British comedian and actor Ricky Gervais returned to host the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, cracking scathing jokes about Hollywood's elite that got both laughs and disapproving looks from the A-list audience. While Gervais turned heads, another British comedian - Sacha Baron Cohen who was nominated for his leading role in the Eli Cohen mini-series “The Spy” - may have landed the harshest barb of the night, directed at Mark Zuckerberg.
“The hero of this next movie is a naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends,” the comedian joked while presenting. “His name is Mark Zuckerberg.”
He continued, “Sorry, sorry. This is an old intro for The Social Network. I’m actually talking about Jojo Rabbit. It’s nominated for two Golden Globes and it’s directed by its star, the brilliant and groundbreaking Taika Waititi.”
Cohen was continuing criticism he first launched at Zuckerberg while accepting an award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit in November. During that speech Cohen said, “If Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem,’” Cohen added, saying the site should fact check all political ads.
Gervais skewers Hollywood
Gervais, known for his no-holds-barred style of comedy, joked about Hollywood's lack of diversity, film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual misconduct, and the suicide of financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
"Let's have a laugh at your expense," Gervais said at the start of his opening monologue, in which he vowed that the ceremony would be his last time hosting. "Remember we're all gonna die soon. And there's no sequel."
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Gervais last hosted the Globes four years ago, before the #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite movements shined a spotlight on the underrepresentation of women and minorities in Hollywood.
He said the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globes, had planned to have a segment honoring celebrities who died in 2019, "but when I saw the list of people who died, it wasn't diverse enough."
Gervais also called out Hollywood actors as hypocrites for giving impassioned political speeches at awards shows while working in movies or television series produced by major tech and media corporations.
"You say you're woke, but the companies you work for - I mean, unbelievable - Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you'd call your agent, wouldn't ya?," he asked.
"So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You are in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.
"So if you win, right? Come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God" and leave the stage, he concluded, using an expletive.
Gervais' jokes prompted nervous laughter from the audience at the Beverly Hilton hotel. Actor Tom Hanks, who received a lifetime achievement award at the ceremony, was caught giving a disapproving look during Gervais' monologue that went viral on Twitter.
Safer subjects, such as the U.S. college admissions scandal and long movies, also provided Gervais with irresistible fodder.
Gervais said he "came here in a limo tonight and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman," referring to the "Desperate Housewives" actress, who served nearly all of a 14-day prison sentence last year for her role in the admissions scandal.
The comedian also said Leonardo DiCaprio, the star of Quentin Tarantino's two-hour-and-40-minute-long film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," "attended the premier and by the end his date was too old for him."