The Golden Globes Joke That Ricky Gervais Actually Regrets Making

ricky gervais golden globe awards 2020
(Image credit: nbc press)

As they have done quite a few times in years past, NBC and the Golden Globes are welcoming British comedian and Globe winner Ricky Gervais as the host of the 77th annual awards telecast. Understandably, many potential viewers are wondering which Hollywood feathers will get ruffled by Gervais' cheekily sharp jokes. There's no telling quite what to expect just yet, but the Office and After Life creator has likely spoiled one TV star who won't get joked about, with Gervais opening up about a previously used Globes joke that he actually regrets making.

In discussing how he's approaching this year's Golden Globes at a time when humor is facing new levels of social media scrutiny, Ricky Gervais admitted that he regrets a rather innocuous joke he'd made about Last Man Standing and Home Improvement star Tim Allen. Here's how Gervais put it:

Yeah, Tim Allen. Because I think he took it wrong. The joke was him and Tom Hanks. So I came out and said, ‘Our next two presenters, the first has won five Oscars, combined box office of five billion dollars. And the other, Tim Allen.’ Right? It's a fine joke. I'm teasing Tim Allen. But anyone standing next to Tom Hanks, unless it's Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford or Robert De Niro, that could be me. But it happened to be Tim Allen. And I have nothing against Tim Allen. He's a good actor. He's probably a nice bloke. So even though there's no malice and I can justify it comedically and everyone laughed, I didn't want Tim Allen to think, ‘Oh, that was written for me. Why me?’ Well, because you were standing next to Tom Hanks.

As many are well aware, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have been the co-stars of the Toy Story franchise for around 25 years now. Even though they weren't together for much of the recording time through the four films, the two actors will forever be connected in many fans' minds for their respective portrayals of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Of course, their careers outside of the Toy Story movies couldn't be more different. Allen is known as a TV star who sporadically takes on Hollywood comedies, while Hanks hasn't returned to a regular TV role since leaving Bosom Buddies in 1982. (Not counting his SNL appearances, of course.)

last man standing tim allen

Tim Allen and Tom Hanks did become friends in real life, though I'm not sure anyone will be able to say that about Allen and Ricky Gervais, given the sense of guilt the latter feels about making that crack at the Golden Globes a few years back.

When asked by THR which celebrities will get targeted in this year's Golden Globes monologue and beyond, Ricky Gervais gave perhaps a surprising answer, though one that might not necessarily be proven true by the time the ceremony airs. In Gervais' words:

Well, I don't think this time [any] individuals are. I think I'll go after the general community. I'd go after cinema and I'd go after television and I'd go after actors and I'll go after pretension and hypocrisy. You know what I mean? I'd go after those big, nebulous things where they can all feel I'm not picking on any one person. I'm never going to point to someone and say, 'You had a bad year, mate,' you know?

Gervais was then immediately reminded that he'd done just such a thing with Mel Gibson in years past, not to mention Charlie Sheen and Ben Affleck. But that was back before 2020 came around, and there's no point in judging someone for misbehaving in the past, right? Oh, wait...

Will Ricky Gervais end up skewering any celebs this time around, or will he keep to his word? I'm also now interested to see if he sneaks in a non sequitur apology to Tim Allen for the above joke.

Preceded by red carpet specials galore, the 77th Golden Globe Awards will be held on NBC on Sunday, January 5, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Check back with CinemaBlend for a full update on all the big winners that night, and don't forget that Tim Allen's Last Man Standing will be returning to Fox for a new night on Thursday, January 2, for its Season 8 premiere.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.