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The Golden Globes have been around since 1944, but there have only been 11 years of hosts. Compared to the Oscars, which has had a host almost every year since its first ceremony in 1929, there have only been 10 Golden Globes hosts, most of which are cohosts or repeats. The Golden Globes seemed to do just fine for its first 50-plus years, so why the host now?
While we don’t know the exact answer to this, it’s likely because the Golden Globes first televised show was in 2010. Though the Golden Globes had a host once before that, 2010 was when the show attached a marquee name. Compared to the Oscars and the Grammys, which have been televised since the 1950s and have hosts for majority of their ceremonies, the Golden Globes is only a recent televised awards show, so, when it had its first broadcast, it makes sense that producers wanted it to follow the same format as other awards shows and include a host. But does it need it?
After Kevin Hart’s homophobic controversy, the 2019 Oscars was the first time the Academy Awards didn’t have a host since 1989. For many critics and viewers, the 2019 Oscars was also one of the Academy’s best. The show seemed streamlined, organized and allowed more celebrity presenters to shine through monologues and teleprompter jokes. There was also a lack of cringe-worthy schticks. And while the format hasn’t worked well for every awards show (the 2019 Emmys, for example, has been criticized for its mundaneness and lack of excitement, it’s still something worth experimenting with.
Perhaps we don’t need a host? Of the 11 years of Golden Globes hosts, there’s only been a select few that stand out in our mind. (Ahem, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.) The rest, though did the job well, have been haunted by either forgettable material or controversial material. Perhaps the Golden Globes could take a hint from the 2019 Oscars and do away the host thing for good. Until then, we’ll have to settle with Ricky Gervais, who will host his fifth Golden Globes on Jan. 5. See the Golden Globes hosts through the years ahead.
1995: John Larroquette & Janine Turner
Larroquette and Turner were the first-ever Golden Globes hosts at the 52nd awards show in 1995. Both are actors. Larroquette was best known for shows, such as The John Larroquette Show and Boston Legal, while Turner was famous for films like Cliffhanger and Friday Night Lights. According to Vanity Fair, the duo’s opening monologue included a joke about what the movie Junior would have been like if Arnold Schwarzenegger had performed a circumcision and riff on Tom Hanks’ “life is like a box of chocolates” line from Forrest Gump.
2010: Ricky Gervais
2010 was the first time the Golden Globes were televised. It also marked Gervais’ first time as a host. The stand-up comedian, who was best known for his role on the U.K. version of The Office, kicked off a decade of Golden Globes hosts with a bang. Gervais told The Hollywood Reporter in 2009 that he felt like he had “free reign as a host,” which is what led to controversial jokes for his second, third, fourth and soon-to-be fifth time as a Golden Globes host.
As for why a host, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk also told THR that the Golden Globes never thought it needed a host until it was televised and NBC recommended that the show have an entertainer to push it along. “We never thought a host was necessary,” he said. “Only when NBC suggested the idea that a host might enhance the show, my response was the only person we could consider for the task would be Ricky Gervais, and we were lucky to get him.”
2011: Ricky Gervais
Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t too happy with Gervais when the comedian hosted the Golden Globes for a second time in 2011. When it was time to speak, the Iron Man star took a couple sections to call out Gervais for his not-so-nice humor. “Aside from the fact that it’s been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones,” Downey Jr. said. “I’d say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far.” Gervais four-minute monologue included jabs at Sex and the City 2, Charlie Sheen, Cher, Johnny Depp and several other stars. The comedian also made a joke about Bruce Willis as “Ashton Kutcher’s dad,” which seemed to upset the actor. (Willis is the ex-husband of Kutcher’s then-wife Demi Moore.)
2012: Ricky Gervais
Though some believed that Gervais toned down his monologue in 2012, the comedian’s third time as a Golden Globes host still included several harsh jabs at celebrities. Many criticized Gervais’ homophobic joke about Jodie Foster, a queer actress who starred in the film The Beaver with Mel Gibson. “Jodie Foster’s Beaver,” Gervais said. “I haven’t seen it myself. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys here, they haven’t seen it either”.
Gervais also had a tiff with Madonna, who won Best Original Song, after he joked that her song “Like a Virgin” was no longer relevant to her life. Madonna later responded, “Ricky, if I am just like a virgin why don’t you come over here and do something about it?” Another moment he was criticized for was when he swore on air and told viewers that he couldn’t understand Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. “I don’t know because I can’t understand a f—king word they’re saying,” he remarked.
2013: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
After a critical three years as a Golden Globes host, Gervais retired. 2013 marked Fey and Poehler’s three-year run as hosts of the awards show. The duo, who are arguably the best Golden Globes hosts, referenced Gervais’ absence in their monologue. “Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight because he is no longer technically in show business,” Fey said. Poehler added, “We wanna assure you we have no intention on being edgy or offensive tonight because as Ricky learned the hard way—when you run afoul the Hollywood Foreign Press, they make you host this show two more times.”
The comedians also took aim at Kathryn Bigelow’s three-year marriage to James Cameron. “I haven’t really been following the controversy over Zero Dark Thirty, but when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron,” Poehler said. But perhaps one of the pair’s most memorable jokes was when they poked fun at Meryl Streep’s many Golden Globes nominations. “Meryl Streep is not here tonight,” Poehler said. “She has the flu—and I hear she’s amazing in it.”
2014: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
Fey and Poehler were such a success in 2013 that they were invited back for a second round as hosts of the 2014 Golden Globes. Again, the comedians brought the house down with their lighthearted jabs at celebrities, especially Hollywood men. “Gravity is nominated for Best Film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than to spend one more minute with a woman his own age,” Fey said. The two also called out fellow TV comedian Julia Louis Dreyfus, who was nominated for both film and TV categories but chose to sit in the film side of the ballroom. “Interestingly, Julia has chosen to sit in the film section tonight. Hi, Julia! Hi Julia! You know us from TV. Gosh, she has really changed,” they said as the camera flashed to Dreyfus smoking an electric cigarette and Reese Witherspoon trying to take a selfie with her.
2015: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
2015 was Poehler and Fey’s last time as hosts of the Golden Globes. Compared to their usually safe routines, Poehler and Fey had a couple of controversial jokes during their monologue that made the audience gasp and Jessica Chastain cover her face. “Cinderella runs from her prince, Rapunzel is thrown from a tower for her prince and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby,” they said while discussing Into the Woods. The pair also joked about how Amal Clooney is often referred to as “George Clooney’s wife.”
“She’s a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, an advisor to Kofi Annan on Syria and was appointed to a three-person commission investigating rules-of-war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award,” they said.
2016: Ricky Gervais
Gervais returned as a Golden Globes host in 2016, where he promised to “be nice” and that he had “changed.” The statement was simply a schtick as Gervais went on to joke about Caitlyn Jenner’s fatal car crash that led to the death of another driver. “Now Caitlyn Jenner, of course,” he said. “What a year she’s had! She became a role model for trans people everywhere, showing great bravery in breaking down barriers and destroying stereotypes. She didn’t do a lot for women drivers. But you can’t have everything, can you? Not at the same time.”
Gervais also took a jab at the pay gap in Hollywood when discussing the all-female reboots of films, like Ocean’s Eleve and Ghostbusters. “All-female remakes are the big thing,” he said. “There’s a female remake of Ghostbusters, there’s gonna be a female remake of Ocean’s Eleven. And this is brilliant for the studios, ’cause they get guaranteed box-office results, and they don’t have to spend too much money on the cast.”
2017: Jimmy Fallon
Many considered Fallon’s turn as 2017’s Golden Globes host awkward. The talk show host, who was criticized months earlier for his lax interview with President Donald Trump, had a mishap in his opening monologue when the teleprompter went down and he had to improvise the rest. To stall for time, Fallon suggested schticks, such as cutting to Justin Timberlake and doing an impression of Chris Rock. Still, despite the malfunction, Fallon did have some good jokes. The host improvised a reference to Mariah Carey’s viral flub at a New Year’s Eve performance. I just talked to Mariah Carey, and she thinks Dick Clark Productions sabotaged my monologue,” he said.
2018: Seth Meyers
Meyer used his opening monologue to highlight the achievements in Hollywood in 2018. “This was the year of big little lies and get out—and also the television series Big Little Lies and the movie Get Out,” he said. “There’s a new era underway, and I can tell because it’s been years since a white man was this nervous in Hollywood.” Meyers also referenced Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
“They tried to get a woman to host this show, they really did. They said, ‘Hey, how would you like to come and be judged by some of the most powerful people in Hollywood?'” he said. “And women were like, ‘Hmm, well, where is it?” And they said, ‘It’s at a hotel,’ and long story short, I’m your host tonight.”
2019: Sandra Oh & Andy Samberg
Oh and Samberg were the first duo to host the Golden Globes since Fey and Poehler. Compared to Gervais, Oh and Samberg used their monologue to compliment the audience, which earned mixed reviews from critics. “Umm, Andy. That’s weird. Gina Rodriguez is here,” Oh said, to which Samberg responded. “Yeah, why’s that weird, Sandra?” Oh replied, “Cause last time I checked, she resided in heaven” to which Samberg said. “What? Sandra Oh, more like Sandra Oh-Snap.”
Still, the duo did have one solid joke when Oh poked fun at how Asians moms wouldn’t be impressed by Crazy Rich Asians‘ blockbuster performance. “Crazy Rich Asians is nominated tonight for best picture- musical or comedy. It is the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha. Crazy Rich Asians made over 200 million at the box office. Said Asian moms everywhere, (makes a not-so-impressed expression),” Oh said before asking the camera to cut to her mom.