Monday, January 17, 2011

Uncomfortable Humour.

I'll just duck as I say this, but I didn't find Ricky Gervais's performance at the Golden Globes terribly offensive or upsetting. Actually I thought he was quite funny. And despite all the accusations and furor flying around the Internet, I still quite like him.

Perhaps it's because I knew he was hosting the Golden Globes, that I didn't gasp in disgust as he unveiled his antics on stage. And because, although he was dishing out the insults like a fast food waiter, I suspected he'd serve himself a healthy dose too.

I've been a long-time fan of Gervais's, ever since the first airing of The Office on British TV ten years ago. Which is why I was able to anticipate the uncomfortable, thorny spectacle with wise cracks and fun-poking to come. This is Ricky Gervais after all. If they wanted gallantry, perhaps they should instead have asked Collin Firth to host the awards.

Some of his jokes were underhand, unnecessary, I do agree. But it was never going to be a glowing performance with roses and a happy ending.

American humour is very, very different from English humour. And not that I'm stating that as an excuse for people to be unjustifiably rude to other people. What I think I'm saying, is that Gervais's humour is born from a place of, let's say, "eclectic" humour.

Take a look at British TV sitcoms over the past few decades, and you'll see the strange and wonderful and sometimes (who am I kidding - often) offensive culture of British comedy. There's everything. From the satirical (Have I Got News For You); the neurotic (Black Books); the occasionally good-humoured (Vicar of Dibley); the crude (Bottom); the shocking (Ali G); and, the downright weird (The League of Gentlemen).

After watching The Office - the American version - for a number of years (which I adore), watching the British version is practically intolerable. The rawness of it, the ugliness and the general unpleasantness of it makes me cringe, hard. And to think, it was designed to provoke those reactions from the audience, that a writer set out to do that.

That's where Gervais is from.

I'll just end by saying that, while I'm all for cheery, polished TV shows (yes, you, Glee) and everyone loving each other to the end of the earth - it's simply not human to be happy and lovely all the time. Occasionally we, as normal people, are ungracious. I suppose what I'm saying, is that I'm not completely opposed to a little snark every now and then. Because life is like that.
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Loukia said...

I have no idea why everyone is so offended! OMG, it's HOLLYWOOD for crying out loud! He is hilarious!

Capital Mom said...

I didn't watch it but now i am kind of wishing I had!

The Tompkins Family said...

I didn't watch it but watched a recap was simply awesome. LOVED IT! I absolutely love Gervais. He is so funny!

James (SeattleDad) said...

Didn't see it either, but want to go now and get a recap. Bet it was hilarious.

Mwa said...

I'm afraid I missed it, but I agree with you - if you ask Ricky Gervais you have to be prepared for rudeness. A lot of it. And probably very funny rudeness to those of us who know his brand of comedy. I used to take tapes of Extras into school to teach English.

Elaine A. said...

I am SO SAD that I missed the show and his snark. I guess he got some good digs in, huh? Hit me with one if you can remember. So mad I missed it!!!! GAH!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree!
British humour I understand, American humour....not so much
I think that most celebs take themselves too seriously anyway.
I think that if you're going to take all the money that these box office movies make you, then you can learn to laugh at yourself :)

WhisperingWriter said...

I find him hilarious. I didn't watch the Golden Globes, but I keep hearing he was inappropriate. It's just because some celebs are all "Boo hoo, some Brit is poking fun at me."

Bear and Bones Mama said...

Oh, Black Books is my absolute favorite show! I wish American TV was funnier....I'm totally with you.

ModernMom said...

I didn't watch the entire show, but the parts I did see were Very funny!!