Ricky Gervais regrets the joke he made about Tim Allen at the 2011 Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais regrets the joke he made about Tim Allen at the 2011 Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais' scathing stand-up typically takes no prisoners, but the comedian admits he feels guilty about one of his previous targets: Tim Allen.

During an interview with THR ahead of the Golden Globes on Sunday, the five-time host was asked whether he regrets "anything you've said about anyone."

"Yeah, Tim Allen. Because I think he took it wrong," Gervais said of a quip he made at the 2011 ceremony. "The joke was him and Tom Hanks. So I came out and said, 'Our next two presenters, the first has won five Oscars, combined box office of five billion dollars. And the other, Tim Allen.'"

He continued, "Right? 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."

Although Allen may have taken it personally, Gervais explained, "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."

If the "Last Man Standing" star was bothered by the joke, he's kept his feelings private — although he and Hanks did take a teasing swipe at Gervais after their joint Globes appearance: "We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian," Hanks said before Allen chimed in, "Neither of which he is now."

Gervais said he does not, however, second-guess the jabs he's taken at stars like Mel Gibson, Jennifer Lawrence and Ben Affleck. He pointed out that he's "all for forgiveness as well, so if someone gets drunk and says something awful, I can tease them, but I don't want them imprisoned. Bad behavior's not always a terrible, criminal, punishable offense."

Ultimately, Gervais said, he's not hosting the Golden Globes for the "200 privileged egos in the room"; he's there to entertain everyday people watching at home:

"It would be nauseating for me to come out and go, 'Hey, George, how you doing, thanks for letting me use your villa,'" he said. "'Hey, Brad, see you tonight, yeah?'"