And the dozens of A-list stars in the front rows and the 17 million Americans who tuned in certainly got it. For some, Gervais's lambasting of those present felt, as Robert Downey Jr said, mean-spirited with sinister undertones.
Most of the targets were obvious. Charlie Sheen likes a drink, check; octogenarian Hugh Hefner gets engaged to 24-year-old blonde, check; some famous scientologists might be gay, heard that; The Tourist is not a great movie, think we noticed that.
Indeed, the jokes that reportedly caused backstage scowls - even, according to some, strong language as Gervais stayed off camera for a still-mysterious hour or so - were jibes at the organisers, an exclusive cluster of largely greying male reporters known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
"You can roast any celebrity you like. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp can take it. And Ricky can be rude about creationists on his HBO [cable channel] specials, because only the coastal elites can afford to watch HBO anyway," says an NBC executive. "And it's pretty routine stuff for a New York or LA club. Lenny Bruce paved that way 40 years ago, although he suffered for it.
"But only a Brit would be naive enough . . . no, arrogant and stiff-necked enough, to flip off God in a family-oriented TV show that is going into the American heartland on the sabbath. We did not think we had to tell Ricky that."
What caused real grief at NBC, the network that broadcasts the Globes, and among those of the organisers who leaked that Gervais had "crossed a line" was the presenter's final quip as he exited.
"Thanks for everyone in the room for being good sports, to NBC and the Hollywood foreign press, thank you for watching at home," he said. "And thank you, God, for making me an atheist."
The US has 210 television market areas, or regions. By the Monday morning NBC bosses had had their ears bent by managers from dozens, ranging from the liberal Bangor, in Maine, to the deeply conservative Corpus Christi, in Texas. The problem was Gervais's final flourish, and they questioned why NBC had not "bleeped" it out as it would swearing. The truth was, NBC did not see it coming.
I guess political correctness is only applicable for the far right to charge against anything they don't care for.....