The Golden Globes has been the stage for a fair number of shocking, hilarious and scandalous moments over its 78 years.
Returning hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are sure to grab fans' attentions with their hilarious gags and the show's first-ever "bicoastal" broadcast split between New York and Los Angeles.
When Bette Midler made the most obvious joke ever
She cited Joan Crawford for the joke but it was Midler who reminded everyone in the audience that if an award-winning actress wants to get up on stage and refer to her own “golden globes,” there’s little showrunners or TV broadcasters can do to stop her. “I have to be tasteful. They told me I have to,” Midler says right before delivering the line anyway.
When the awards didn't happen at all
Well this was awkward. During the 2008 Writers Guild strike, actors (members of the Screen Actors Guild) showed solidarity with their writer counterparts by attend the event. This led to the cancellation of the show, with organizers from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association opting instead to announced the winners during a televised press conference.
When Tina Fey shot down George Clooney
While hosting the 2013 show, Fey described the plot of one big blockbuster that year, “Gravity,” as “the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”
Sandra Oh makes a tissue joke
It’s not the most obvious way to introduce “This Is Us,” but (first ever Asian host) Oh killed it with a joke about tissues while introducing the attractive cast of the hit NBC drama.
When Twitter wanted Pierce Brosnan to play Colonel Sanders
In 2020, Pierce Brosnan showed up to the Golden Globes rocking a killer goatee. Viewers took to Twitter with some hilarious zings about Brosnan’s new look, saying he looked like the founder of KFC. “Hello, I’m Pierce Brosnan. When I’m craving delicious fried chicken, I head right to the source: Kentucky,” joked Richard Lawson, critic at Vanity Fair. One user said he was “styled as sexy Colonel Sanders.” “Pierce Brosnan proves that you either die James Bond or live long enough to look like a Bond villain,” said another. Brosnan never went on to play the Colonel, unfortunately. And while this was never even televised, it made for some first-class one-liners and spoke to the viral potential of award show viewership during the Twitter era.
Jack Nicholson accepts Best Actor on Valium
It can be stressful to be up for a major award like Best Actor in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes. So next time you find yourself in such a heated moment, do as Nicholson did in 2003: pop a Valium and hold on for the ride.
Gervais mocks Mel Gibson
Gibson has received his fair share of blowback from his infamous drunk driving arrest in 2006, but none more public than Gervais ribbing him during the 2011 Golden Globes. The show is known for celebrities drinking a little too much, and the four-time host has never been afraid to sip onstage. He made light of all of this, admitting, “I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is Mel Gibson."
Gervais takes on Scientology
In the same year as his devilish Gibson joke, Gervais also took on Hollywood’s famous Scientologists with a joke about the film “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Gervais describes the movie as, “Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay,” adding “so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.” But the real punchline may have been his admission right after, “My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke.”
Gervais goofs on Leonardo DiCaprio's dating habits
When he returned to host the Globes for the fifth time in 2020, Ricky Gervais did what he does best: make the room groan a little. One hilarious standout was when he poked fun at Leonardo DiCaprio’s habits of dating younger women. "Leo DiCaprio attended the premiere [of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”] and by the end, his date was too old for him," the host said before the camera turned to Leo laughing.
When Brad Pitt thanked an anti-diarrhea medicine
There's always a long list of thank yous for winners. At the 1996 event, where he nabbed a Globe for best supporting actor for his role in "12 Monkeys," Pitt thanked one unsung hero that helped make it all possible. “I’d like to thank...actually, the makers of Kaopectate,” said Pitt, adding, “They’ve done a great service for their fellow man.” He later explained that the medicine helped him deal with his nervous stomach.
Jonah Hill drops F-bombs as a bear
While presenting for Best Supporting Actress during the 2016 Golden Globes, Hill partnered with Channing Tatum on a bit pulling from that year’s hit film “The Revenant,” in which Leonardo DiCaprio is attacked by a CGI bear. Hill delivered a few jokes as the bear himself, but what got audience members, including a very displeased Jane Fonda, was the actor’s repeated vulgarity.