Ricky Gervais still can’t quite figure out what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was on when it asked him to host the Golden Globes.
“I honestly don’t know what they were thinking,” he told reporters during a conference call Tuesday. “And then to say you can say what you like and then remind me it’s live? I mean, they’re mad.”
Nonetheless, the British comic and co-creator/star of “The Office” and “Extras” will take his first turn as an awards-show host at the Globes, which air Jan. 17 on NBC. His appearances at past Globes and Emmy ceremonies, either presenting or accepting awards, have killed, and now people will get a bigger dose of him as the first host of the Golden Globes in more than a decade.
Here’s some of what the voluble Gervais had to say about the gig, “The Office” and his next endeavor for HBO:
On reports that he’s not preparing any material:
“What I meant was I’m not going to do any sort of shtick. I’m not going to do pre-records, I’m not going to do a dance number, I’m not going to rehearse with anyone. I’m going to plan what I’m going to say but … I’m going to go out there and sort of relax.
“It’s going to be more like, I don’t know, I want to host it a little bit more like someone from the Rat Pack would host it, you know, just off the cuff and just playing the room and having fun with the people and roasting a few of the A-listers, and hopefully it’ll be fun for the room and the people at home. …
“I think I’m an acquired taste. I think I’m best in small doses. So, yeah, I don’t want to outstay my welcome. I don’t want to overwhelm the show. It’s everyone else’s show really. … And I’m just doing it for, you know, for a laugh, if I’m being totally honest. …
“Over the three hours I imagine I’m going to — my tie is going to come off and I’ll get drunker and drunker. So I don’t know what the last hour is going to be like, but I hope the first hour is going to be watchable.”
On hosting the Globes as opposed to the more formal Oscars or Emmys:
“It’s funny — it’s probably the worst one for the host but the best one for the nominees and guests. So, yeah, it’s a bittersweet experience. I’d rather be at a table getting drunk certainly than working, yeah. I might as well be staff.
“While the opposite is true of the Emmys. With the Emmys it’s fun to sort of get up there because it means you can stretch your legs and not sit in a seat for three hours without being allowed to go to the toilet or have a drink.
“But I’ll be shouting at them. I’ll go ‘Oh Cruise, stop scraping your plate when I’m talking.'”
On how he decided on the Globes:
“No one wants to see me mucking around at the Oscars. They’re there to know if they’ve won the most important award of their life, you know. It’s a pretty thankless task. The Emmys is possible, but I couldn’t do the rehearsals. So this is perfect. They said I could turn up and say what I wanted and get drunk. So it really is my kind of [gig].
“But what’s also nice is that I think that I’ve only been in this business about 10 years, but because I’m a very lazy person I think I’ve achieved enough. So I only do things now that could possibly end my career. It gives me a little bit of an adrenaline rush, you know.
On his dream “Office” guest star:
“Ryan Gosling. I’d like to see Ryan Gosling do something like just really — like a really sort of moody nerd who’s not touched by anything, but he frustrates the whole team maybe. Just someone — he plays something you think could go mad with an Uzi in McDonald’s because someone treated him badly.
“I think he could play a really angsty sort of guy. And they can’t get through to him. Michael’s going, ‘You can’t smoke here,’ and he goes, ‘There’s no law against smoking.’ Well there is actually, but – I can just imagine, I think he could really do some exciting [things].
“I love Will Arnett. I think he’s amazing. I think Louis CK is the funniest standup in America at the moment. Oh, there’s loads of people.”
On his next show:
“HBO launches a 13-part animation in February of ‘The Ricky Gervais Show.’ It’s animation of the audio books I do with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. And, yeah, we might have a new ‘Simpsons’ on our hands, but this time Homer Simpson is a real-life person called Karl Pilkington, the most stupid, round-headed buffoon on the planet Earth.” [It premieres Feb. 19; a preview is at RickyGervais.com.]
Nominations for the Golden Globes will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 15.