Ricky Gervais, the king of cringe comedy

Not all of Gervais' transitions to American popular culture have been as smooth as "The Office."

His Hollywood bad-boy act hosting the Golden Globe Awards offended stars more used to flattery.

"It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast."

"On a serious note, just looking at all the faces reminds me of all the great work that's been done this year . . . by cosmetic surgeons."

His act was deemed so offensive, he was asked to come back and do it two more times.

"It was mild ribbing of some of the most famous, loved people in the world. It wasn't a room full of wounded soldiers, you know? I made some jokes."

"If anybody can take it, they should?" asked Phillips.

"Well, and I think they did. I don't think those people went home crying about some little, you know, upstart Brit making fun of their film. Really?

"And the other thing is, even if they did, you know, you make a decision: 'Do I pander to the 200 egos in the room, or the 200 million people watching at home?' "

Ricky Gervais doesn't do pandering.

He says his stubbornness comes from being a late bloomer. Success didn't come until his late 30s, by which time he and his long-time partner, the author Jane Fallon, decided not to have children because, he says, he was afraid they would turn out like him.

Even his musical tribute to the unloved English town of Slough, where "The Office" is set (the British equivalent of the U.S. "Office" 's Scranton, Pa., is barbed . . . and has become a YouTube hit.

The station's just got a new floor,
And the motorway runs by your door.
And you know just where you're heading.
It's equidistant 'tween London and Reading.
Oh, Slough,
My kind of town.
I don't know how
Anyone could put you down.

"Why should you be prouder of being born in London or New York or Paris than you are of Slough or Scranton? There's no reason," Gervais said. "There's no reason to be proud of anywhere you were born. You had no choice!

"So, if he finds love in a place, then so be it, you know?"