LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than two weeks after Ricky Gervais ripped Hollywood’s high and mighty while hosting the Golden Globes, the controversy refuses to go away.
The English comedian said late Tuesday that an executive at the event’s U.S. broadcaster has approached him to consider returning for a third stint next year, clarifying an earlier comment that the request came from the event’s “organizers.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the awards show, earlier in the day denied Gervais’ initial assertion in a blog that “organizers asked me to consider a third year.”
“There is no truth to this rumor. We have not asked him to come back. Nice try, Ricky,” Philip Berk, the group’s president and a target of Gervais’ savage wit, said in a statement.
But Gervais subsequently told The Hollywood Reporter that he erred in writing “organizers” and should have stated that he had been asked by an executive at the NBC network.
“(The executive) called me and said he loved (the show), that it was great,” Gervais was quoted as telling the Hollywood Reporter. “He said don’t rule out a third gig. I said I don’t think I’ll do it again. I doubt I’ll be invited back. And he said, just don’t rule it out.”
A spokeswoman at NBC told Reuters that the executive was in New York and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gervais told the paper that he called Berk to explain the confusion, because he was annoyed that the group’s statement implied that he was being deceitful.
“It’s not fair. I always tell the truth,” Gervais said. “So that’s the thing that bothered me.”
At any rate, Gervais said the whole matter had become “academic” since he was pretty sure the group would not tolerate being the butt of his jokes yet again.
Berk, according to Gervais, told him that a lot of the group’s 90-odd members complained about his jokes. Gervais said he replied, “I’m sorry about that, but I don’t care if people liked the show.”
The January 16 event took place three days after a former publicist filed a lawsuit accusing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of corruption, and Gervais wasted little time belittling the group during his monologue. Many of its members write for obscure publications and are often viewed as starry-eyed groupies.
Gervais joked that there was a “ridiculous rumor” that surprise contender “The Tourist” was nominated so that the members could hang out with the stars of the costly flop, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.
“That is rubbish. That is not the only reason,” Gervais told the audience. “They also accepted bribes.” (The association has said the lawsuit is “completely without merit.”)
Gervais later joked that he had to help Berk get off the toilet and install his dentures.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Paul Simao