|Short people Merchant, Davis and Gervais. Ray Burmiston/HBO|
He did share one insight on celebrities in general. "There's no difference now," he said, "between fame and infamy."
Gervais, along with Stephen Merchant and Harry Potter and Star Wars player Warwick Davis, were at HBO's TCA press day to promote Life's Too Short. The faux documentary comedy, with Davis playing a fictionalized version of himself, premieres Feb. 19 on HBO and HBO Canada.
Appearing relaxed and relatively subdued, Gervais said Davis is much more successful and less idiotic than the grasping guy he plays in Life's Too Short. "We had to make him like a Hitler for you to get the gag," he told critics.
If making a fake documentary about a 3-foot-9-inch actor seems like another taboo-breaker, good, says Gervais. "No harm can come of taboo subjects," he says. "When people say it is sort of outrageous or sick or pushing the boundaries, I don't see that it is. I think some people confuse the target of a joke with the subject of a joke."
Some celebs get the joke. Gervais goofed on Johnny Depp in the past but the actor turns up as himself in Life's Too Short. Gervais approached him and asked if he wanted to "get your own back" and Depp told him "don't worry about it a jot."
Gervais insisted he and Merchant are cynics, sure, but also romantics at heart. A good example of a film they both love: Billy Wilder's 1961 classic The Apartment.
As for his reputation as a live and dangerous Golden Globes star killer, Gervais insists he's just there to have a good time and to make people laugh. "I don't care what people think," he reiterated, suggesting--contrary to what some stars might think--"my conscience never takes a day off."
He almost didn't return to the Globes a third time, he said, but so many people wrote that he would never be invited back it egged him on to accept the gig once again.
As for the nervous reaction he usually gets in the Golden Globes room, Gervais says he'd rather get laughs than gasps, "but I cherish the gasps along with the laughs."
The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards airs Sun., Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. on NBC and CTV.