Why was audience at the Golden Globe Awards funnier than host Ricky Gervais?
Turns out, all the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had to do to get Ricky Gervais to play nice for the Golden Globe Awards was invite him back for another shot at hosting.
Last year, Gervais rocked the room with unflattering jokes about the age of the actresses from Sex and the City ("I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza") and Mel Gibson's habit of behaving badly after drinking a bit too much. The jokes were so barbed, when he was offstage for a long spell in the show's middle, some viewers suspected he had been fired mid-broadcast.
No such luck this time around. Gervais this year mostly managed pointed jokes about people who weren't in the room, getting Johnny Deep to admit he hadn't seen box office bomb The Tourist (Depp famously doesn't watch any of his movies) and offering a skeevy joke playing off Jodi Foster directing a movie released last year called The Beaver.
"The Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton," Gervais offered, in one of his best monologue jokes. "A bit louder, bit trashier...more easily bought. "
In fact, the performers proved to be more entertaining than the host this time around, as husband and wife Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy sang their awards presentation to a cute tune, Madonna challenged the host to come make a woman of her, joking "I haven't kissed a girl in a while," and Green Hornet star Seth Rogen offered the raunchiest joek of the night, admitting he was taking the stage in an, um, pointed state of arousal.
Awards-wise, the HFPA continued its streak of giving TV awards to film stars who go slumming, handing wins to Laura Dern, Kate Winslet and Jessica Lange. But old time TV stars also did well, with Kelsey Grammer, Matt LeBlanc and Claire Danes winning big. Idris Elba was a nice surprise, along with a Modern Family win as best comedy.
There was also lots of ethnic diversity on hand with wins for The Help co-star Octavia Spencer, Elba, Sofia Vergara with Modern Family cast and a special Cecil B. Demille award for Morgan Freeman (which they hadn't shown reaction every black person in the room after Spencer won, however.)
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage also impressed by giving a shout out to Martin Henderson, a dwarf who was left crippled after a man grabbed him up and tossed him without warning outside of a bar. read more about him here.
The deluge of criticism he will get tomorrow for not being edgy enough will likely perplex Gervais further, considering how he got slammed for going too far last time.
But he still seems the biggest loser here, as swipes from Colin Firth and Madonna get bigger laughs than most of his jokes.
When you're hyped up to take the stage as a rebel, it helps if you can actually spark a bit of rebellion.
Decide for yourself after comparing tonight's monologue with last year's, seen below.