The 54-year-old Brit ripped into the controversial Australian actor-director, who was on hand to present a clip from Mad Max: Fury Road.
“A few years ago on this show, I made a joke about Mel Gibson getting a bit drunk and saying a few unsavory things,” Gervais said, reminding the audience of his 2010 crack about Gibson’s alcoholism (quipped Gervais, “I like a drink as much as the next man … unless the next man is Mel Gibson” — an intro Gibson was apparently ready for at the time). “We have all done it. I wasn’t judging him. But now I find myself in the awkward position of having to introduce him again.”
Gervais then made it even more awkward. First, he made a joke about Gibson’s penchant for anti-Semitic remarks, noting that while it would make sense to blame NBC for the situation they found themselves in, “we know who Mel blames.” Then, in trying to say something “nice” about the actor, Gervais dished out the most backhanded compliment of all time: “I’d rather have a drink with him in his hotel room tonight than with Bill Cosby. Please welcome Mel Gibson!”
Gibson embraced Gervais and then delivered a jab of his own: “I love seeing Ricky every three years, because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy.”
Gervais then emerged from backstage, clutching his glass of beer, another nod to Gibson’s alcoholism.
In a moment that, like many others, was bleeped for the TV audience, Gervais ambled up to the microphone and asked, “What the f*** does sugar t**s mean?” a reference to Gibson’s drunken tirade against a female L.A. sheriff’s sergeant who arrested him for DUI in 2006. (“What do you think you’re looking at, sugar t**s?” he said, according to the incident report.)
The remark caused a few jaws to drop (we’re looking at you, Alan Cumming).
And Gervais got the last word in too, by closing the show with one more dig: “From myself and Mel Gibson, shalom.”