Nov. 17, 2011 at 10:03 AM ET
When it was confirmed Wednesday that Ricky Gervais would come back to host the Golden Globes for a third time, his many fans rejoiced at the decision to bring him back; I thought, "How awesome; but no way this is going to work twice."
What Gervais pulled off last year was lightning in a bottle. When was the last time a person in Hollywood, before a live audience of many millions, said what so many were thinking? Or dared to offend the people who actually greenlight the projects (and paychecks!) that keep Gervais among the employed? If your answer is something that rhymes with "almost never," then you'd be in the ballpark. Jog your memory by rewatching some of the highlights:
When it was all going down last year at the Beverly Hilton, the sound of people changing the channel was practically audible, and there was obvious discomfort in the room. But let's be clear: after some time to reflect, even those who bore the brunt of Gervais' jokes seem to get that yes, they were just jokes. Even "The Tourist" star Johnny Depp is able to poke fun at being poked fun at, and ultimately, Gervais was asked back.
But the element of surprise -- which was vital in pulling off last year's act -- is now gone. There's no way he can tone down his act; doing that would be giving in to every critic out there and he'd be deemed a failure. It's possible that Gervais' tweet about Billy Crystal not stealing his Holocaust and pedophile material is a sign of things to come, but a tweet is just that. It's a couple of seconds in time, not an entire awards broadcast.
I for one hope that Gervais pulls it off, in similar fashion to last January. Seeing someone boldly take pokes at the really, really "important people" is something we just don't see much of in Hollywood. If there's any comic out there who is up for the challenge, it's Gervais. And if there's any comic who will be just fine with turning the tables on himself if it all comes crashing down, it's Gervais, too. And this just might make him the perfect host -- again.