Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Ricky Gervais gets mixed response at the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais has received a mixed response after fronting the 67th Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles - the first time the ceremony has had a host in 15 years.

The 48-year-old certainly lived up to his promise to "give the A-listers a hard time".

His targets included Sir Paul McCartney, Angelina Jolie, Steve Carrell, TV network NBC and the Hollywood set in general.

"Looking at all the faces here makes me remember all the great work that's been done this year by cosmetic surgeons," he joked.

Critics, including the New York Daily News , agreed Gervais' best quip was to appear on stage with a beer in his hand, saying: "I like a drink as much as the next man... unless the next man is Mel Gibson" - a reference to the Oscar-winner's arrest for drink driving in 2006.

The actor appeared to take the jab in his stride however, pretending to slur his words before announcing James Cameron as best director.

'Predictable subjects'

Highlights from the Golden Globes

The Associated Press called Gervais "cheeky, silly and funny as heck" for his gentle jabs at the Hollywood glitterati.

"It's an honour to be here in a room full of what I consider to be the most important people on the planet - actors," Gervais opened with. "They're just better than ordinary people, aren't they?"

Gossip website TMZ and Radar Online also praised the host, calling him "hysterical" and "on fire" with his material.

"Actors aren't just loved here in Hollywood, they're loved the world over, because they're recognisable," Gervais said.

"You can be in the Third World, and you get a glimpse of a Hollywood star, and it makes you feel better. You can be a little child, a little Asian child, with no possessions, no money - but you see a picture of Angelina Jolie and you think, 'Mummy!'".

But industry bible The Hollywood Reporter called Gervais' opening minutes "disappointingly toothless", saying he "tackled predictable subjects" and made "few inspired" jokes.

"No doubt award shows will spring him from the bullpen for mid-telecast jumpstarts for some time to come, but his first headline outing was evidence he can't carry an entire event," wrote Andrew Wallenstein.

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr proved a comedic hit with critics

He even suggested that actor Robert Downey Jr would make a better choice next year as his acceptance speech for Sherlock Holmes was the "only real display of comedy chops" at the ceremony.

The star began by warning producers not to cut his speech short. "If you start playing violins, I will tear this joint apart".

"I would like to thank Susan Downey," he continued, "for telling me Matt Damon was going to win so don't bother to prepare a speech."

He spent the rest of his speech refusing to thank anyone involved in the Sherlock Holmes project, declaiming: "They needed me! Avatar was going to take us to the cleaners. If they didn't have me, they didn't have a shot!"

The Washington Post , meanwhile, felt 30 Rock star Tina Fey had given Gervais something to worry about before the ceremony even began.

Speaking from a rain-soaked red carpet, the star pondered her employer's very public spat over the talk show contracts of Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

"It's not rain, it's just God crying for NBC," Fey quipped.

"Ladies and gentlemen -- we have our best line of the Globes and the trophy show hasn't even started," wrote Lisa de Moraes.

In the end, Gervais admitted in his usual self-deprecating manner that he may have bitten off more than he could chew.

After suggesting the ceremony's organisers could be bought off in exchange for a Golden Globe, he laughed: "I'm not going to do this again, anyway."



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