Ricky Gervais, getting ready to host for a third time. (Todd Antony/NBC)

Appearing at Winter TV Press Tour 2012, Gervais insisted that he “stands by . . . every joke I did last year and I don’t care what people think” of his performance as host of the 2011 Globes.

But Gervais also told TV critics that he’d dropped a line to Johnny Depp to apologize for his Globe ceremony cracks about Depp — and about “The Tourist,” Depp’s flick with Angelina Jolie — so he could get Depp to agree to appear on Gervais’s new faux-documentary series, “Life’s Too Short” (debuting Feb. 19 on HBO).

So will Gervais tone it down Sunday? “I’ve got nothing against any of these people in the room,” he said. “I’ve worked with many of them. I admire most of them. They’re just gags. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or give them a bad night, or undermine the moral fabric of America.”

Many TV critics seemed surprised back when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association asked Gervais back — after the shellacking he gave celebrities last January as he hosted this most fawning of awards ceremony.

Gervais said that he accepted the HFPA’s first invitation because he thought it would be good exposure, and accepted the second invitation because he thought he could do it better, while vowing it would be his last time.

But he accepted a third time because he kept reading reports that said, “I’ll never be invited back” after last year’s brouhaha. “So I did it to annoy them.”

On the other hand, Gervais also said he “dropped a line” to Depp. “I said, ‘Sorry about the Globes — do you want to get a bit of your own back?’ ”

Gervais wanted Depp to appear on “Life’s Too Short,” which stars 3-foot-6 actor Warwick Davids as a pretty despicable, down-and-out little person desperately trying to hustle his way back into the biz.

In much the same way Gervais’s original “The Office” reflected the ’90s with its “quaint docu soaps,” his new celebrity-strewn “Life” is much more up to date. “Life’s Too Short” reflects an age in which “people do anything to be on television”; are willing to live their lives “like an open wound”; and “fame” and “infamy” mean the same thing, Gervais said.

“There is no shame in anything,” he told TV critics. “You can’t do something that’s so ridiculous that it isn’t happening in Hollywood. It’s literally impossible.”