The award shows of late have earned ratings gains and critical and audience acclaim by casting multi-talented showmen as their hosts. Neil Patrick Harris charmed everyone at this year’s Emmy and Tony Awards, and Hugh Jackman is rumored to repeat his world-class performance at next year’s Oscars.
And now the Golden Globes, which hasn’t used an actual host since the 1980’s, is following their lead by casting as its host…Ricky Gervais.
Don’t get me wrong. Ricky Gervais is funny. He has had some hilarious turns as an awards presenter on the Emmys and Oscars. I particularly liked his observation at this year’s Emmy Awards:
“The thing about the Oscars and the Golden Globes is they’ve got film stars there, with their jawlines and chiseled looks, making me feel bad. But in this room – I’m not being funny – I’m probably above average. Here, Steve Carell is considered handsome. But Rainn Wilson, we’ve got to be honest… he’s weird, even in this company.”
Funny stuff. And typical for Gervais. He is great in small doses, and even then, someone is gonna get poked at. Or slammed. Or totally offended.
I am also reminded of Gervais’ turn at the austim benefit held just up the street from me at the Beacon Theatre in New York City’s Upper West Side. Jon Stewart hosted the evening, and Gervais entertained for a few minutes, where he pretty much dissed the people they had gathered to support. It was funny, but in a very uncomfortable way. I’m sure everyone was glad he was simply featured, and not hosting…’cause they could get him off the stage.
Charm is one of the most essential elements of a successful awards show host, but it’s not a word I associate with Gervais. Charm not only broadens an award show host’s appeal, but it also saves him when things go awry. Let’s face it — not every joke or bit is going to go as planned, and a quick-witted, charming line can save the day. (Google “Neil Patrick Harris Tony Awards Brett Michaels”.)
Of course, the Golden Globes are the rebels of the televised awards, so in that respect Gervais is a perfect fit. But I think the producers have to remember — no matter how ‘hip’ the Globes think they are, they are playing to the same audience.
So if Gervais has his own ‘Uma Oprah’ moment, I promise not to say “I told you so.”
(I’ll think of something more original.)