Gervais crossed the line: HFPA

Ricky Gervais goes a little too far, says some really unacceptable things while hosting Golden Globes.

Hollywood Reporter January 18, 2011

LOS ANGELES: Add Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) president Philip Berk to the chorus of those who believe that Ricky Gervais went too far as host of the Golden Globes on Sunday night. However, the diplomatic Berk remains mum on whether he will or will not support Gervais coming back next year but commented saying, “Some of the things he said were totally unacceptable.”

The head of the group responsible for the awards show says that while he felt the show itself was “terrific,” he too felt that Gervais’ jokes about specific celebrities were a bit much. “He definitely crossed the line,” Berk tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And some of the things said were totally unacceptable. But that’s Ricky. Any of the references to individuals is certainly not something the Hollywood Foreign Press condones,” he added.

Robert Downey Junior,  one of the targets from Gervais’ jokes said the show was, “ hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones.” Gervais spared no one as personally he went after Berk with a joke introducing him saying, “I just had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth in.”

While Berk traditionally vets every word of the Globes’ script, he says that Gervais does not allow that pre-show scrutiny as host. “That’s not how Ricky works,” he said after the show.

“I had absolutely no idea what Ricky was going to say so anything I heard was at the same time you heard it,” Berk added. “When you hire Ricky Gervais, you expect the unexpected,” commented the president of HFPA.

As for widespread rumours that Gervais was lectured during the show or kept from reappearing at key moments, Berk in turn reacted to all these rumours by dismissing them as absolutely “ridiculous.”

“It was always planned that in the section of important awards he was not going to be part of (the show),” says Berk. “He was never called on the carpet, or given a warning or anything else of the sort.”

Berk also refused to comment on whether he would recommend the membership to have Gervais back next year as host.

In a statement released on Monday, a representative for the HFPA said, “We loved the show. It was a lot of fun and obviously has a lot of people talking. When you hire a comedian like Ricky Gervais, one expects in your face, sometimes outrageous material. Certainly, in this case, he pushed the envelope and occasionally went too far. The HFPA would never condone some of his personal remarks. Overall, however, the show was among the best we’ve ever had and we were pleased.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th,  2011.


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