Ricky Gervais believes the success of his acidic Golden Globes monologues was down to the fact audiences are sick of "virtue signalling" from celebrities.
The comedian said the 2020 ceremony — his fifth and final hosting stint — was his favourite because people no longer sought to defend the celebs he skewered with his jokes.
He told The Sun that the backlash which greeted his first appearance as Globes host in 2010 was largely absent by 2020.
"With all of the austerity and people struggling, they think ‘why are these people lecturing me? They’re going to an awards ceremony in a limo and are telling me to recycle?'," said Gervais.
Watch: Ricky Gervais at the 2020 Golden Globes
He added: “People just got sick of it, just got sick of virtue signalling. And they were like a beacon to aim their wrath at.
“The people with nothing became tired of being lectured by people who had everything.”
Gervais acknowledged that it's now harder for him to "punch up" at famous faces given his own success, both as a stand-up comedian and as the creator of shows including The Office and Netflix hit After Life.
He said: "In comedy, traditionally, we are jesters. We have low status. So I’m down in the mud with the other peasants, having a go.
"I’ve got to be on their side. That’s why I go out there with a beer and look like a slob, because I’ve got to show people that I’m on their side.
"And that’s what is hard nowadays, to be a stand-up comedian and keep your lower status, because everyone knows how much you’ve earned."
The Golden Globes are set to take place this weekend in a stripped-down form, following controversy last year around the lack of diversity in the membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Broadcaster NBC refused to televise the ceremony until these issues were addressed, leaving the 2022 awards to take place without a television audience.
Watch: Golden Globes reveal 2022 nominations