Ricky Gervais on hosting the Golden Globes: 'Anything I think of on the night, I'm going to act on it.'
Good news: The Golden Globes have sprung for a host! Even better news: It’s Ricky Gervais! The British comedian/actor/writer/etc. will emcee the 67th installment of the film-and-TV awards show on Sunday, Jan. 17 (NBC, 8 p.m.) You can check out the latest issue of EW to read our interview with the mastermind behind The Office and Extras — along with our trophy predictions from Dave Karger and Ken Tucker — but for some bonus Q&A action with Gervais, scroll down. We also get the scoop on his new HBO animated series The Ricky Gervais Show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The Globes haven’t had a host since 1995. What was your first reaction when they asked you?
RICKY GERVAIS: I laughed, because I was flattered. And laughing and being flattered was mixed in with “Are they mental? Really? Me?” I thought if there’s one [awards show] I’d ever do, it would be the Globes. It’s a relaxed atmosphere—the fact that it’s more of a party than an awards show is the point. It’s more conducive to what I do. I’m not sure what I do, but whatever I do, they said they’re okay with it…. I [like] a place where people can walk around, there’s drinks at the table—I’m hoping everyone will be drunk. Well, I’m certainly going to be, I don’t want to be the odd one out. There’s nothing more boring than being sober in a room full of drunks.
Will you be taking advantage of drunk celebrities?
I’m hoping that they’ll be too drunk to fight. If I insult someone and they throw a punch, it’ll be like a bad Western. They’ll throw a punch but they’ll miss and they’ll be unconscious. And I’ll just say, “Throw ‘em out.” I’m just going to try to keep it flowing, and if I see someone in the audience, then I’ll think of something to say. It’s not going to be a roasting of anyone in particular. I’ve also got to think of the world audience as well. There’s a few hundred billionaire celebrities in the room, but there are people at home watching this in their apartments, in trailers, eating chips in their [under]pants, and I’m going to make sure it’s a good evening for them as well.
What exactly can we expect from you that night?
I’m going to keep it loose and real and natural. I’m not going to be reading shtick from an Autocue. I’m not going to worry about offending anyone, but I’m not going to go out there to grab headlines or insult anyone… Anything I think of on the night, I’m going to act on it. What can they do? It’s live. I warned them: “This is live.” And they went, “Yeah, we know,” and I said, “Are you mad?”… If I’m being totally honest with you, I have got some plans but I don’t want to tell you because I haven’t told NBC or the organizers, and I don’t want them to get nervous… I’m probably going to go around the room talking about the biggest stars on the planet. For people to be worried, they’d have to be arrogant enough to think they’re included in the biggest stars on the planet. If people say, “Are you going to have a go at me?” I’ll say, “No, I’m going to have a go at the biggest stars on the planet, who do you think you are? You’re safe, mate.”
Both you and Steve Carell have won Golden Globes for playing essentially the same character on different versions of The Office. Do you remember who got the bigger round of applause?
Steve Carell. Because no one knew who I was when I won mine. In fact, someone told me that Clint Eastwood turned to someone at his table and said, “Who the f— are they?” I wanted to put it on the DVD box set: “The Office: Winner of a Golden Globe. ‘Who the f— are they?’ –Clint Eastwood.” That would be the coolest one ever, wouldn’t it? Maybe I’ll get him back. I’ll go, “Clint Eastwood—who the f— are you? I’m referring, of course, to you being the man with no name… whose name is actually Clint Eastwood.”
Which of the five nominees for Best Actor in a comedy film took your rightful spot for The Invention of Lying?
What’s Daniel Day-Lewis done this time? All he’s done is an Italian accent—he hasn’t changed his face or lived underground for a year to get into character. See, this is the difference between me and Daniel Day-Lewis. I always do my own accent. I use my own hair. I want to turn up ten minutes before. No wigs, no prosthetics. If I played Genghis Khan, he’d look like this and he’d talk like this. How dare he get in on comedy now? He’s dominated drama. What’s he trying to do to me? This is pathetic. He’s above it. He doesn’t need to do comedy—he’s the greatest actor in the world. What a bully!
You’ve won three Globes. Do they sit on a shelf below your Emmys but above the BAFTAs? Walk us through the awards arrangement.
Well, I’m in my study right now and I’m looking over at them, and they are above three of the BAFTAs on the shelf, but that’s no reflection. I’ve got seven BAFTAs along one line, then there are three Golden Globes on top of them. The Emmys are actually on the side of the mantelpiece because I like the symmetry, and they’re not competing with anything. More specific than you imagined, isn’t it?
I appreciate your honesty.
I had the shelves built especially for them. In fact, there wasn’t room in my house, so I bought the house next door and had the people evicted and made that into an awards house — I can see [into] it, it’s one glass wall. I was a bit ambitious. I’ve got to fill it.
I’m sure you will.
It’s not about winning an award. It’s about winning loads.
How do you plan to exploit your power on the night of the Globes?
I’m thinking of [updating the blog on RickyGervais.com] after every award. I’m going to say, “Right decision” or “Wrong decision.” “Very disappointed.” “Worst speech.” I’m going to do my alternative Globes. I could be the next Perez Hilton. On the show I’ll say, “Well done. Next up…” Meanwhile my left hand is blogging, “What an idiot. They should never have won.” It’s a good idea, isn’t it? I’m going to start my own awards called the Moldy Globs. It’s a puce blob of something, and it’s not a [trophy]—it’s actually a handful of stuff you splat in their face. If this takes off and it’s multi-billion dollars, are we 50-50 on that?
That’s generous of you.
If it were to make anything at all, it would be generous. As it is, I’m quietly confident that you won’t be getting anything.
What can we expect from The Ricky Gervais Show, HBO’s animated adaptation of your podcasts [debuting Feb. 19]?
There’s nothing quite like it. I’ve invented a term for it. It’s realimation. Because it’s real conversations that me, Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington had that became the podcast, and they’ve animated them sort of behind our back. They’ve put in the flights of fancy and whatever characters we become in the scenario. It’s brilliant. And I can say that because the brilliant bit is how they’ve realized it. We just started doing these things as podcasts and we’ve had 180 million downloads.
It is unbelievable and it’s all down to Karl Pilkington—I really do think the world’s got another Homer Simpson, but this one is totally real. Joking aside, I do think he is a global village idiot, and he says some of the most ridiculous, infuriating things, but then you find out there’s a bit of truth in everything he says, and that his stupid theory was actually touched upon by Wittgenstein or Rousseau. He’s a true artist because he sees the world differently, and he is a little spherical-headed visionary. It started off as a labor of love but unlike The Office and Extras, which we curbed after six or seven hours of TV, I want this to run and run. It’s lovely and retro, because the things we talk about are so out there, and we want it to be warm and inviting. And again, Karl’s got no malice—he says some of the most ridiculous things that out of the mouth of anyone else would be really offensive. He doesn’t understand. He thought Anne Frank was avoiding rent. And of course we burst at the thought of this. It’s amazing. He asked me [about] the gifts that the Three Wise Men bought Jesus. He said, “Was that for Christmas or for his birthday?” I mean, quite remarkable.
More Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globes:
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Antony/NBC