Ricky Gervais is one of the funniest guys on the planet. Together with Stephen Merchant he invented the postmodern sitcom with the British version of 'The Office' and took the form to new heights in 'Extras.' To give you some idea how far his comedy reach is, 'The Office' has now been sold to more than 80 countries.
For the second year in a row Gervais will host 'The Golden Globes' on NBC, his performance last year made headlines as he skewered everyone and everything from the Golden Globes themselves ("One thing that can't be bought is a Golden Globe. Officially.") to Mel Gibson ("Honestly, I like a drink as much as the next man... unless the next man is Mel Gibson.").
This yearís show will again be broadcast live coast-to-coast on Sunday, January 16, 2011 airing 5-8 p.m. (PT) and 8-11 p.m. (ET) from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
ďAs viewers discovered with our last awards telecast, Rickyís surprising and unpredictable humor is a great fit for the Globes which will continue as a live event across the nation," said Paul Telegdy, Executive VP of Alternative Programming for NBC. ďHeís a true force of nature with a wicked sense of humor who always keeps everyone on their toes waiting for the unexpected."
No wonder NBC is hot on the British comic auteur, the January 17, 2010 broadcast of 'The Golden Globes' delivered the networkís largest non-sports viewership in that time period in six years.
If the conference call that the network set up for the press with Ricky Gervais on December 8th is any indication 'The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards' is going to be one seriously raucous affair.
Still, no matter what, this will be his last run at hosting 'The Golden Globes.'
"Well the truth is Iím not a host. Iím not a presenter. I donít think I should be doing it at all. I do these things for fun. I donít even count these things as part of my career really. Well thereís loads of things I do that I donít count as part of my career, you know. I think the things that Iím - I think are more time lesson that I portray is in the beginning. Iíd have had to invented the concept of award ceremonies to be as excited about them as I am about doing The Office or Extras or, you know, whatever.
"But I suppose I want this to be great and go out on a high. I think youíve always got to think that youíre going to do a good job and itís going to be fun and - because youíre in control. And if youíre in control and it turns out exactly as you wanted it to, then youíve got no one else to please really and I always try and - I want to do things that Iím pleased with. And so if Iím bad, I shouldnít do it again; and if Iím good, I shouldnít do it again. So thatís the thinking really."
Gervais expressed his desire not to end up just another comic, he wanted to be a person's favorite comedian; create a person's favorite show not just another popular sitcom. "The point of art is to make a connection with someone else, another human being that you may never meet or whatever, but I think the size of that connection with the individual is important. And I think you do that by being true to yourself. And if youíre true to yourself you are different to everyone else and I think you wonít be homogenized and watered down and, you know, like ten other acts.
"So and I did - I suppose I did have a revelation this time around that I did sort of think this is a privilege. I mean with stand-up it was the fourth or fifth thing I did. You know, I mean in my list of things that I consider myself, a stand-up was probably fourth, you know, and now I think itís great. I love the fact that itís outside the novel or something, itís the last bastion of self-censorship. You know, what a privilege to be able to say anything you want to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people.
"So thatís how I approached it. And now I canít wait for my next stand-up because I can go, 'No, I know where I went wrong there. I can be even better this time.' And I think you should. Itís like, you know, every day I become conscious for the first time. I know how to improve. I know what excites me now. Every day is a new day and you want to improve. Itís like, you know, you can rub out the blackboard and start again. I mean those things still exist, right, but you can say, 'Right, today I Ďm going to do my best work ever from now on.' And I say that every day."
Would he or Stephen Merchant consider joining the cast of 'The Office' here in the states? "No, Steve wouldnít do it and nor would I. The thing is me and Steve get paid for doing nothing, so why would we work for it, you know? Weíve made so much money off Steve Carell. Heís like a big goose that lays golden eggs for us. Now we need some other schmuck to come along and get up at 6 oíclock every day for seven years."
On the immensely popular 'Ricky Gervais Show,' "It is I think the most fun thing I do and I remember back when I just did it for a laugh to sit in a room with Karl Pilkington and try and expose his beautiful mind to the world. Itís better than the first. I mean the first got better and better I think. And this sort of started with it left off but itís much better. Weíve really hit the ground running.
"And weíve taken a lot more liberties with the direction of the piece. It really adds to the audio now. In the first one we were quite cautious that we didnít want to take away from the audio but now we know what adds and subtracts and everything weíve done really adds to it.
"Itís... the first episode will straightaway show you the difference with the ambition of the animation let alone the things weíve chosen. And weíve gone everywhere with all the stuff weíve ever done. The first one we sort of did it in order of the first season. Now we have just picked best chunks and woven it in and itís great. Weíre very proud of it. So, yes, I hope it goes down even better than the first season.
"The great thing about Episode 1 is when Karl... a film company called him in, theyíd heard him on the radio and they called him in for any ideas. I mean how desperate this film company was I canít imagine. Theyíre asking Karl Pilkington for movie ideas. And itís where he comes up with the worst idea for a movie Iíve ever heard. Itís the man who puts half of his brain in his wifeís head and he casts in the movie Rebecca De Mornay who Steve says we havenít seen her for 15 years and Clive Warren who doesnít even exist, he meant Clive Owen. And you actually get to see the movie because as heís describing it theyíve made the movie. Itís honestly itís great. Itís really, really great."
Ricky talked about the amazing week he had when he won his first of three Golden Globe in 2004 leading to producing an episode of 'The Simpsons' and selling the American version of 'The Office.' "That was a strange week because let me tell you this is what happened, okay. So as I said before we went over there and I didnít even think that we should go. I thought we got a long way to go and lose. And people said, ĎYouíre mad. Itís an experience. It will be great.í So we won the Globes. I did - my first acting job I had written for myself on 'Alias' because J.J. Abrams was a fan. I havenít watched it. I have never watched the episode. It was me being cool. I canít watch that. I dread it. It sends a chill down my spine, me trying to be cool. But I hear itís okay.
"And then I was called for an audience for Matt Groening and Al Jean and 'The Simpsons' lot that their favorite show was 'The Office' which is weird because they created the best show ever. And they said, 'Do you want to write one and being one?' Yes. And that was the same week we started working on the American 'Office.' That was one week in January 2004. So if you are to pinpoint a week, it would be that. It would be January - the last week of January 2004."
Last year's Golden Globes got a mixed reaction from critics but to Ricky Gervais a gasp is as good as a laugh any time. "You know, I think a comedianís job isnít just to make people laugh, itís to make them think. Iím not a lever of broad anodyne comedy. You know, I donít see just going out there and saying things the audience could think themselves and often have, thereís a place for that.
"But I also feel a responsibility, you know, Iím playing venues where people come out and there are tens of thousands and theyíve traveled a long way and theyíve got a babysitter and theyíve found a car parking space and paid $70 or whatever and I think that I better have something special to say. So I always try and be different. As I say I always try to be quite challenging. I mean I want people to laugh and I want to gasp as well. I get as big a buzz from gasp as I do a belly laugh. But I think I do stuff that Iím proud of as well."
Let's face it, this guy is not to be trusted. For that reason alone 'The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards' on Sunday, January 16, 2011 is likely to be the broadcast event of the new year.
"So Iím going to have even more fun with it, probably go a bit further, push the boundaries a little bit more. I think you always should. And I, you know, whatís the worst that could happen? I didnít expect to be invited back a second time and I certainly - and I wonít do it a third. So Iíve got nothing to lose. Iíve got nothing to lose. So, yes, Iím going to go for it.
"You know, doing it is the reward. Doing it itself is the reward and I wish there was more of it. I just wish there was more of it just people going, 'I donít care what happens. I donít care about the box office. I donít care about the ratings. I donít care about the reviews or the awards. I did this and itís the best thing Iíve ever done.' And I think if we had that, it would just be amazing. It would be incredible. But it canít happen because by definition most things are rubbish and thatís true of any genre, not just art.
"Art, TV, furniture making, most tables are rubbish. But when you see a really brilliant table that the guy spent four years making and he was a master craftsman and itís lasted 700 years, you want to cry. It brings a lump to your throat. And, yes. I want to bring a lump to your throat. See, that quote taken out of context looks really bad..."