Finally, Ricky Gervais used his tendency to say distasteful things for good.
In bringing on Mel Gibson, who was at the Golden Globes to introduce Best Drama nominee Mad Max: Fury Road, Gervais addressed the discomfort of the occasion with the appropriate scorn. He said that he had made jokes previously about Gibson, and now, Gervais said, "I find myself in the awkward position of having to introduce him again."
"I blame NBC for this terrible situation," Gervais continued. "Mel blames — we know who Mel blames." There was nervous laughter as Gervais broached the subject of Gibson's perceived anti-Semitism, first laid bare in the controversy over the characterizations of the Jewish characters in his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, and later explosively revealed during Gibson's 2006 arrest for drunk driving. (More on that later.)
Gervais then added: "Mel's forgotten all about it, apparently. That's what drinking does." Then, Gervais finished by saying: "I want to say something nice about Mel before he comes out, so, yeah, OK: I'd rather have a drink with him in his hotel room tonight than with Bill Cosby."
Gibson took the jokes in stride, and hugged Gervais as he stepped onto the stage. "I love seeing Ricky every three years, because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy," he said. At that point, Gervais reappeared, and Gibson said, "You don't need to leave your drink here. I'll put you to sleep another way, son of a bitch."
Gervais put his arm around Gibson, leaned in, and said, "I think we all want to know the answer to this: What the fuck does 'sugar tits' even mean?" (Which was bleeped out for American audiences, but here is a Vine of it.) "I don't know," Gibson said. "Ask the guy who said it — it wasn't me."
Gervais' question was a reference to one of the many famously inflammatory things Gibson said that have brought his once lauded, lucrative career to this strange place.
In July 2006, Gibson, who had been in and out of recovery during his adult life, was arrested in Malibu on suspicion of drunk driving. Drunk and enraged, he went on a tirade that soon became an international news story after the nascent TMZ obtained the police report. Among many other unhinged rants and threats, Gibson most famously said to one deputy, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?" To a female officer, he said, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"
Gibson has acted only occasionally since. But this year should see his directing comeback with Hacksaw Ridge, a World War II drama starring Andrew Garfield. It will be the first film he has directed since Apocalypto.
And here is how Alan Cumming looked after the whole exchange between Gervais and Gibson, speaking for all of us.
Kate Aurthur is the chief Los Angeles correspondent for BuzzFeed News. Aurthur covers the television and film industries.
Contact Kate Aurthur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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