Ricky Gervais, Man of the People

Ricky Gervais, Man of the People

Bridget Phetasy
Bridget Phetasy
2 min read

In a room filled with self-absorbed narcissists, one brave, slightly less self-absorbed narcissist had the balls to speak truth to power—and his name is Ricky Gervais.

If courage had a face, it would be a slightly overweight, pasty British multi-millionaire drinking a pint. Taking the stage to host his fifth and final (allegedly) Golden Globe Awards, Ricky spoke for us, the oppressed, six-figure earning, working middle-class, little guy.

I may not have ever flown on a private jet to a private island with a temple, but I got an upgrade to first class once, and those warm nuts have a way of seducing you into believing anyone cares about your shitty takes. In fact it was on that flight I was inspired to become an opinion writer. I appreciate your hypocrisy, Hollywood, it makes me feel better about my own.

So I get it, Hollywood. If this happened to me after a single first class flight, I can’t imagine what it must be like for you after a lifetime of warm nuts and constant flattery. It’s easy to understand how expensive gift bags and millions of dollars would make anyone feel qualified to lecture other people on public policy, private morality, global warming, or the complex geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Because that’s what Hollywood has been doing. They’ve been talking down to us normals for decades. While we wait in Boarding Group D to schlep to the back of the plane, they recline on private jets with a private chef and tweet about how we should all go vegan. I doubt they even know what a boarding group is.

They have the audacity to call for an “economic revolution” after making fortunes off us working-class stiffs. They look down on anyone who doesn’t vote like them because they can’t possibly imagine a world in which they might be wrong. Fame has tricked them into believing they are the moral arbiter of all that is good and right and just in the world.

I, too, would think I was on the right side of history if everyone in the room agreed with me—or was afraid to disagree for fear of being blacklisted. They put themselves on a pedestal of their own making and give each other awards.

But the emperor has no clothes. And with a few pointed jokes, Gervais pierced their collective delusion, exposing the hypocrisy of Hollywood for what it truly is. As he so casually reminded them, these are the people who partied with Jeffrey Epstein and made movies with Harvey Weinstein. They take China’s money and look the other way at its human rights abuses, censorship, sweatshops, IP theft, and their most heinous crime, banning South Park.

I have to say, it was satisfying to watch a roomful of self-righteous celebrities be on the receiving end of a roast. Only a cheeky atheist comedian with a British accent could get away with saying, “So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off.”

Ricky’s genius is his ability to seamlessly transition from inside the bubble of the Hollywood elite to outside the bubble where the rest of us plebs reside. He directly ridiculed the showbiz royalty in their own court. He made jokes at their expense and their expense alone. One or two took it in stride. (Kudos to you, Leo.) Some groaned. Some laughed awkwardly. Some sat stone-faced, unamused—or perhaps they were the few who had just enough shame left to recognize the depravity veiled by the jokes. Or maybe they just had gas from all the warm nuts.


Bridget Phetasy

Follow Bridget Phetasy on Twitter @bridgetphetasy