Last year, Gervais was criticized by actors and journalists for his crass, crude and what Robert Downey Jr. called "mean-spirited" jokes.
Despite the bad publicity, the home audience loved his schtick, which was reflected in the ratings. Therefore, NBC hired him back for round three!
Many waited in anticipation to see how Gervais would top last year's performance. Would he go above and beyond the call of duty? Short answer: No.
"So where was I? Nervous? Don't be. This isn't about you," he said. "Tonight, you get Britain's biggest comedian hosting the world's second biggest award show on America's third biggest network. Oh, sorry, fourth. It's fourth."
But later in the game, he tried to spice things up. He dropped the F-bomb (while Meryl Streep said the S-word), called Colin Firth a racist and made a crack about Madonna's "Like a Virgin" days. The joke would have worked in 1985, but in 2012, not so much. Madge didn't take his dig lightly, and bit back with guns blazing.
"If I'm just like a virgin, Ricky, why don't you come over here and do something about it?" she said. "I haven't kissed a girl in a few years -- on TV."
Yipes! Overall, Gervais was nowhere near as venomous as we expected. He was noticeably subdued. According to The Los Angeles Times, Best Actor Drama nominee Michael Fassbender was surprised by his tone. "He was great last year. Why is he being so tame tonight?"
Why Ricky? Why?
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