This year, the co-creator and co-star of the often fame-and-fortune skewering "Life's Too Short," "The Ricky Gervais Show," "An Idiot Abroad," "Extras" and both the U.K. and U.S. version of "The Office" saved most of his acerbic venom for several folks who weren't in attendance: Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy. And a few of the jokes directed at larger targets seemed to have compliments thinly hidden in their premises: Clooney is handsome, Firth is well-loved, Portman puts family first. Hardly biting.
But in fairness, Gervais promising to up the ante from his stellar performance last year is a bit like Paul McCartney promising to outdo The White Album. Some things in art and life come down to time, place, circumstance and the right convergence of events (Ricky would probably be upset if we suggested divine intervention). And while another comedic actor may have had the edgiest joke of the night ("Hello, I'm Seth Rogen, and I am currently trying to conceal a massive erection," said while standing about a foot away from Kate Beckinsale), Gervais certainly still generated several laughs. "It's so good having a job where you can get drunk and say what you want. And they pay you," he said at one point during the telecast.
CLICK HERE to read Gervais' five best jokes from last night's show.