The good the bad and the ugly at the Golden Globe Awards

What the stars teach us about making classy introductions. Not

Award ceremonies like the Golden Globes are a great chance to see which celebrities are naughty and which are nice. We can gain a lot of etiquette, networking and class advice from them. Instead of showing us how to act, they show us what not to do.

The bad

For Ricky Gervais nice is not an option.

When you have a reputation for edginess like Ricky Gervais, well that’s what you’re going to get. His job that night was to be edgy but unfortunately his introductions ruffled the feathers of a few of the celebrities. Especially Robert Downey Jr. who accused him of being “hugely mean-spirited”. Watch the clip of Ricky and Robert duking it out for least classy presenter award.

The ugly

Shame on you, Robert

After chastising Ricky’s behavior, Robert Downey then proceeded to come across as a self-centered sexist. Introducing the nominees for best actress by saying that he “didn’t know if they’ve done their best work until he had slept with them”. To make matters worse his introduction of the Golden globe nominees was all about him, not them. (Etiquette tip – when you make an introduction, shine the spotlight on the person you’re introducing.)

Classy tip to all introducers

Robert’s not alone. I’m always amazed how many business people, especially business men, try to introduce a speaker or start a speech with a sexist joke.

In the real world of networking and business etiquette, you want to come across as someone who is nice and has a bit of class. You can be humorous and gracious without being mean-spirited or sexist. When making introductions beware of humor that can be perceived as sexist, racist or bawdy. It may introduce yourself to your audience in a way you didn’t intend. Our expert advice is to be cautious with your humor with people that don’t know you well.

The good

Yes, there were a few classy moments.
Paul Giamatti who won best actor for Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version came across humorously and graciously. He proved you can be funny without being nasty.

A slightly self-deprecating humor is a great way to accept an award or accolade.

It acknowledges the honor but at the same time shows that you are not vain or take yourself too seriously. In other words you come across with class and graciousness and isn’t that what we would all like to do? Especially in front of an audience. Heck, Paul even thanked Canada. Watch the video clip of funny and gracious Paul Giamatti accepting his Golden Globe.

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Posted by Terry Pithers – The Business Etiquette Expert

About the author 

Terry Pithers

Canadian speaker, humorist and business etiquette expert. If you are interested in booking me for a presentation, keynote or workshop, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

  1. Thanks for the blog comment Caitlin. Laughing it off works when you are in the limelight. A sexist or racist joke tests our restraint, but I feel you have to let the person making the slur know your feelings, by not laughing at it and approaching them later in private. If you make a big deal of it at the time, they often brand you as a prude or not having a sense of humor.

  2. Ah, that makes sense, Joanne. Better to take a breather too before reacting and do it strategically. This could take a lot of self-control…

    And I’m sure people like Robert Downey end up looking like bigger fools when their victims don’t get upset publicly.

  3. I agree with you Cait. Robert Downey showed us what a dinosaur he is.
    A woman is better off not commenting In public as the offender could become defensive and make it awkard for her. That’s not to say she should accept or ignore it, instead deal with it in private.

  4. Yep, it was a lot like a stag night — or even a roast.

    Really distasteful. I actually think Robert Downey was worse than Ricky Gervais — at least Ricky Gervais was mocking the arrogance and poor behaviour of celebrities. Robert Downey was picking on a handful of actresses with clean reputations.

    But one thing I noticed, was that the actresses laughed off Robert Downey’s comments. So here’s a question: is this the classiest response to a sexist or otherwise offensive comment at a formal event? How should a recipient of this kind of humour react? Is it better to laugh it off publicly, and approach them privately? Or not respond at all?

  5. Thank you for pointing out how inappropriate the remarks of a few celebrities were. In today’s world where rudeness is rampant, it is often difficult for many to understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

  6. Just heard on the news that Ricky Gervais won’t be invited back to host the Golden Globe awards. After insulting the organizers and the guests, I wonder why not? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Here’s a link to the video of him slagging everyone

    Did anybody else think it was a little closer to a stag night than an awards night?

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