. #48 UPDATED
    January 18, 2011

    Like I said, updated.

  49. #49 sasqwatch
    January 18, 2011

    I think the pillorying of Ricky in the popular press is a particularly American response to a British style of roasting. It seems like here we give license for people to do this ONLY at “roasts”, where there are obvious winks and nods and other concessions to the irony and humor-impaired.

    For the Brits I know (I’m American), Ricky’s jibes were a walk in the park. It’s called “taking the Mickey” out of people, and is common practice nearly anywhere there is a social gathering. I also saw the interview with Gervais where he said he felt he had held back too much in the previous year – and that he would punch it up a bit. Whether that was spinning the event as a “mogul”, I don’t know… it sure looks like it. But on the face of it, I don’t think he was being a Dick… just being a Brit, and a damned funny one at that.

    What you’re supposed to do when someone takes the Mickey out of you is to come up with a retort that returns the favor – esp. one that is done with understatement or double entendre. It’s all good fun. That the mainstream American cultural retort seems to be to get all indignant then call the legal team – makes me a bit embarrassed.

    Seems like the atheist message/issue is really a sidetrack to the main issue: cultural differences between Brits and Yanks. Same goes for speaking ill of the dead. The Brits take the opportunity to say precisely what’s on everybody’s minds. Americans tut-tut and feign shock and indignation, mostly for the benefit of “other” Americans (or *gasp* the chiiildrennnn) that they imagine are horrified.

  50. #50 Sam N
    January 18, 2011

    This article indicating that conservatives rather liked Gervais’ performance as host indicates that the criticism is probably not motivated by Gervais’ atheism:


  51. #51 Tom S.
    January 18, 2011

    Up is down, inside is outside, the world is spinning … spinning …

    that was not expected, Sam

  52. #52 MikeN
    January 19, 2011

    I’d agree with Sasqwatch here- just compare the original BBC “The Office” with the American version- or basically any other US adaptation of a UK comedy, starting from “Till Death Us Do Part” vs “All in the Family”.

    Or witness a British interview of a politician with the American vsriety- I remember the shock and horror in the US press when a young Irish interviewer dared to ask pointed questions of Codleeza Rice, and insisted on calling her on it when she was spewing obvious BS.

    Steve Caldwell is spot on, too. There is a cozy relationship in most areas between journalists and their subjects, including sport and (especially) religious reporters

    I would say in this case that- surprisingly- the atheism thing hasn’t been played up at all. Maybe it’s because the usual right-wing wackos hate Hollywood as much as they hate atheists, and so haven’t wanted to jump in to play attck dog.

  53. #53 V. infernalis
    January 24, 2011

    Counterpoint to #50 – Looks like it really was the atheism comment that ruffled everyone’s feathers:

    What caused real grief at NBC, the network that broadcasts the Globes, and among those of the organisers who leaked that Gervais had “crossed a line” was the presenter’s final quip as he exited.


  54. #54 eric
    January 30, 2011

    You’re suggesting present-day Hollywood and the media is blacklisting someone for being an atheist? Really? Gee, you wouldn’t have an agenda of your own, would you?

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    January 31, 2011

    Eric, I was asking, not suggesting. What does that mean about my “agenda”? What does your assuming I have a “agenda” of a certain sort tell us about …

    … your agenda?

  56. #56 Chaim Paddaman
    February 10, 2012

    Ricky Gervais the liberal humanist who exploits the mentally disabled and vulnerable for commercial and comedy purposes. He thanks “God” that he is an atheist. So do we. Gervais is a yellow pussy who only hits on safe and soft targets. He now cries crocodile tears over a deceased bear. Does he think we are stupid? His publicist could have come up with something more creative and original. It is an old recycled soundbite frequently used for damage limitation control. What a rancid soul…