TODAY   |  January 06, 2012

Ricky Gervais: Controversy ‘irrelevant to me’

TODAY’s Matt Lauer sits down with comedian Ricky Gervais, who is gearing up to host the Golden Globes again with his signature controversial comedy.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> an estimated 250 million viewer also tune in to watch the golden globes a week from sunday. for a third year in a row, british comedian ricky gervais will serve as host. remember the fallout from last year? i caught up with him on monday for an exclusive interview. when ricky gervais took to the podium in 2011 to host the golden globe awards for the second time it was clear the gloves were off.

>> please welcome ashton kutcher 's dad, bruce willis . talking of the walking dead , congratulations to hugh hefner , two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay.

>> reporter: some of his remarks left the a-list audience speechless, he has the last laugh as he's invited to host round three. you like the tight wire?

>> that's my adrenalin rush.

>> did you feel that going into the second time hosting them?

>> every time i go live or tv or an interview i think i could always say the wrong thing. the thing is with me is there's always two little people in my head, one's going, go on, say it, whatever you like. the other one's going why take the risk? might be funny. might be a hero. but you might be living in a car. you know? which wins.

>> you did promise you were never going to do it again.

>> i did, and this is, no one believes me now. now this will be the last time i think, last time for a while at least. but what really tipped the balance was all the people who said i'd never be invited back.

>> exactly. just dare me.

>> people should know that reverse eye coming works better than that. i don't like it when he does that. don't you? well here's some more.

>> here are some of the comments. robert downey jr . got up and called your jokes hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones. "time" magazine, there's a fine line and another, the front-runner for the show's worst host

>> i suggested charlie sheen might like a night out. it's going to be a night of party and heavy drinking or as charlie sheen calls it breakfast. many of you know him best as the betty ford clinic and los angeles county jail. please welcome robert downey jr . robert downey jr . spent some time in clinics and he did. i'm not judging him by that. it's a joke.

>> and i don't want to make anybody think there weren't some rave reviews. jon stewart , a lot of people have an awful lot of respect for jon stewart .

>> i was offended that a comedian could be that funny on the globe show. ricky was hilarious.

>> as soon as i heard you were going to do it again, one of two things are going to happen, he's going to tone it down and not risk the controversy or he's going to go in there with his freaking guns blazing.

>> again there's no contest, and the controversy is irrelevant to me. that's people's opinions outside my jokes. i do it my way, i get lead on everything.

>> you get to do whatever you want .

>> and they don't know what i'm going to say and won't know what i'm going to say until i say it.

>> when you're on stage, am i watching ricky gervais or am i watching a cha, that you've created who happens to share the same name?

>> the guy on stage is a lot brasher, more arrogant, more confident than me. i tack a deep breath and go out with swagger.

>> sunday night the 15th we'll see that swagger?

>> yep. i might even really be drunk.

>> we're going to have much more of our interview with ricky next week, more on his rise to fame and foray into pop music .