A year ago, the comedian was a surprise choice to act as the emcee because for many years prior, the awards show did not use an on-camera host. An unseen voice-over announcer used to intone the name of the next award category and the one or two celebs who came on stage to announce the winner.
But Gervais delivered a performance that was good enough for the producers of the show to invite him back this year. It came as a shock to him since his material was meant to tweak Hollywood celebs about their foibles and public failures.
Earlier in the week he had said as much to the Huffington Post. "I don't think I went far enough. Obviously not, because they invited me back. So, I'm going to do it again, do a proper job. And I guarantee they will not invite me back."
Last night's performance seemed to take a wrong turn almost immediately during a six minute opening monologue that drew laughs, groans and a lot of raised eyebrows. He insulted Angelina Jolie's movie box office draw for "The Tourist" as she sat only feet from him at one of the front row tables. He used favorite punching bag Charlie Sheen as the poster child for drunkenness.
It was when he made a joke at the expense of John Travolta, who wasn't in attendance, about his much discussed sexuality choices, that gasps were audible to the television audience.
"Also not nominated was 'I Love You Philip Morris,' Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Two heterosexual characters pretending to be gay," he said. "So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then."
Robert Downey, Jr., who had been insulted by Gervais during his introduction, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, mentioned Gervais and their lack of appreciation for his comedic bits during their time on stage. Downey's statement was most pointed. "Aside from the fact that its been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the show is going pretty good so far, wouldn't you?"
Actress Jane Seymour said, "What I saw didn't seem terribly funny," Jane Seymour. She went on to say that, "I don't think he will be invited back to do it next year, not in a hurry." In other words, Gervais accomplished what he set out to do.