The Hollywood crowd has a great sense of humor about some things, but even those who delight in pushing the envelope have boundaries.
TheWrap, which covers Hollywood, quoted Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais saying that “‘The Martian’, was a lot funnier than ‘Pixels,’ but then again, so was ‘Schindler’s List.'” TheWrap reporter Jeff Sneider observed that “While everyone seemed to appreciate the shot at Adam Sandler [‘Pixels’ star], the ‘Schindler’s List’ punchline elicited some audible shock in the audience as well as TheWrap’s newsroom.”
Sneider continued, “Clearly, the Holocaust is no laughing matter, but apparently child molestation is. In talking about this year’s awards darling ‘Spotlight,’ a movie about priests sexually abusing children, Gervais scored with a joke about Roman Polanski calling it ‘the best date movie ever.'”
This was the joke: “The Catholic Church are [sic] furious about ‘Spotlight,’ as it exposes the fact that 5% of all their priests have repeatedly molested children and been allowed to continue to work without punishment. Roman Polanski called it the best date movie ever.”
Most reviewers dispute Sneider’s account. They call attention to the noticeable groans in the audience. Indeed, USA Today named the quip, “Winner of the Golden Groaner prize.” But even this is inadequate.
In fact, there was no groan after the (inaccurate) remark about priests: The audience groaned only when their hero, child-rapist Roman Polanski, was mentioned.
The groans and laughter at these events are an excellent window into the Hollywood mind, shallow though it is. Tinseltown has its hot buttons, not among them being cheap shots at priests.