In fact, the impromptu banter with the audience likely helped him land the hosting spot for this year’s show, airing Jan. 17 at 8/7C on CTV.
Gervais casually sipped his beer and talked about how he couldn’t believe he didn’t get acknowledged for his role in “Ghost Town,” especially since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association told him how much they loved the movie.
“Not enough obviously. Brilliant. What a waste of a campaign! That’s the last time I have sex with 200 middle-aged journalists,” quipped Gervais.
“It was horrible. Really. A lot of them didn’t even speak English. Europeans with wispy beards. The men were worse.”
It left the audiences in stitches and obviously left quite the impression on the association as this marks the first time the 67th annual awards, which honour the year’s best in film and television, have had a host since 1995.
“That may be exactly the reason they brought him on is because he’s not afraid to just have a little bit of fun with it all,” says Richard Crouse, Canada AM movie critic.
Some of the funniest moments in recent awards show history have actually come from Gervais but can the British funnyman keep the crowd laughing for the entire ceremony?
Crouse believes he can.
“He’s a very gifted improvisational comic so he can really go with whatever the situation might be, so if things go wrong, I think he can probably turn it around into something really funny.”
Gervais is best known for co-creating and starring in BBC’s “The Office” and “Extras” and has also found success in Hollywood with 2008’s “Ghost Town” and 2009’s “The Invention of Lying.”
At previous award shows he’s done everything from commend Kate Winslet for listening to him about doing a Holocaust movie to get the awards to come in (making reference to a cameo she made on “Extras” a few years earlier) to poking fun at Steve Carell – his counterpart on the U.S. version of “The Office.”
During the 2008 Emmys, Gervais made reference to Carell accepting an award in his absence the year before and that he now wanted it back. He badgered Carell, who was sitting in the front row, until he surrendered the Emmy. Carell was obviously in on it but the shtick was hilarious none the less.
The following year at the Emmys, Gervais called it the greatest awards ceremony in the world, making reference to how at the Oscars and the Golden Globes the room is always filled with film stars who have “jaw lines and chiseled looks,” making him feel bad about himself, but in this room he is above average. He again poked fun at Carell, saying that in this crowd even he’s considered handsome.
With Carell up for a Best TV Actor in a Comedy or Musical award for “The Office” this year, it’s possible Gervais might have a similar trick up his sleeve. But the actor has previously said he plans to play his hosting duties loose and off the cuff, taking cues from Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.
“I think it will be well planned in advance but by the time he gets on stage he’ll probably end up throwing out the script,” says Crouse. “That seems to be from my estimation of him the way he works.”
Whatever he does, Crouse is confident Gervais will bring even more unpredictability to the typically booze-filled affair.
“I think he’ll just have kind of an irreverent sense of fun with the whole proceeding and keep the show motoring along.”
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