The Golden Globe Awards are a week from Sunday. That gives NBC, the network airing the annual boozy trophy-fest, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of international journalists who select the nominees and winners, a little more than seven days to generate as much interest as possible in the show.
And what’s the best way to pique interest in (and TV ratings for) the Golden Globes, aside from reminding people that George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Brangelina will be there and may consume some alcohol on live television? Generate a little controversy.
Why, hello, Ricky Gervais. Fancy meeting you in a “Today” show interview on NBC, in which you discussed last year’s semi-controversial hosting gig while hinting that you might even show up drunk at this year’s event.
Yes, Mr. Gervais sat down with Matt Lauer and, in a segment that aired today, discussed the 2011 Globes and his plans for the 2012 model. Here are some of the things we learned, followed by video of the interview.
1. Ricky Gervais does not believe he did anything wrong by lobbing insults at celebrities during last year’s ceremony. After Lauer read from some of the harsher reviews of Gervais’s last hosting performance, the former “Office” star said, “I don’t know what I did wrong, really. What did I say that was untrue?” And to be fair, he didn’t do anything wrong, exactly. Tasteless, maybe. But wrong? No . . . well, the comments about Robert Downey Jr.’s previous stints in rehab and jail were a little bit wrong. (“I’m not judging him by that,” Gervais says of Downey specifically. “It’s a joke.”)
2. Gervais is going to go into the Golden Globes with his “freaking guns blazing.” I’m borrowing that phrase from Lauer himself, who at this stage in the interview suddenly started behaving like he was in an old Clint Eastwood movie. “As soon as I heard you were going to do it again, I thought one of two things is going to happen,” Lauer says of Gervais’s hosting gig while the sounds of an Ennio Morricone score play faintly in the background. (Fine, there was no music. I just heard it in my head.) “He’s going to tone it down and not risk the controversy. Or he’s going to go in there with his freaking guns blazing.” Gervais suggests he’s going with the blazing option, noting that he has final edit on everything he says and that no one knows what he will say on the air until he says it.
3. Gervais may get drunk during the show. But probably not. But watch anyway, just in case? Again playing the role of interview/drama generator, Lauer closes this segment by asking Gervais if we’ll see “that swagger” when he hosts the Golden Globes on Jan. 15. Gervais quips, “I might really be drunk,” which, coincidentally, happens to be the headline on the current lead item (“Ricky: I might really be drunk this time”) on the news section of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Web site.
With all this hype, Gervais may have to do more than drunkenly insult Mel Gibson and Hollywood Scientologists to satisfy our thirst for controversy. He may have to instigate a full-out brawl. But then, that should be easy enough for him to do, what with his guns already blazing and all. Watch the interview below.