Ricky Gervais has said he regrets one of his acerbic jokes from his time as a Golden Globes host – one directed at Tim Allen.
The comedian, actor and writer, who is due to host the US awards ceremony on Sunday for his fifth and final time, said that he meant “no malice” by his quip.
Asked by The Hollywood Reporter if he regretted anything he has ever said about a celebrity on stage, Gervais said: “Yeah, Tim Allen. Because I think he took it wrong. The joke was him and Tom Hanks.”
At the 2011 event, he introduced Allen and his Toy Story co-star Hanks as presenters, telling the audience: “Our next two presenters, the first has won five Oscars, combined box office of five billion dollars. And the other, Tim Allen.”
Gervais said: “It’s a fine joke. I’m teasing Tim Allen.
“But anyone standing next to Tom Hanks, unless it’s Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford or Robert De Niro, that could be me.
“But it happened to be Tim Allen. And I have nothing against Tim Allen. He’s a good actor. He’s probably a nice bloke.
“So even though there’s no malice and I can justify it comedically and everyone laughed, I didn’t want Tim Allen to think, ‘Oh, that was written for me. Why me?’ Well, because you were standing next to Tom Hanks.”
Gervais first hosted the Golden Globes in 2010, returning in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
Over the years he has become known for his comedic take-downs of Hollywood stars while presenting the event, including barbs directed at the likes of Mel Gibson, Ben Affleck, Caitlyn Jenner and Jennifer Lawrence.
The 77th Golden Globe Awards is the first major event of the many across awards season.
Olivia Colman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Helena Bonham Carter are among the British nominees at the ceremony, which will take place on Sunday January 5 in Los Angeles.