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Ricky Gervais Needed 15 Lawyers Before He Could Tell Dame Judi Dench Joke At Golden Globes

by : Lucy Connolly on : 10 May 2020 17:07

Cast your minds back, if you can, to January: a time when most of us were blissfully unaware of everything 2020 had yet to throw at us and when Ricky Gervais was still able to cause absolute chaos at awards ceremonies.

I know it seems like a lifetime ago and you can’t really believe that Gervais’s speech at the Golden Globes – in which he told the entirety of Hollywood exactly what he thought of them – took place a mere four months ago, but it did.

And it turns out that while we were all busy picking our jaws up off the floor at the comedian’s gall to throw the words ‘perverts’, ‘paedophiles’ and ‘fat p*ssy’ around with ease, big execs were far more concerned with another one of his jokes that night – the one about Dame Judi Dench.

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Ricky Gervais hosting Golden GlobesRicky Gervais hosting Golden GlobesNBC

If you remember, the joke in question began with the comedian taking aim at Cats, describing the film as ‘the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs’.

While many would agree with him, Dame Judi has remained adamant about her love for the role of Old Deuteronomy since the film’s release, which is where Gervais’ joke stemmed from.

He said at the time:

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Dame Judi Dench defended the film, saying it was the role she was born to play because she… I can’t do this next joke. Because she loves nothing better than plunking her ass down on the carpet, lifting her legs and licking her own *****.

For obvious reasons, the last word was bleeped out, although Gervais himself has since clarified what he said, stating: ‘The bleeped word was minge. She’s old school!’ Lovely.

It was this bleeped word which was a cause for concern among the 15 – 15! – lawyers he had to meet with before the 2020 awards show, with Gervais saying they took issue with the use of it.

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Speaking on Monday’s instalment of NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, Ricky Gervais told the host he would usually just show his speech to one lawyer but this year was different. ‘I don’t know if that was they’re getting more nervous about me or the times have changed,’ he explained.

The comedian continued:

So I do the monologue. It’s a tough crowd, 15 executives and some lawyers, right? But I do it and it’s fine.

You know, there was an ISIS joke… there was a thing about sweatshops… there was a joke about The Two Popes film being a paedophile movie… [but] the big discussion was the riff on the movie Cats.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lawyers asked Gervais to switch out the word ‘minge’, although the comedian tried to explain that it’s just a ‘cute’ British term. ‘It’s not a swear word,’ he told them.

They weren’t convinced though, with one of them looking it up and telling him it was a ‘vulgar term for vagina’. Gervais argued that ‘all slang is a vulgar term’, but the lawyers weren’t having it and suggested he use ‘vagina’ instead.

‘I’m not gonna say vagina,’ he apparently told them. ‘That’s worse! That’s so clinical about Dame Judi Dench.’ The lawyers agreed, but they continued to go around in circles until Gervais somehow persuaded them that ‘minge’ was the way to go.

judi denchjudi denchPA Images
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Gervais said his main aim was to make sure the word wasn’t bleeped out, ‘because it sort of ruins it’, although ultimately that’s exactly what happened.

Not to worry though, because the comedian was already prepared for this outcome and so made sure to point there in order to get his point across.

All’s well that ends well, hey?

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Celebrity, comedy, Film and TV, Golden Globes, Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais

Credits

Late Night With Seth Meyers/YouTube
  1. Late Night With Seth Meyers/YouTube

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