Golden Globes 2020: Ricky Gervais Regrets Mocking 'Last Man Standing' Star Tim Allen at 2011 Awards

Ricky Gervais was welcomed back to host the Golden Globes for a fifth time, even though his previous four outings were filled with controversial moments. One came during the 2011 ceremony, when he delivered a joke about Last Man Standing star Tim Allen. In a new interview, Gervais mentioned that as a top joke he regrets from his previous Golden Globes outings.

During the 2011 ceremony, Gervais introduced Allen and his Toy Story co-star Tom Hanks, who were presenting an award together.

"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,'" Gervais told The Hollywood Reporter. "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," the comedian continued. "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."

This was not the first time Gervais expressed regret about the Allen joke. In an interview with Rolling Stone just weeks after the 2011 ceremony, Gervais said he was sorry if Allen was "taken aback" by the joke.

"Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, OK, the thing about that gag is, even though Tim Allen is one of the most successful comedic actors in the world, who would look good against Tom Hanks?" Gervais said at the time. "That's all I was saying... Actually, Tim Allen might have been taken aback by it and, if so, I'm sorry. But I won't apologize for the joke. The joke is justified. I had no bad intentions!"

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association picked Gervais to host the 2020 Globes in November, despite his history of taking biting jabs at Hollywood's elite during the ceremony. The choice became even more controversial after Gervais appeared to support Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in her own controversy.

Rowling caused a social media uproar when she supported a British researcher who was fired for expressing anti-transgender beliefs. Gervais' tweets on the issue, published in response to a parody account, were criticized as transphobic.

Gervais insisted his messages were taken out of context though.

"Jarvis Dupont is a spoof Twitter account, and the joke is that he's so woke that he's actually gone full circle and does terrible things," Gervais explained to THR. "And his latest [bit] is, 'I'm trans now.' And he gets all that wrong. And I responded by playing along with him, saying, 'Oh, you're so much better than biological women because they've had a lifetime to get used to it.'"

"Now, people saw my tweet and they thought he's a real trans person, but I'm taking the piss out of Jarvis Dupont, who is actually a woman in real life," Gervais continued. "And this is the problem. You can say, 'Listen, I was joking. It's a joke.' But that's not always enough for people. They go, 'Well, why were you joking?' Also, add to that the nature of Twitter — it's so curt, there's no nuance, it's there forever out of context."

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The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony airs on NBC Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, live from Los Angeles.

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