FOR almost 12 months Ricky Gervais has been telling anyone who'll listen that he really doesn't care about the Golden Globes. Two months ago, he told an interviewer: "I do the Golden Globes like some people play golf. Win, lose or draw, it doesn't affect me. I'm not beholden to anyone. I don't have to be nice to directors. I don't have to be nice to anyone."
Last week he added: "Maybe I'll be a bit more chilled about it this year. Or not. Whatever. I don't care''.
Well, judging from last night's performance as host, this isn't an affectation. He really doesn't care.
His jokes were so feeble – and his delivery so lacklustre – that the audience didn't know where to look.
Last year, he succeeded in embarrassing the Hollywood A-list; this year, they looked embarrassed for him. It made for uncomfortable viewing, like watching a slightly sleazy uncle making an inappropriate speech at a wedding.
Some of the more confident stars made their feelings about their host plain.
Johnny Depp sarcastically said it was "always a pleasure" to talk to Gervais after his attempt to embarrass Depp badly misfired and Madonna gave as good as she got when Gervais made a predictable gag about the fact that she'd once sang a song entitled 'Like A Virgin' (cue much eye-rolling and mugging on Gervais's part).
"If I'm still a virgin Ricky why don't you come over here and do something about it," said Madonna.
That that got a bigger laugh than anything Gervais or his scriptwriters came up with all evening.
In his opening monologue, Gervais joked that he'd been warned by NBC not to offend anyone or they'd definitely invite him back next year. He succeeded in offending almost everyone, but, on the strength of this performance, I doubt he'll be back.