Golden Globes 2011: Ricky Gervais Offends Hollywood One Joke at a Time

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There’s a fine line between playful and mean-spirited. At last night’s Golden Globe Awards, Ricky Gervais bulldozed over the nuance.

The British comedian shoved his foot in his mouth moments after the curtain rose. “It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking,” he said in his opening monologue. “Or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.” His foot then snaked down his esophagus as he went on to offend the entire cast of The Tourist. “I’d like to quash the rumors that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so that the Hollywood Foreign Press can hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish, that is not the only reason. They also accepted bribes.”

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The discomfort in the ball room reached its most agonizing heights when Gervais directed his acid-tongued humor at an unnamed follower of Scientology. “Also not nominated, I Love You Phillip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay, so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists then.” As the audience of actors and actresses and movie makers—a.k.a., the friends of whomever he was referring to—ooohed and hissed, Gervais struggled to respond. “Probably,” he said. “My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke.”

He went on to call Bruce Willis “Ashton Kutcher’s dad,” introduced Robert Downey, Jr. by referencing his Internet porn flick, suggested that cast members of Sex and the City 2 were old enough to have appeared in Bonanza, and offered Hugh Hefner’s fiancé some unsolicited advice: “Just don’t look at it.”

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As the corpses of various celebs seemed to pile up on stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, presenters began sharpening their claws. When introducing Toy Story 3 stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, Gervais listed Hanks’ long list of accolades and added “The other….is Tim Allen.” Hanks had enough. “We can recall back when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian,” he said. “Neither of which he is now.” And after Gervais suggested that Philip Berk, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, needed help off the toilet and assistance putting in his dentures, Berk didn’t bother acting amused: “Ricky, next time you want me to help you qualify your movie, go to another guy.”

(More on Time.Com: Read TIME’s TV critic’s take on the 2011 Golden Globe Awards.)

Ahead of the awards show, Gervais told the U.K. Press Association that he hoped to push boundaries—but not too far. “I think I’ll go just close enough to the edge but not go over it,” he said. “I’m not worried about the celebrities, they’re alright, they’re not scary!”

NewsFeed wonders if he feels that way now. (via The Telegraph)

(More on Time.Com: Read about the Ricky Gervais gag that Golden Globe organizers banned.)