How Ricky Gervais Offended Everyone in Hollywood and Restored My Faith in Comedy

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Ricky Gervais hosting the 2020 Golden Globe Awards – NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images.

Perhaps you’ve heard of comedian Ricky Gervais, or rather his hysterically scathing commentary on Hollywood, including some of the most famous icons alive. This happened at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards last night, and quickly became a social media hit.

The only place I could (quickly) find the full video of his intro to the “Globes” was on Caleb Hull’s twitter account. I promise, it’s not to be missed.

I’m writing this because, as you know, I’ve been critical of awards ceremonies, particularly in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve made numerous commentaries, including Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?, The Hugo Award Will Not Be Renamed and Why Are All Conservatives (seemingly) Called Alt-Right?, and Once More On Awards And How Your Heroes Will Never Be Perfect.

I’ve suspected more than one awards ceremony has been politically rigged to bias heavily in one direction (left), and last night, Gervais illuminated his live and television audience with just how true this mess in Hollywood is (as if we didn’t know, but it’s nice to have confirmation).

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The Return of Uncle Martin

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© Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Chris, what’s going on?” Susan O’Hara stood at the storage shed watching her husband tap at the laptop keyboard, attached to a rough, plaster globe wrapped in wire.

“Tracking his spacecraft. Dad said he’d come back. Found the diagrams and the frequency in his papers.”

“Your Dad was crazy. He thought his uncle was a Martian.”

The forty-four year old engineer kept focused on the screen with occasional glances at a blip of light appearing on the makeshift sphere. “I’m getting something.”

He toggled the volume up and a voice came through. “Tim. Help. The robots are taking over Mars.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction only 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Some of you may already have picked up references to the 1960s TV sitcom My Favorite Martian which starred Ray Walston and Bill Bixby. Walston played a martian stranded on Earth who is helped by a young newspaper reporter named Tim O’Hara (Bixby). O’Hara explained the martian to his landlady as his “Uncle Martin.” The show ran from 1963 to 1966 and I remember watching it as a kid.

Both Walston and Bixby are no longer with us, and I used the birth date of Bixby’s deceased son Christopher (he tragically died at age six) as the basis for creating the probable age of Tim O’Hara’s son, who has inherited the legacy of knowing there is life on Mars. Since we keep sending robots to the Red Planet, I thought I’d make that the source of “Martin’s” angst.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Gene Wilder Dead at 83

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Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein (1974)

Not the sort of thing I normally write about here, but Wilder was an incredible comic talent. I became most aware of Wilder through two films, Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974), both directed by Mel Brooks. I suppose the latter film somewhat justifies me posting my thoughts about Wilder here since it was adapted from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.

Oddly enough, of all the film adaptations of Shelley’s novel over the years (decades), Brooks’ depiction is the most faithful to the book in terms of plot (Okay, loosely faithful).

I love trivia, so I’ll share some. The lab equipment seen in “Young Frankenstein” was the same equipment in the 1931 film directed by James Whale, who also directed The Invisible Man (1933) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Of course, none of that has to do with Wilder.

I realize that everybody and their pet snake Reggie will be blogging and otherwise bombarding social media about Wilder’s death for the next few days to a week, so my one small voice adds little.

Still, he’s responsible for making me laugh, which is increasingly necessary in this rather grim world we live in, so I’m grateful. I own both “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” as DVDs, so I may need to devote some time to watching them again.

Thanks for a life devoted to making people laugh, Gene. You’re the best.

You can read a more proper obituary at Variety.