Ricky Gervais slammed ‘virtue signalling’ at Golden Globes: ‘I could say a lot worse!’

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The Golden Globes will return to TV screens later this month (Feb 28) and already the nominations have caused controversy. One screenwriter complained that the BBC drama I May Destroy You was shortlisted into the show. This year’s celebration of TV and film will be hosted by comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Their casting follows a series of brutal rants from British star Ricky Gervais last year.

During the awards ceremony, he took aim at stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Dame Judi Dench and James Corden.

In one joke, the comedian ridiculed DiCaprio for dating younger women.

Gervais referenced his film Once Upon A Time, which has a running time of nearly three hours.

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He said: “Leo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end, his date was too old for him.”

After Gervais’ cheeky joke, some laughed along but Robert De Niro also pointed at the Hollywood star.

The comedian praised DiCaprio for taking the jibe so well during the Stuff Of Legends Podcast, in November last year.

Gervais said: “When Leo DiCaprio laughed, people loved him for it, you know.”

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By comparison, Gervais accused Hanks of “being on his high horse” when he showed frustration at a joke about Felicity Huffman.

Huffman, 58 a former Desperate Housewives actress, was sentenced to 14 days in prison after being found guilty in the US college admissions scandal.

Later in the night, when Hanks went on stage he said: “We remember when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian.

“Neither of which he is now.”

Gervais slammed Hanks’ response and said: “The big meme was Tom Hanks going, ‘Why is he saying that?’

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“People were going, ‘Oh look, he’s on his high horse!’”

Gervais, who has hosted the Golden Globes five times, believed people were less tolerant of certain behaviours from celebrities in recent times.

He said: “People were really sick of virtue signalling people.”

Gervais felt that the public didn’t like celebrities “telling them how to live” when they had vastly different life experiences.

He continued: “They were still flying around the world in private jets and have never done a day’s work in their life.”

Gervais explained that in his first joke he tried to poke fun at many of the crowd considering themselves “woke”.

Gervais recalled: “So, it’s a bit ironic that this is the only three hours that your poorly paid house staff will get to sleep this week.

“So straight away, I laid out the wares and then it built to a crescendo to ‘You are in no position to lecture the public on anything.

“‘You spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg’ they are still jokes but it’s disguised as a rant and I think people reacted to it.”

Gervais believed that the celebrities “could not relax” until his monologue was over.

He compared it to a “hostage situation”, where none of them wanted to laugh out of fear they would be “the butt of the joke” next.

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Gervais continued: “Nothing I say is that bad, I only go after their behaviours, their public behaviours and I’d still say it’s a gentle roast.

“I could say a lot worse things about them but I don’t want it to get really nasty and for no reason.

“There still has to be jokes… but they are in no position to lecture the public.”

Gervais branded his Golden Globes performance last year, the “best ever” and doubted others would beat it.

He felt it was especially important to take a few celebrities “down a peg or two” because of their privilege.

Gervais said: “We don’t want people to be above it.

“We even let people be privileged as long as they say, ‘I know I’m privileged but I’m nothing really’.

“We don’t like people to go, ‘I deserve it. How dare you? How dare you talk to me like that?’

“If we sense that, if we really think these people believe their own hype, we want to bring them down a peg or two.”

Gervais argued that it was “natural” to do that because actors are paid hundreds of times more than nurses.

He added: “That’s just luck, that’s crazy really! Why do we pay someone who pretends to save lives more than someone who actually saves lives!”

The Stuff Of Legends Podcast With Chris O’Connell first aired on November 1 and is available here.

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