People are sick of celebs virtue signalling when they have it all, says Ricky Gervais ahead of Golden Globes

People are sick of celebs virtue signalling when they have it all, says Ricky Gervais ahead of Golden Globes

HIS withering seven-minute opening monologue as host of the Golden Globes two years ago was enough to make even the most self-assured celeb’s knees tremble.

But while Ricky Gervais would have plenty of targets to aim at this year, the world of Hollywood can sleep easy ahead of tomorrow’s stripped-back ceremony.


Not only is he not hosting, La La Land is barely having an awards do at all — just streamed online and with no celebrity presenters after a backlash over diversity.

Tinseltown has boycotted the bash after an exposé of the organisers’ ethics, financial practices and lack of black members was revealed.

Reading-born Ricky, 60, who hosted five of the raucous awards in ten years, says he thinks it could even be the last time we see the event.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, he said: “They’re trying to get through this and start again. I don’t think anyone’s even been invited. It’s not even a ceremony.

“You can’t predict anything in this world. They could come back stronger than ever and be loved again or it could be the last one.

“You never know. I don’t take any-thing for granted any more. I just keep plodding on. And whatever happens, happens.”

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Ricky’s stint as the show’s frontman in 2020 has gone down in the history books.

No one was safe from his razor-sharp barbs.

He told off Leonardo DiCaprio for having young girlfriends, labelled James Corden a “fat p***y” and blasted celebrities for cosying up with sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein.

He says the public’s attitude to the rich and famous, during the decade he presented the bash, did a U-turn.

He added: “2020 was my favourite one. That one captured the imagination.

"The first time I did it, ten years ago, everyone was like, ‘Ah, how can you talk to these wonderful multi-millionaires, how can you talk to these beautiful people, like that? We love celebrities’.

"By the last one it was like, ‘God, give it to them, we hate celebrities!’

“I know what it is. With all of the austerity and people struggling, they think, ‘Why are these people lecturing me? They’re going   to an awards ceremony in a limo and are telling me to recycle?’

You have to make a decision as a comedian. Do you pander to the 200 most privileged people in the world in the room or the 200million watching at home?

“People just got sick of it, just got sick of virtue signalling. And they were like a beacon to aim their wrath at.

“The people with nothing became tired of being lectured by people who had everything.”

Ricky is a man who, on the face of it, does have everything.

He is rich beyond his wildest dreams due to the success of smash-hit shows including The Office, Extras, his numerous stand-up tours and now his most successful show to date, Netflix’s After Life.

So how does he keep in line with the common man and woman?

Chatting over Zoom from his home office in Hampstead, North London, Ricky said: “I always try and, you know, punch up.

"You have to make a decision as a comedian. Do you pander to the 200 most privileged people in the world in the room or the 200million watching at home?

In comedy, traditionally, we are jesters. We have low status. So I’m down in the mud with the other peasants, having a go.

“In comedy, traditionally, we are jesters. We have low status. So I’m down in the mud with the other peasants, having a go.

“I’ve got to be on their side. That’s why I go out there with a beer and look like a slob, because I’ve got to show people that I’m on their side.

"And that’s what is hard nowadays, to be a stand-up comedian and keep your lower status, because everyone knows how much you’ve earned.

“So I do it in two ways. I act like a slob. I go out in bad jeans and a bad T-shirt and drink beer out of a can. I remind them I’m one of them, I shouldn’t be here, I’m lucky.

“Then I do it another way. I talk about things where they’re better off than me. I’m fat, old and bald. I’m going to die before them. I’ve got a bad back. I talk about all those things that are wrong with me.”

One thing clearly not wrong with Ricky is his ability to crank out hit after hit.

People are sick of virtue signalling. They think: Why are you lecturing me? You’re going to an awards ceremony in a limo? And you’re telling me to recycle?

His latest triumph is the third, and final, series of After Life, which follows depressed newspaper journalist Tony Johnson, who wants to kill himself because his wife died of cancer.

Such has been its enormous success, it has surpassed the 100million viewer mark on Netflix.

Ricky even predicts the role of Tony will eventually become the thing he is best known for, rather than slimeball boss David Brent from The Office

He said: “I hope so, because you always want to stay relevant. You want to still be doing good work that you love as well.

“If you’ve been around for 20 years, and you’ve done ten things, everyone’s gonna love one thing more than the other. Yeah, everyone’s list is going to be in a different order.

“You go through phases. There are people that think the only thing I’ve done is the Golden Globes, people that think I’m an animal activist, and they probably don’t even realise I’m on telly.”

I get bored very quickly. And I’ve got a backlog of ideas and I want to do all of them before I die. So I can’t hang around too long.

In the build-up to the latest series of After Life, Ricky has definitively said there will not be another, that this six-episode run will be it for good.

But given the seemingly endless pot of cash at the disposal of Netflix bosses, is there a number they could put in front of him that would convince him to write series four?

He said: “There is. And I’m sure they could persuade me. Never say never.

“It doesn’t really make sense to stop it, when it’s got bigger and bigger. It makes sense in every way that I should do a fourth series — businesswise, moneywise, all those things.

“But you’ve got to stop somewhere and it’s better to stop on top and think, ‘Oh, I could have done another one’, rather than, ‘Oh, why did I do another one?’

"I learned it from Fawlty Towers. Before I did The Office I thought, ‘What a great model that is — you know, 12 episodes and everyone still loves it’. It’s stood the test of time because they put so much work into it and it was perfect.”

He added: “I’ll never milk it. That’s not just because of integrity. I get bored very quickly. And I’ve got a backlog of ideas and I want to do all of them before I die. So I can’t hang around too long.”

So what is next for Ricky? Another TV series, more stand-up tours?

After Life is one of the favourite things I’ve ever done but there’s something you can’t replace with stand-up, there’s nothing like it.

He said: “I don’t know, I’ve got it down to about three or four. And I’ve got to make sure I make the right decision because it’d be another two or three years of my life.

"But I know I want to do another stand-up as soon as I can. I want to get straight back into the saddle. I love stand-up.

"After Life is one of the favourite things I’ve ever done but there’s something you can’t replace with stand-up, there’s nothing like it.

“It’s just you and a mic and 10,000 people. It’s such a privilege. Those people who’ve paid hard-earned cash, found a babysitter, found a parking space, they might be having a bad day, they might be going through chemotherapy.

“That’s a privilege for me, you know, to go out and try to make them laugh for an hour and a half.”

  • After Life series three is available on Netflix from January 14.

Ricky’s most controversial Golden Globes jokes

  • Looking at all the wonderful faces here reminds me of the great work that’s been done this year – by cosmetic surgeons.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was 3 hours. Di Caprio attended the premiere. By the end his date was too old for him.
  • Lots of big celebrities here tonight. Legends. Icons. On the same table, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Baby Yoda. Oh, no, that's Joe Pesci, sorry.

Gongs for the rich is wrong

RICKY has blasted the UK’s honours system – saying gongs should go to those who risk their lives rather than the already rich.

He believes the system is now “meaningless” because accolades are dished out to the wrong people.

The most recent list of New Year Honours includes a number of successful businessmen and women, sports stars and politicians.

Ricky, who counts a long line of carers on the female side of his family, said: “It’s ridiculous that we give knighthoods to the most privileged people in the world, or the richest, or the people who have achieved great lives doing things they loved already.

"Honours should be for nurses, soldiers, people who who risked their lives and aren’t multi-millionaires.

“It’s bizarre that we give medals to people who have already been rewarded, every day of their life. It’s mad.

"I don’t know anyone who likes seeing a billionaire get rewarded when they know someone who’s done more.”

He added of the gongs: “They’re meaningless, but you could make them mean a bit more by giving them to someone who’s struggled and only works for others.”



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