Poor wee lambs – they’re all shocked, shocked, shocked to find that the cuddly Brit could be so naaaassssty. And not take their great big awards show seriously by making respectful little jokes that they’d all pretend to laugh prettily at for the cameras.
Say what? Gervais got famous by making people uncomfortable at why they are laughing at his material, by deliberately crossing boundaries of “good taste”, and he also has a mean streak. This is not A Great Big Showbiz Secret.
I’m ambivalent about the opening monologue myself (haven’t seen the rest of it yet). It was funny stuff, in the traditional brutal comedy roast style, but I’m not generally a fan of cruel comedy just for the sake of it. Given how he was subverting the bland self-congratulatory style of recent years though, I’m not sure that a bit of meanness wasn’t long overdue, and I liked the fact that he was almost daring anybody he was mocking for a bad film to point out how he too had made a pretty lousy flick himself with The
ArtInvention Of Lying, and did they want to have a go? I also liked seeing people like Depp, De Niro and some others just wryly appreciating it without feeling the need to pretend to be shocked for the cameras. Hugh Hefner took that extraordinary mockery in good grace on his twitter account even, showing the young ones how a really savvy PR operator goes with the flow.
Gervais hasn’t burnt all that many bridges actually, despite the inevitable outrage confections about to be published all over the place. He’s just given himself a springboard for what will no-doubt be a sellout national stand-up tour in both the US and the UK, and if you think Hollywood won’t offer him another big movie after that then you’re not nearly cynical enough about how they do their sums.
But will it be funny? If they’re actually brave enough to not just shove him into a stale formula such as he mocked throughout Extras, it could well be brilliantly nasty. Because that’s what he does best.