by Eric Lendrum
British comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, in his fifth time hosting the annual Golden Globe Awards, used his opening speech to roast many of the most famous actors and filmmakers in the room and criticize the elitist mindset of Hollywood.
In his nearly eight-minute speech, Gervais repeatedly referenced the fact that it was his fifth time hosting the awards, and declared it to be his final time doing so; as such, Gervais said that he didn’t care who he offended in his speech, saying “let’s all have a laugh at your expense. Remember, they’re just jokes, we’re all gonna die soon, and there’s no sequel.”
He subsequently made a number of jokes about those in attendance, and various films and TV in 2019, including Joe Pesci, Meryl Streep, Marvel movies, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Corden, the movie Cats, Judi Dench, and the new streaming services of companies like Apple and Disney.
Gervais referenced the college exam cheating scandal of actress Felicity Huffman, joking that the license plate of the limousine in which he arrived was made by Huffman while in prison.
He also said that “some of the most important film and TV executives in the world” gathered at the event shared one commonality in being “terrified of Ronan Farrow,” a reference to the journalist who has profiled some of the biggest sexual assault scandals in the #MeToo era. In the same vein, he said that it was “a big year for pedophile movies,” including “Surviving R Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes,” in reference to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.
Gervais also mocked Hollywood’s obsession with racial diversity, commenting on the mostly-white nominees and joking that the ceremony was set to feature an “In Memoriam” segment for those who died in 2019, but claimed that this was scrapped due to that list not being diverse enough.
Gervais referenced his own web series After Life, about a man who wants to commit suicide after losing his wife to cancer; he used the suicide aspect to joke that billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein didn’t really kill himself. After the mixed reaction from the audience, Gervais shot back with “I know he was your friend, but I don’t care.”
After criticizing the decline in the quality of movies such as the frequency of “awful, lazy, remakes, and sequels,” and the rise in consumer preference for Netflix rather than actual Hollywood movies, Gervais shared in Martin Scorsese’s controversial criticism of the Marvel series of comic book movies, claiming that actors in such movies do nothing more than simply wearing “masks, and capes, and really tight costumes,” whose jobs aren’t “acting anymore,” but instead are simply “going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids.”
Closing out his speech, Gervais took direct aim at Hollywood’s elitist mindset and tendencies towards political virtue-signaling that only displays their own hypocrisy, criticizing companies like Apple, Amazon, and Disney, calling out Apple in particular for operating “sweatshops in China.” He joked that “If ISIS started a streaming service,” these companies would call their agents.
He urged all award recipients to not use it as “a platform to make a political speech,” telling them that “you’re in no position to lecture the public about anything…Come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, thank your god, and f*** off.”
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Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter.