The After Life actor, 58, revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he regrets joking at Allen’s expense during the 2011 awards show ceremony.
“Yeah, Tim Allen,” Gervais said in an interview published on Thursday, January 2, when asked if he’s ever regretted something he’s said about anyone. “Because I think he took it wrong.”
When hosting the Golden Globes for the first time in 2011 — this year’s gig will mark his fifth time running the show — the joke revolved around the Last Man Standing actor and Tom Hanks, who he was presenting alongside.
“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,’” the Office alum recalled. “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.”
He explained: “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.”
Despite getting a laugh from the crowd, the British comedian didn’t want the Home Improvement alum to feel like the joke was directed at him.
“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,” he concluded.
As for what he’ll be saying when the show airs live on Sunday, January 5, Gervais has been working on material from the moment he took the hosting position once again.
“I write jokes and they’re considered, and I make sure they’re bulletproof,” he told THR. “Nowadays, you’ve got to make sure they’re bulletproof in 10 years’ time, with people going through saying, ‘He said this once, 10 years [ago].’”
He added: “Kevin Hart [lost] his job [as the Oscars host] for 10-year-old tweets that he said he was sorry about and deleted at the time. So, there’s more pressure on making [the jokes bulletproof]. It’s the world [watching]. This isn’t me in a comedy club.”
Hart, 40, was announced as the 2019 Oscars host in December 2018, but after old homophobic tweets resurfaced he decided to step down. “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” he wrote in a tweet at the time. “This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star added: “I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
Gervais has hosted the Golden Globes four times, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. He will return to the stage for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards this weekend.
Tune in to see the Golden Globes live on Sunday, January 5, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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