The movie awards season got underway at the weekend with the Golden Globes and Ricky Gervais' hilarious turn as host.
And it was hilarious, but judging by the reaction you might have been led to believe the comedian had spent the ceremony kicking a puppy around the stage.
For those who haven't seen the comedian's brilliant opening monologue (you can find it on the internet), Gervais opened with a quip about Charlie Sheen's drinking habits, made a joke about Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp's movie The Tourist – in the presence of both stars – and told a Scientology joke that I have no intention of repeating because Gervais himself rounded it off by saying "my lawyers helped me with the wording of that".
The stars were not happy. The media went into a frenzy. Gervais had crossed the line, the performance would be his last in Tinseltown, they said.
I am a huge fan of Gervais, as a comedy writer he is a once- in-a-generation talent, so it's little surprise that I found the monologue, which pricked the pomposity of the Hollywood elite, just brilliant. Gervais understands that comedy is at its funniest when its target is not the weak but the powerful, whether it be David Brent and his montrous ego in The Office or the current crop of A-listers. A couple of days after the ceremony Gervais took to his blog, posting his
own take on the controversy.
"Thanks to the blogosphere, all the journos and the coolest stars for coming to my rescue. It was heart-warming to realise I wasn't losing my mind. Some reactions nearly had me believing I'd gone too far too."
If I had one message for the stellar comedian it would be: don't change a thing, but remember the odd moment of doubt is no bad thing.
Back in December I reviewed the Sheffield Crucible musical Me and My Girl for the Yorkshire Post. I felt the director had made some strange choices and I gave the production a three-star review. Everybody else loved it, so I went back to see the production again in early January and realised that I may have got it a little wrong.
The production is wonderful: I judged it harshly. I stand by my review, but a second viewing made me see all the things that are great about the show rather than the faults I saw the first time round. That's the thing about the world of arts and entertainment, it's subjective and just because something doesn't strike a chord the first time doesn't mean it never will. The occassional moment of self-doubt is often a good thing, but so is having the courage of your convictions.
Gervais will have realised that you can't please all the people all of the time but I think people re-watching his Globes performance will find more to laugh at than jeer – and that might even include the Hollywood stars on the receiving end.