Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant took some time out from rehearsing for Gervais’ Golden Globes hosting gig to present their new HBO show “Life’s Too Short” to television critics this morning. After a mostly Globes-free press conference, the inevitable question came up about why he came back to the awards.
“I wouldn’t do it (the third time) but I read reports that I wouldn’t be invited back. So I did it to annoy them,” he said. “What’s the worst that can happen? I end my career once a week if you read the press. I find it an extreme sport.”
He claimed that he heard from everyone he talked about during last year’s Globes, a performance for which e was alternately praised and criticized, and he said that pretty much everyone was fine with his jokes. Anyway, he said, he’s going on to do his jokes his way, and that’s the only way he’d do the gig. “If I get my own way and am happy with what I’ve done, then I’m happy. If I can justify it and stand by it, like every joke I did last year, I don’t care what people think,” he said.
“The only reason I made those jokes is because I reflected what was being talked about,” he said after the panel, as he was being hurried off-stage. His philosophy is that “I won’t do real personal tragedy. If someone made a bad choice about a movie, but I’m not going to do someone who had a terrible year.” For instance, he said Russell Brand has nothing to worry about.
Gervais has strong opinions in general about joking about what people may think are taboo or offensive subjects. “Some people confuse target of the joke with the subject of joke,” he said earlier. “People flinch too soon. We’re not being outrageous for outrageous sake. You do have to go as far as you can to explore comedy. I have to justify everything. I think I can justify everything we do.”