Ricky Gervais sounds off on 'virtue signaling' prior to Golden Globes

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Ricky Gervais, the comedian known for his yearly takedown of celebrities at the Golden Globes, said in an interview published Friday that he has sensed a shift the public’s attitude toward Hollywood’s glitterati over the past decade.

“The first time I did it, 10 years ago, everyone was like, ‘Ah, how can you talk to these wonderful multi-millionaires, how can you talk to these beautiful people, like that? We love celebrities,” he told The Sun newspaper in an exclusive interview. “By the last one, it was like, ‘God, give it to them, we hate celebrities.’”

Jan. 6: Ricky Gervais speaks onstage at the Season 3 Premiere of Netflix’s "After Life" at the BFI Southbank in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
(David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood’s so-called biggest party that regularly drew 18 million television viewers, was reduced to a live-blog Sunday night for its 79th edition.

The organization announced that it is proceeding with its film and TV awards Sunday night without a telecast, nominees, celebrity guests, a red carpet, a host, press or even a livestream. 

FILE: The stage is set for the 79th Annual Golden Globe Award nominations at The Beverly Hilton on December 13, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In a year beset by controversy, the self-proclaimed biggest party in Hollywood, has been reduced to little more than a Twitter feed.

Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” won several big awards, for best picture comedy or musical, best actress for Rachel Zegler and best supporting actess for Ariana DeBose.

Gervais was famous for his irreverent approach to the awards show. Last year, he mentioned the former financier Jeffrey Epstein. The crowd groaned and he said: “Shut up. I know he’s your friend.”

He told the British paper that he believes his approach was embraced by the public because so many viewers at home are struggling and they think, ‘Why are these people lecturing me? They’re going to an awards ceremony in a limo and are telling me to recycle.”

He said people just got sick of the “virtue signaling” and celebrities “were like a beacon to aim their wrath at.”

“You have to make a decision as a comedian,” he told the paper. “Do you pander to the 200 most privileged people in the world in the room or the 200 million watching at home?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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