Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Ricky Gervais gears up to host the Golden Globes

By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News


'I can't rehearse because I don't know what's going to happen'

"It could be the end of my career," laughs comedian Ricky Gervais, who is set to present the Golden Globes on Sunday.

"I only do things now that could end my career, that's my adrenalin rush - my extreme sport.

"I don't bungee jump because my hips would come off, but I do think this will give me a buzz".

The 48-year-old British star, who became a big hit in the US in 2004 after scooping an award at the ceremony, is taking the show in his stride.

The three-hour live award ceremony is broadcast in 160 countries and watched by 300 million people but sitting in his central London office, the Extras creator does not seem unduly fazed.

"I've got nothing to beat, there hasn't been a host in 15 years, so as long as I'm the best host in 15 years, then I'm all right.

"What's the worst that can happen? I get drunk and I fall over - well I do that anyway - it's just rarely filmed and beamed around the world," he giggles.

'Special place'

With several Hollywood movies under his belt, so many awards it's doubtful they fit on his mantelpiece at home and A-list friends such as Ben Stiller on speed dial, one would assume that Gervais would be hard to engage with.

However, he is friendly, completely at ease and gave us full access to his office, in which he had clearly been hard at work.

There are lots of Post-it notes scattered around the desk with random sentences written on them, a book about strange facts marked in several places and a framed front page picture of the Radio Times featuring the Extras cast by his desk.

Because the Globes is the event that helped Gervais launch his US career, the comic actor says it holds a "special place" in his heart, before mischievously adding "the pay's brilliant too".

Ricky Gervais and Ben Stiller
Anyone who is younger, thinner and more handsome than me, which is everyone in the room, so it's easy
Ricky Gervais on which A-listers he plans to pick on

Recalling when he was asked to present the show, Gervais says he told Globe bosses that he would not perform a song nor rehearse.

"I can't rehearse because I don't know what's going to happen," he says.

"I've got a list of who's going to be there and there'll be a run through of where I'm going to stand, but I can't rehearse because I don't know who's going to win. No one does, that's genuine."

Asked if he was planning on picking on anyone in particular, he says: "Yeah - anyone who is younger, thinner and more handsome than me, which is everyone in the room, so it's easy.

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel, I can't miss," he laughs.

Last year at the Globes, Gervais told a joke about Kate Winslet and her film The Reader.

Standing on stage he pointed to the British actress who was sat in the audience and said: "Well done Winslet. I told you, do a Holocaust movie and the awards come."

She then went on to win an Oscar.

Despite the audience laughter and applause, Gervais was criticised afterwards and he admits he has trouble censoring himself sometimes.

"I have a little fight between good and evil in my head. But it went down really well, even Steven Spielberg laughed."

Kate Winslet and Ricky Gervais
Gervais' Holocaust joke caused some controversy

[As a comic] "Everything you say is a bit risque. You don't need to try hard to offend network America," he says.

"I deal in taboo subjects because it gets me to the place that I want to explore comedically. I'm never going to tone down my act because some people might be offended by the things I say."

However, he insists the material has got to be "appropriate" and insists it would be "crazy to go out there and start doing political rants".

He adds: "I'm going to say what I think is funny and I'm going to give the A-listers a hard time. And hope that people at home don't turn off too quickly."

But if the drink is flowing liberally enough on the night, Gervais says he might decide to make a few changes here and there.

"If I don't agree, I'm probably going to say: 'That was a bad decision' just like Kanye West."

'Exploitable TV'

Referring to MTV's VMA awards in 2009, when the rapper interrupted teenage country singer Taylor Swift's winning speech, Gervais says: "I'm going to grab the mic and say: 'No, no he shouldn't have won'. I'm in charge.

"In fact, if I don't agree with it, I might just lie, we'll see. The honest answer is it depends on how drunk I get."

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais wrote a Big Brother satire for Extras

A big fan of US TV, Gervais is hoping Dexter will win in the best drama series category.

He is also keeping his fingers crossed, no doubt, for the US version of The Office - for which Gervais has a production credit.

The comedian rates the animated movie Up, but tips George Clooney's Up In The Air, to sweep the board because it's "an amazing film".

Gervais has not deserted his British TV counterparts either, admitting he has been indulging in this year's Celebrity Big Brother.

Referring to the housemates, which include dance DJ Basshunter, Vinnie Jones and actress Stephanie Beacham, he says that this year they are all a bit more "savvy".

"We want people having meltdowns, that's what you want to see. you don't want to see 10 people getting on well, you want to see fights, that's why we watch it."

Gervais included a satire of the show on an episode of his hit comedy show Extras in 2007.

"We watch it like kids put two ants in a jar and see which one wins. It's exploitable TV and it's terrible but we love it.

"I watch it also because it just makes me feel better about myself."

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