The British comedian's biting humor and stinging barbs will take over the Beverly Hilton for the fifth time, and fans have been wondering who will be in this year's line of fire, as his past jokes often focused on the Hollywood crowd sitting in attendance.
During a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 59-year-old revealed the targets of his controversial shtick and even dished on the one wisecrack he regrets.
"Well, I don't think this time [any] individuals are. I think I'll go after the general community," he explained. "I'd go after cinema and I'd go after television and I'd go after actors and I'll go after pretension and hypocrisy."
"You know what I mean? I'd go after those big, nebulous things where they can all feel I'm not picking on any one person," he continued. "I'm never going to point to someone and say, 'You had a bad year, mate,' you know?"
"I know, yeah, that's true," Gervais admitted to his list of victims. "I might do the odd one, but again, only if it's bad behavior. But I'm all for forgiveness as well, so if someone gets drunk and says something awful, I can tease them, but I don't want them imprisoned. Bad behavior's not always a terrible, criminal, punishable offense." he detailed.
"Sometimes it's like, 'You've embarrassed yourself, mate.' There are a thousand people in that room and they've probably all done something worthy of a bit of ridicule. But we're not hunting Nazis. We're going after people who were a bit rude or got drunk and insulted a waiter," he added.
But Gervais does have one actor in mind he wished he hadn't singled out.
"Yeah, Tim Allen. Because I think he took it wrong. The joke was him and Tom Hanks. 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.' Right? It's a fine joke. I'm teasing Tim Allen,' he began.
"But anyone standing next to Tom Hanks, unless it's Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford or Robert De Niro, that could be me. 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," explained Gervais. 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."
The "The Office" creator also explained that his joke about a "Sex And The City" poster being "ludicrously" airbrushed was calling out Hollywood's ageism, after star Kim Cattrall called the joke ageist.
"This is my big point, this is the offense caused by them confusing the subject of the joke with the target of the joke. I was saying, what's wrong with being 50? Who's watching that film going, 'She's 49. I'm not watching that shit.' Why do we have to make them look 22? It's creepy. So my target was the opposite of what [Cattrall] thought it was."
The interview comes on the heels of Gervais being under fire for a perceived transphobic tweet. The actor explained he was simply making a joke about a joke.
J.K. Rowling is a TERF!
Speaking as a trans woman, the thought that I will no longer be welcome in a fictional school for wizards has destroyed me.
"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," he told 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.'"
"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."
We'll see if Gervais causes any more controversy come this Sunday.
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.