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Ricky Gervais offers no apologies for Golden Globes jokes

By Alan Duke, CNN
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Gervais: I didn't do anything wrong
  • NEW:"No one has the right not to be offended," Gervais said.
  • "I don't care what people think of me," Gervais says
  • His humor confronts "the elephant in the room," he says
  • Comedy is medicine for humans facing adversity, he says

Watch "Piers Morgan Tonight" weeknights on CNN/US at 9 p.m. ET and on CNN International at 1200 GMT/1300 CET/2000 HKT.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- You will not hear Ricky Gervais apologize for any of his jokes at Sunday's Golden Globe show.

"I'm not sorry for anything I said, because I'm not going to apologize for being true to myself," Gervais said in an interview aired Thursday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

Gervais is not worried that his cutting humor before the star-studded crowd made anyone dislike him, because he was just doing his job.

"I don't care what people think of me," Gervais told Morgan. "I care if I've done a good job, and I care if I've told the truth."

Gervais' jokes targeted many of Hollywood's biggest stars and the group that hired him to host the awards show for a second year.

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"They hired me for a job and if they didn't want me, they shouldn't have hired me," Gervais said.

No one has the right not to be offended, he said.

"Just because you're offended, it doesn't mean you're in the right," Gervais said. "A lot of people are offended by mixed marriage. It doesn't mean they're right."

His job as comedian is to give people a release and to make them think, he said.

"Comedy is laughing in the face of adversity," he said. "We use comedy as a sword, a shield, as a medicine, as a getting to know you. It's fundamental. It's a fundamental we understand comedy and we have humor, because it's built on empathy, and that's what being human is."

The British comedian told Morgan he was just "confronting the elephant in the room" with one-liners about the bad movies and bad behavior of the actors sitting in front of him.

"Don't forget, I've got to be an outsider," he said. "I mustn't come out there as everyone's mate and schmooze. That's nauseating. I've got to come out there, and I've got to roast them."

The roasting of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which owns the show, brought laughs but raised eyebrows because of a lawsuit filed by its own former publicists days earlier accusing the small group of taking payola for nominations.

The HFPA's president issued a statement later distancing the group from the jokes.

"But he said to me beforehand he believes in freedom of speech," Gervais said. "Also, you know, all he said was, I think, if I remember, he said, 'Those attacks weren't necessarily the thoughts of' -- and they're not. All he said was, 'I didn't see the script,' which is fine, which is absolutely true."

Gervais made his freedom to say what he wished a condition of employment, he said.

"I wouldn't have it any other way, because if you start second-guessing and you're trying to find people that are like you, or change it to make certain people like you, you're finished," he said. "And you're finished as a comedian more than any other thing in the world."

He expected groans mixed with laughter from his star-studded audience, he said. "I get as big a kick out of it."

When introducing Robert Downey Jr., Gervais read a list of his less-than-successful movies.

"He has done all those films, but many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail," Gervais told the audience.

Downey quickly fired back.

"Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited, with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far," Downey said. "Wouldn't you?"

Gervais told Morgan that Downey was joking and not really bothered by the introduction.

"Why would he be? He's Robert Downey Jr. He's the coolest man in the world. Why would he care?"

If you thought his Golden Globe jokes were offense, you should avoid his stand-up act, Gervais said.

"There's nothing you shouldn't joke about," he said. "It depends what the joke is. Comedy comes from a good or a bad place, and I like to think that mine comes from a good place."

Morgan probed Gervais about his atheism, a subject he joked about at the end of the awards show.

He grew up "working-class kid" who went to church every Sunday, he said. While he's no longer a Christian, he said he lives "my life in a good way."

"I'm good to people because it's the way I want to be treated," Gervais said. "And I don't believe I'll be rewarded in heaven."

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