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It's just a bit of banter

by Adam O’Neill

Ricky Gervais. He is, as we say in England, “Like marmite.” Marmite is a spread used on toast or a sandwich and is quite incomparable to anything else you’ve ever tasted. It is almost impossible to describe; it contains a bitter taste and is made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing (that wasn’t impossible, to be fair). However, there is a universal rule that you either love marmite or hate it.

This is Gervais in a nutshell. He will either make you laugh like you’ve just seen a skateboarder fall over on campus or make you cringe like someone has just seen you fall off your skateboard.

His recent performance at The Golden Globes was a prime example of the splitting opinion, offending and delighting in equal measure. Gervais, who was host, targeted celebrities and top films stars, including Tim Allen, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Jr. Check out the clips on YouTube if you haven’t seen them.

It seems like Hollywood stars can mess up their lives, be hypocrites and appear in unmitigated garbage films as much they want. However, if you mention it while they’re in the same room, it’s like taking a dump in the presence of royalty.

The amount of backslapping that goes on at these award ceremonies is quite nauseating at times, so it was refreshing to see someone poke fun at the millionaires.

It’s not as if Hollywood isn’t vocal with their views. Basically, they are a bunch of one-armed waiters; they can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

It was also the first time I have seen Robert De Niro laugh. If anything, Gervais deserves some credit for that.

The level of controversy he seemed to cause is just bizarre. America invented the roast, so it’s not a case of an English comedian bringing his offensive comedic style over the pond to stir up some trouble.

He hosted the same exact awards show last year; the producers knew what they were getting from him, why the big fuss? It just seems completely unnecessary.

Take, for example, the gossip magazines that fabricate aspects of celebrity’s lives simply for the public’s entertainment. They are sneaky in nature and often border on libelous, yet they have become a staple of our culture.

People pay for the latest scoop on celebrities, yet when Gervais puts a comical spin on the same types of events, the media are up in arms. The same media that sensationalize celebrity scandals have lambasted Gervais because they thought he was mean. It’s hypocrisy epitomized.

If you thought he wasn’t funny, then fair enough. As I mentioned earlier, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The criticism, however, seems to stem from the nature of his jokes, rather than the delivery.

Downey Jr. said during his presentation, “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”

He then went on to say, “I’m not sure which actress can do their best work, until I sleep with her,” which was obviously a joke but could also be perceived as having sinister undertones. It’s swings and roundabouts really.

These actors put themselves in the spotlight, get paid millions of dollars for it and take all the adulation and praise that is heaped upon them. It is an environment that harbors criticism, yet when it comes their way, they are more sensitive than a hungover sorority girl watching “The Notebook.”

Anyway, I enjoyed it. To me, it was just a guy making a few jokes to liven up an otherwise dull awards show. Oh, and I hate marmite.

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