In a monologue that would have made veteran comic Don Rickles's onstage insults appear like friendly pokes by comparison, Ricky Gervais opened Sunday night's Golden Globes presentations with remarks that left as many celebrities in his audience wincing as laughing. Unlike Rickles's targets, who often laughed at the insults he fired in their direction, some of Gervais's quarry were caught on camera looking stunned by his comedic volleys. "It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking -- or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast," Gervais quipped at one point. Moving on to The Tourist , the critically panned movie that tanked at the box office but which ended up being nominated for one of the best comedy movies of the year, Gervais remarked "I'd like to crush this ridiculous rumor that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so that the foreign press could hang out with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish. They also accepted bribes." But after Gervais introduced Robert Downey Jr. with references to his jail and rehab time, Downey retorted "Aside from the fact that it's been unusually mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good." And when Tom Hanks and Tim Allen appeared on stage to present an award, Hanks commented, "We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but kindly comedian." Allen then added "Neither of which he is now." Commented the Hollywood Reporter "Gervais's jokes were so incendiary that when he went missing during the second half of the show, the Twitterverse lit up with suggestions that he'd been fired backstage." When he returned, his jokes appeared less caustic, leading CNN's new host Piers Morgan, who is due to interview Gervais later this week, to remark that he intends to ask him "What the hell did they do to you backstage?"