2010 Golden Globes Host
After all the Hollywood squawking about the 2010 Golden Globes host, Ricky Gervais, being “mean” (Judd Apatow) or “cringeworthy” (Daily Mail), but the British comedian is laughing all the way to the bank. Worth an estimated $80 million, Gervais is listed as one of the wealthiest comedians today. In ten short years, he has parlayed a small cult success into a worldwide phenomenon, with movies, books, a cartoon series, stand-up concerts and even a Guinness World Record podcast to his credit. Hollywood’s sacred cows may not like his act, but this most unlikely of stars has certainly found an audience.
The Globes Controversy. During his opening monologue for the Globes, Gervais broke the unwritten rules of Hollywood: he called out Scientology for closeting gay actors, mocke the box office receipts of A-listers Depp and Jolie, and even skewered his employer, the Hollywood Foreign Press, about a recent payola scandal. His brash style and smirking countenance may have offended some of the delicate egos in the room, but as Gervais explained on a post show CNN interview with Piers Morgan "It's not my job to worry about what people think of me, that's the job of a politician. I don't care what people think of me." That very attitude, of amusing himself above all others, has taken Gervais from humble lower class roots in Reading, England through many years as a failed pop star, and drudgery in office cubicles before he found success relatively late in life.
The Office. In 2001, the 38-year old Gervais teamed up with his friend Stephen Merchant, and former co-worker, to creat The Office, a mockumentary in the tradition of “This Is Spinal Tap.” They mined the tedium, politics, and small tortures of office life, always finding that razor sharp middle between discomfort and comedy. Ricky, as David Brent, encapsulated every bad boss anyone has ever had, and in the process created comedy gold. The series began as a modest success, but quickly gained cult status. Soon enough, an American version was in the works, with Steve Carell reconfiguring the manager role for an American audience. There are now Office “franchises” is France, Germany, Canada (Quebec), Chile and Israel, with rumors of an Indian version in development.
Extras. After numerous guest appearances on shows like “The Simpsons”and film cameos (“Night at the Museum”), Gervais returned to British TV with “Extras.” The behind-the-scenes comedy cast Gervais as Andy Millman, film extra, frustrated actor, and eventual sitcom success story. The edgy comedy ran for 2 seasons and a “Holiday Special” and pulled in A-list guest stars such as Ben Stiller, Kate Winslet, Daniel Radcliffe, David Bowie, & Robert De Niro.
Next Stop Hollywood. Over the next few years, Ricky became a one-man entertainment conglomerate with stand-up comedy tour (eventually filmed for a HBO special), “Flanimals” books, starring roles in Hollywood features such as “Ghost Town” and “The Invention of Lying,” overseeing the translation of his earlier radio program with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington into an HBO animated series and even a cameo in the video game Grand Auto IV. He even received mention in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloaded podcast. With BAFTAs, Emmys, Golden Globes and a slew of other awards, it’s little wonder isn’t too concerned about ruffling a few feathers.
Next Up. Whether Ricky returns for a third round at the Golden Globes (the Hollywood Foreign Press has vehemently denied an invitation has been sent), he has a full calendar. He appears on several guest spots during Carell’s final days on The Office, landed a role on the eighth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and is currently writing, directing and starring in “Life’s Too Short” for the BBC, which he described as, “A cross between Extras and Curb your Enthusiasm and One Foot in the Grave but with a dwarf. That is out and out funny."