For the fifth — and, he promises, very last — time, Ricky Gervais will host the Golden Globe Awards on January 5, 2020. According to Variety, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the news on Tuesday, Nov. 12, in a statement that paid homage to the comedian's run as host of the awards show from 2010 to 2012, and his return in 2016.
"When Ricky Gervais is at the helm of the Golden Globes Awards, we can always expect the unexpected," HFPA president Lorenzo Soria said. Meanwhile, the comedian himself poked fun at his return to the Golden Globes stage in a statement that promised this would be his final time accepting the gig. "Once again, they’ve made me an offer I can’t refuse," Gervais said, per Variety. "But this is the very last time I’m doing this, which could make for a fun evening."
While Gervais will set a new record as the most frequent Golden Globes host with the 2020 ceremony, the choice to return to such a controversial host is something of a downgrade for the HFPA, especially in the wake of Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg's performance in 2019. Though the pair seemed to be a strange choice initially, the 2019 Golden Globe Awards was quite successful, with the primetime telecast earning an impressive 18.6 million viewers — the biggest primetime audience since the 2018 Oscars the previous March.
Oh and Samberg's show was a celebration of diversity and progress in Hollywood. Not to mention the fact that it was actually funny.
Oh's monologue — and her emotional win later in the night for Best Actress in a Drama — provides a stark contrast to what fans can likely expect from Gervais when he takes the stage in January. The Derek star, who proudly describes himself as "problematic" in his Twitter bio and has earned support from Piers Morgan for his brand of comedy, is well known for his controversial jokes and attacks on Hollywood. His 2016 Globes monologue, for example, included jokes about Caitlyn Jenner's transition and calling the celebrities in attendance "pill popping sexual deviant scum." That's a far cry from Samberg pointing out the Black Panthers' mistreatment by the government during the Civil Rights movement or Oh's joke about Hollywood's reluctance to hire female directors.
It's impossible to tell just yet what kind of host Gervais will be or whether his jokes will continue to be as controversial as they have been in years past. However, after seeing Samberg and Oh — and even Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's three-year run from 2013-15 — make significant strides in celebrating and acknowledging the changes in Hollywood and the culture at large, it's hard not to feel like the decision to bring in Gervais is a step backwards for the HFPA — and for audiences.