Hollywood braces itself for the comedian's controversial humor in the wake of a cultural shift towards greater sensitivity.
"Once again, they've made me an offer I can't refuse," Gervais said in a statement. "But this is the very last time I'm doing this, which could make for a fun evening."
His past stints, however, have proven controversial as his biting humor often targets the Hollywood crowd sitting in attendance, one that is now accustomed to a more sensitive atmosphere in the wake of various social and cultural shifts since his last time hosting in 2016.
"There is always a palpable electricity in the room when Ricky takes the Globes stage," declared NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy. "His return as master of ceremonies at the Golden Globes is much anticipated. It is sure to make for an unexpected evening. We can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve."
Which begs the question, will the unpredictable British comedian's brutal jokes and stinging barbs still be welcomed by the talk of Tinseltown, much less viewers who may be inclined to turn off programming deemed too outrageous or even outdated?
Back during Gervais' reign, the likes of Bruce Willis, Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie and Jodie Foster were just some of the Hollywood heavyweights roasted by "The Office" creator, while the annual gala itself was left maimed.
"One Hollywood publication said that me hosting would mean that some stars would stay away, for fear of being made fun of. As if film stars would stay away from the chance of winning a Golden Globe. Particularly if their film company has already paid for it," Gervais cracked during the 2016 presentation.
And even then, the tide appeared to be turning from his brand of caustic comedy. "Dire," was how his 2016 endeavor was described by Time magazine. "It wasn't offensive, which is what he wanted it to be. It was just a bore," wrote the publication's Daniel D'Addario. Deadline said Gervais "got lamer as the evening wore on."
In 2018, the Golden Globes found nearly all women in attendance dressed in black in solidarity with the Time's Up movement -- a response to the gender inequality and sexual harassment prevalent in Hollywood, and society in general.
Gervais setting foot on the same stage two years later -- with previous jokes such as "I'd rather have a drink with [Mel Gibson] tonight in his hotel room than with Bill Cosby" -- may appear anachronistic in an industry rocked by the upheavals and rapid progress made by #MeToo.
Perhaps Gervais' surgically precise humiliations of the powerful could even have an unintended consequence and prove to be a wrecking ball, smashing through the Beverly Hilton come January 5 -- recklessly excoriating a system that perpetuated abuse for so long.
Regardless, it's a bold choice for the HFPA to choose a host at all let alone one as controversial as Gervais -- especially considering what happened to Kevin Hart and the Oscars.
The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, January 5, 2020 starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
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