Ricky Gervais says he negotiated with 15 lawyers and executives over how to refer to Judi Dench's genitals at the Golden Globes

Comedian made the off-colour quip after the veteran actor starred in 'Cats'

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 05 May 2020 12:47
Ricky Gervais negotiated what to call Judi Dench's privates at the Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais has described the intense legal negotiations he went through before hosting the 2020 Golden Globes ceremony, centring on the language he used to describe Dame Judi Dench’s genitals.

During the ceremony, Gervais joked that Dench “said [her part in the musical Cats] was the role she was born to play – because she loves nothing better than getting down on the carpet, lifting up her leg and licking her own minge”.

Speaking on Late Night With Seth Meyers, the comedian reflected on the quip: “I turn up [to the Globes] the day before, with a piece of paper with about 20 jokes. 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.”

“And I never have,” he continued. “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...”

Despite jokes covering hot-button topics such as Isis, papal paedophilia and sweatshops, Gervais said it was his off-colour joke about the 85-year-old actor that had the lawyers worried.

“I do the monologue – it’s a tough crowd, 15 executives and some lawyers – but I do it, and it’s fine.”

“The big discussion was the riff on the movie Cats,“ Gervais said. “They were worried about minge. One of them looked it up, and said it was a ‘vulgar term for vagina’. I said, ‘All slang is a vulgar term.’”

“The lawyer went, ‘You can say vagina’. I’m not gonna say vagina! That’s so much worse! That’s so clinical. So I persuaded them that ‘minge’ was fine.”

It was Gervais’s fifth time hosting the event and several of his jokes drew criticism from viewers and members of the media. The Independent‘s Jo Murch wrote: “Gervais’ tirade of nasty and smutty jokes proved that tabloid culture has leaked its way into even the highest tier of entertainment. Call me a prude but a joke about Judi Dench 'licking her ass' hardly screams high society.”

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