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Ricky Gervais’ opening speech at the Golden Globes got everyone talking at the start of this year (yes, that was actually this year, if you can believe it), but he’s now revealed one of his jokes almost didn’t get past the network’s lawyers.
Back in January, the comedian hosted the awards for what was billed as the final time, kicking off the show with the remark: “You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards. So I don’t care anymore.”
In an apparent bid to prove his point, Ricky then lampooned pretty much everyone in the room with his introductory monologue, which took aim at everyone from Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew to Greta Thunberg and yes, even Baby Yoda during this year’s ceremony.
However, in a new interview with US talk show host Seth Meyers, he admitted that CBS lawyers wanted him to cut a joke about Dame Judi Dench from his routine.
“I turn up the day before, with a piece of paper with about 20 jokes,” the After Life creator explained. “I don’t show it to anyone, I don’t rehearse, but I do have to show it to a lawyer, to make sure I don’t break the law or libel anyone or break taste, indecency...
“I’ve always gone into a lawyer about an hour before and they’ve gone, ‘Yeah, that’s fine, that’s fine’. This time, I went into a room, and there was about 15. I don’t know if they’re getting more nervous about me, or times have changed. But obviously networks are very nervous, and this is primetime.”
He then revealed that there was only “one big discussion” about what he’d written, and that was a joke about Judi’s recent performance in the critically-panned Cats, which went: “Dame Judi Dench says it was the role she was born to play… she likes nothing more than plonking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg and licking her own minge.”
Ricky noted that there were concerns about the word “minge”, which the lawyers suggested he change to “vagina”, as they felt it was too “vulgar”.
“I went, ‘I’m not gonna say vagina! That’s worse! That’s so clinical!’,” Ricky added.
Eventually, Ricky went with the joke as planned, although the word “minge” was cut from the broadcast, leading to some confusion among viewers, many of whom assumed he’d said “ass”.
For what it’s worth, Dame Judi recently made her own rather explicit comment about her stint in Cats, while discussing her disdain for her character’s wardrobe.
“The cloak I was made to wear!” she told Vogue. “Like five foxes fucking on my back.”
Dame Judi said she hoped she would look elegant but instead resembled “a battered, mangy old cat”.
She added: “A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”
Watch Ricky’s full interview below: