Ricky Gervais exposes the many sins of Hollywood in scathing Golden Globes monologue

Gervais took on Felicity Huffman and the college admissions scandal, the #MeToo movement and claims of hypocrisy

Published January 6, 2020 11:38AM (EST)

Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

British stand-up comedian Ricky Gervais took direct aim at the Hollywood audience sitting directly in front of him at the Golden Globes on Sunday, giving a disclaimer that his biting monologue would be all the more notable because it was his last time hosting the star-studded awards ceremony.

Gervais blasted actress Felicity Huffman at the top of his set, joking that “I came here in a limo tonight, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman.” 

Huffman made headlines in 2019 for paying $15,000 for someone to improve her daughter’s SAT exam results. After pleading guilty to fraud and conspiracy, Huffman served 11 days in prison in October.

Gervais later claimed that the person he really felt sorry for Huffman’s daughter, joking that “that must be the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to her and her dad [actor William H. Macy] was in 'Wild Hogs.'"

The comedian also took shots at the #MeToo scandals rollicking Hollywood.

"Tonight, isn't just about the people in front of the camera. In this room are some of the most important TV and film executives in the world — people from every background. But they all have one thing in common: They're all terrified of Ronan Farrow,” Gervais joked. 

To punctuate the gag, Gervais repeated: "He's coming for you! He's coming for you!"

The comedian also acknowledged the suspicion held by many that sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had not committed suicide. After noting that his TV series “After Life” had been renewed, Gervais joked that the main character “didn't kill himself just like Jeffrey Epstein." 

When the audience groaned, Gervais quipped: "Shut up! I don't care! I know he was your friend, but I don’t care."

The comedian also brought up the number of films released in 2019 documenting alleged sex crimes against popular entertainers, including the late Michael Jackson and R. Kelly.

“Look, talking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile films  'Surviving R. Kelly,' 'Leaving Neverland,' 'Two Popes,'” Gervais joked. (“Two Popes” was a Netflix film starring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins about Popes Francis and Benedict XVI.)

Gervais also urged attendees not to discuss politics in their acceptance speeches, claiming that it would be hypocritical because many of them work for companies which do business with China.

“If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent,” Gervais quipped. 

Despite his comment, actors Joaquin Phoenix and Russell Crowe addressed global warming in their speeches, Michelle Williams discussed abortion rights and Patricia Arquette took up a a number of issues, including what she feared was a possible impending American war with Iran.

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By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science, health and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and the intersections between science and politics. He has interviewed many prominent figures including former President Jimmy Carter, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, animal scientist and activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, actor George Takei, and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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