Ricky Gervais will host the Golden Globes for the final time in 2020. After first rising to fame as the creator and lead actor of the original British version of The Office, Gervais ultimately went on to become a comedy star on both sides of the Atlantic. As proof of his stature in America, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 2010 tapped Gervais to host the annual Golden Globes awards ceremony. The comedian famously injected an edgy, uncompromising brand of humor into the affair, taking on Hollywood pomposity right in front of the stars themselves.
But while many were delighted by Gervais’ in-your-face approach to Golden Globes hosting, some were actually offended by the comedian’s uncomfortable jokes at the expense of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters. Despite the criticism, the HFPA elected to bring Gervais back for 2011 and 2012, where he continued his unsparing and at times cringe-worthy approach. However, thanks in part to backlash against Gervais and his jokes, the comedian was not asked back for 2013. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey teamed up to host from 2013-2015, before Gervais was surprisingly brought back for another prickly turn in 2016. Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and the team of Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh took on hosting duties in the years afterward, to mixed reviews.
With awards shows looking increasingly irrelevant on the pop culture stage, the HFPA is now reaching to the past in hopes of increasing audience interest for the 2020 Golden Globes, bringing back Gervais for what he says will be the final time (via Collider). “Once again, they’ve made me an offer I can’t refuse. But this is the very last time I’m doing this, which could make for a fun evening,” Gervais said in a statement.
Interestingly, the Golden Globes’ decision to turn to Gervais comes as awards shows are increasingly moving away from the hosted ceremony approach. Last year, after backlash against their decision to hire Kevin Hart as MC led to the comedian's ouster, the Oscars elected to go without a host entirely and received rave reviews for the controversy-free and relatively fast-moving ceremony. The Emmys also decided to go hostless in 2019, but dismal ratings for the telecast have caused many to reassess whether the hostless approach is really the right way to go to entice audiences who find themselves with an increasingly diverse array of entertainment options to choose from.
Wherever one falls on the question of whether awards ceremonies are better with a host or without, there’s no question that ratings for awards shows in general have been going downhill in recent years, leading to a lot of obvious panic among producers eager to find a format tweak that will bring viewers back into the fold. It remains to be seen if turning to Gervais will work out for the Golden Globes, but it’s certain the comedian will bring an edge to the ceremony – for better or worse.