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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with BeBe Winans; Interview with Mary Bono Mack; Interview with Jeremy Lin's Agent; Interview with Ricky Gervais
Aired February 17, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, on the eve of the final farewell to Whitney Houston, gospel superstar BeBe Winans. His thoughts on the passing of the woman he called his sister.
(BEGIN VIDOE CLIP)
BEBE WINANS, GOSPEL SINGER: It caught us off-guard, Piers. But it didn't catch God off-guard. No one is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, the would-be suicide bomber who targeted the Capitol. Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack on the FBI sting that caught him.
And Linsanity goes worldwide. Let's talk to the one man who's even happier about Jeremy Lin's career than he is, that's his agent.
And more of my exclusive interview with the one and only Ricky Gervais on his edgy comedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN: There's always going to be someone that's offended by what you say. Many people are offended because you exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, an only in America, exclusive tribute to Whitney Houston.
MORGAN: YouTube made them stars. Now, the students of PS 22 Chorus sing "The Greatest Love of All."
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
Our big story tonight, saying goodbye to Whitney Houston, as the private family only viewing of the superstar's body today, Whitney's close friend, singer Ray J, released a statement, saying, quote, "What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend."
Flags in New Jersey are flying at half staff today to honor Whitney. The tribute has caused some controversy. I'll talk to Governor Chris Christie about that in a moment.
And later, more from my primetime exclusive with Ricky Gervais.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: Yes, yes, (INAUDIBLE) but I don't know. At least he can still, you know, use expressions. Most of them are too Botoxed out, you can't tell if they're smiling or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now on the latest of the preparations for the funeral of Whitney Houston is CNN's Jason Carroll.
Jason, you're outside the church there in New Jersey, tell me about what you can expect tomorrow.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, let's set the stage in terms of what's happening out here in New Jersey. I can tell you that just about ten minutes away from here, Piers, at the funeral home, a private viewing is taking place this evening. We know that members of the Houston family have already shown up. Also we're told, Clive Davis has shown up.
This is a private viewing, just for family and very close friends. When I was at the funeral home a little bit earlier, I could see that the street had been blocked off. And on the side of the funeral home, a white tent has been set up here, so that way family and friends can have the privacy that they need at this very sensitive time.
Back here at the New Hope Baptist Church, preparations are already underway for tomorrow's funeral. And as we've been standing out here, Piers, we've seen a number of people coming and going. Members of the public are still dropping off flowers and balloons. They know these are the final hours before the funeral where they can pay their respect.
The funeral, of course, here tomorrow at noon will be private, for some 1,500 guests that have been invited, the who's who of who will be performing tomorrow is already starting to develop. We know that Aretha Franklin will be performing. In addition to that, Stevie Wonder also on the list. Alicia Keys will be lending her voice as well. Kevin Costner, of course, co-star of "The Bodyguard," he will be on hand to deliver a speech.
Bobby Brown, and as you know, there's been so much speculation in terms of whether or not he would attend because of a tumultuous relationship he had with Whitney Houston. He will be here tomorrow as well.
Other notable, Chaka Kahn, Jesse Jackson. So, a number of people will be coming out here tomorrow to pay their respects, Piers.
But once again, this will be a private ceremony by invite-only. Police are asking those who are going to be out here to stay away. The closest the public will be able to get here will be at least two blocks away. Police are recommending for the public if they want to pay their respects, they say they should do it by watching at home -- Piers.
MORGAN: I can imagine that despite that, there will be pretty big crowds there tomorrow. It's going to be quite an occasion. Jason, thank you very much.
One of the guests of Whitney's funeral will be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. I spoke to him about Whitney and about the controversy of his tribute to one of New Jersey's favorite daughters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This was a Jersey girl, Piers, she wore on her sleeve. She was born here. She came back and lived here after she was a great star. She came back and supported schools here. She cared about where she came from and now she's being laid to rest where she came from.
And she made great contributions to this state, to its culture. And I don't believe that succumbing to an addiction and a disease should diminish that in people's eyes. And I understand people can have a difference on this.
But I'm the governor. I got to make these decisions and I don't for a second doubt the decision I made to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You can see the rest of my exclusive interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday night. And it gets pretty feisty, I can tell you.
And I want to bring in BeBe Winans, one of the first family of the gospel, will be in Whitney's funeral tomorrow. And his sister CeCe will sing a song that he wrote, "Don't Cry for Me." Whitney Houston herself sang it at a benefit concert in 1994.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: Joining me now is BeBe Winans.
BeBe, I have lots of people that knew Whitney Houston. But nobody knew her better than you did or your family. And even looking at the pictures of Whitney, you found this already very hard to come here and talk about this. Hearing Whitney sing a song say "Don't Cry for Me," what goes through your mind when you hear that? WINANS: Well, it causes, it triggers memories for me, pleasant memories. The lyrics for that song, that verse before she sings, of course, is: no one is to blame, my death is meant to be. Don't carry guilt nor shame. The reason why I came. Soon you'll see. Don't cry for me.
MORGAN: And you wrote this song?
WINANS: I wrote this song and CeCe singing it. I actually wrote it and I was going to sing it myself, and CeCe said, no, that's my song.
MORGAN: She will be singing it tomorrow.
WINANS: She will be singing it tomorrow. She's going to try to sing it tomorrow. We're going to try to sing these songs, and give Whitney a wonderful sendoff.
But it's so difficult, Piers, because she was more than just a voice to us. She was a sister. She became a sister.
And, you know, being -- the shock is wearing off and now it's the reality that we have to face on tomorrow. But, you know, our faith and our family and friends, we're going to pull each other through.
MORGAN: Cissy, Whitney's mother, asked your brother Marvin to officiate tomorrow as the pastor. So, it's an incredible family affair for the Winans. You were really close to Whitney. You've obviously been following, I guess, all the coverage, the speculation and everything else.
What do you make of it all? As somebody who knew her really well, what is the truth about Whitney in the last 10 years, do you think?
WINANS: Well, the truth about Whitney, let's go back with me and family, the last 26 years of her life. And, you know, you have the client and the therapist's respectful privileges, you know?
But I'll say this, and that is the reality of friendship, true friendship, is safety. And so we have been able to talk about everything, the ups and the good, the bad and the ugly. And one of the reasons I think we became so close is that she felt safety, she felt like what I say to you is going to stay here.
But now in that, Piers, there's truth. There's we got to face this. We've got to talk about this. We've got to walk through this storm.
And Cissy, and Whitney's relationship is even different from mine and Whitney's, because women talk about different other things that men don't talk about. But, you know, we walked through.
What we're concerned more than anything now is that we mourn. Other things, we'll find out. Other things, we don't even need to know.
WINANS: But we're mourning right now, and then we'll deal with the others a little later.
MORGAN: My only observation about what was going on in Whitney's life is that she seems to have had so many people that loved and cared for her. And yet her life, from what we're reading and hearing about the last week in particular came to be slightly out of control.
The argument goes that she was very strong willed and it was the life she wanted to lead. Was that your sense about Whitney? That whether you wanted to change her or not.
WINANS: No, the thing is, was she strong willed? I mean, she knew who she was and she was grown, you know? But we -- our relationship -- I could tell, Whitney used to always say to me, you think you're my father. And I would answer, I am, you know?
I'm older than Whitney. Whitney is a year younger to me. And CeCe is a year younger than Whitney. And we used to tell each other what to do. And she would listen.
If Whitney trusted you, she would listen to everything you had to say. And I think that's with everyone.
MORGAN: Were you as shocked as other people about what happened to her, in the sense of -- was there a sense of inevitability that Whitney wouldn't lead a long life given the lifestyle that she had chosen for herself?
WINANS: I think the shock is great because we walked through, I think a darker valley five, 10 years ago. And so, at this point in time, you know, it was, oh, we're making it through the storm, you know? But I think more that than -- I lost my brother at the age of 48, which Whitney was there at the funeral and everything else.
And one of the therapists told me, she said, it's just hard for us to wrap our minds and accept lower numbers. We can accept when loved ones die at 75 and 80. But when it's 48, when it's 13, it's just hard to wrap our minds around it because we believe that we're going to grow old together, and we believe with this beautiful lady that we would grow old together.
And the reality is now, I have to let go, you know? That reality, she'll live in our hearts, you know, and the fond memories get us through this difficult time. But I have to let go of what we thought we would do.
MORGAN: Did she find superstardom very hard to deal with?
WINANS: She tried to run away from it. It's wild to one day wake up and the whole world is chasing you. And one of the things she realized, I'll say this, she had just played me, "I Will Always Love You" in the hotel room. And I said, ah, Whitney, that's going to be incredible, it's going to be huge.
She looked at me and said, oh, I knew it. I said, why are you sighing? Why are you acting like that? She said, BeBe, because the same people who are applauding me with this, are going to be the same people who are going to throw darts at me.
And when you understand that reality, you don't want that, you know?
MORGAN: Aretha Franklin repeated a few people, Baby Face came in here earlier this week and told me this too, one of the big blows to Whitney was when she went to the Soul Train Awards in the early '90s and she was booed for the first time by an audience because they had had enough of Whitney.
Do you remember that time?
WINANS: Yes, I remember that time. And that makes me laugh.
I thank you for the laugh because it was difficult. Like I was saying, it was difficult for me to be said that she wasn't black enough. And we would talk about this, and we would laugh -- me and CeCe would laugh at her and she was almost sometimes in tears, why are you laughing? I said, girl, please, let's just cry all the way to the bank is what I would say.
WINANS: You know? But -- it hurt. It really did hurt. So when we sing together at the Image Awards, we did "Hold Up the Light" together. It was really her chance to prove I'm black enough.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break, BeBe. Let's come back and talk more of Whitney, and also about her daughter, because your sister is her godmother.
WINANS: Yes. Yes.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That's BeBe Winan and his sister CeCe, performing the song, "Hold Up the Light" with Whitney Houston at Soul Train awards in 1989.
And BeBe Winans is back with me now.
It must bring back so many memories, even seeing a small clip by that of you, your sister and Whitney happy together, singing -- doing what you love best.
WINANS: It is, it's enjoyable to see that because we have something that we can go back to and relive. She gave us plenty of memories, plenty of memories, some were on camera, some we have in photos. But in my heart and in my mind, I have so many great, great moments.
MORGAN: CeCe, your sister, is godmother to Bobbi Kristina, Whitney's daughter.
MORGAN: There's been a lot of concern about Bobbi, because it was been going on, rushed to the hospital of times. And so, how is she? Is she OK?
WINANS: She's good. She's good. And she's going to be -- she's going to make it through, all of us can understand. I love my mom and I lost my father two years ago, very difficult. The world shifts when you lose someone, when you lose a parent. At this time, even at my age, if I lose my mother, I'm going to fall apart, I'm going to fall apart.
So, for Bobbi Kristina to lose someone that she absolutely adored, it's difficult, it's difficult. She has her grandmother and she has CeCe who loves her like a mother, you know? And various family members who will surround her.
You know, it's going to take some time. Yes, it's going to take sometime. But she will be fine. And most importantly, she has her faith.
MORGAN: There's been lots of conjecture about Bobby Brown, her father, whether he would or wouldn't be invited. Suggestions a lot of the family felt strongly he shouldn't be at the funeral. It looks now he is now going to be there.
How do you feel about it?
WINANS: I think it's important. We -- one of the things that they said they were going to do, they being the family, was to give my sister a home going that she would want. And knowing her, she would Bobby there.
So, it was never, you know, people get things first, but they get it incorrect. You know, he was always invited. And I'm glad he'll be there because he should be there.
MORGAN: People rush to blame Bobby Brown for the path that Whitney took in terms of the drugs or whatever. Others have come here this week and said to me, well, that's not strictly right, because she was -- you know, up to certain things before she met Bobby Brown and so on.
You obviously know the reality of this. How much blame is it fair to (INAUDIBLE)?
WINANS: I think I could go right back to that lyric in "Don't Cry for Me" where she sings, no one is to blame, my death was meant to be.
This didn't catch, it caught us off guard, Piers, it didn't catch God off-guard and that's who we both believe in. So, when it comes to who -- you know, I can't put the blame on him, I can't put the blame on her.
I can't -- you know, there's enough blame truly to go around, but at the same time, no one is to blame.
MORGAN: Did you ever doubt that she loved Bobby Brown?
WINANS: You know, you're funny. You're good. I remember the first interview you did with my friend Oprah, she said you were good.
But she did. And the reason why I laugh, I chuckle, is because we had a pact -- Whitney made a pact. Let's just say this. And she told me and CeCe that I'm not going to do anything unless you're there, get married, or whatever -- important steps.
And so they tried to get me to come to Las Vegas one time and I said no, I can't.
And then the phone rang and it was Whitney, and she said, you messed things up. I said, what do you mean I messed things up? I was getting married in Las Vegas but you wouldn't come. I said, well you should have told me instead of trying to trick to come. And I didn't go.
She fell in love. But we talked about it. She knew we had to talk. You know, we were going to talk about any and everything about the situation, and we did. And when she made up her mind, we said, hey, we're there. You know?
She said, you're going to write a song, you go and sing, Marvin I going to marry me, CeCe is going to be my maid of honor and we were right there, you know? But does she love him? She did.
MORGAN: The song that we played in with, the second part there, "Hold Up the Light" -- one of the lyrics says, "Boys and girls can't you see, the kind of friend that crack can be." Again, a very pressing line, really. You know, Whitney always said publicly that she never got into crack. She did a lot of drugs and stuff.
Did you ever try to save her, perhaps on herself, when it came to the drugs?
WINANS: Well, I'll be very honest,. I have to be honest. Whitney never did drugs in front of me.
WINANS: So I can't say that she did drugs. I really can't.
MORGAN: Tomorrow's going to be an extraordinary affair, I'm co- anchoring the funeral for CNN with two of my colleagues, Soledad O'Brien and Don Lemon. You know, we're feeling emotional about it and we didn't even know Whitney. Certainly, I didn't.
And for you, you're going to be singing in front of hundreds of people in the world, watching the live stream, the live television feed. Every network is going to be covering this. You're singing with a cast including Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin -- by a horrible default, the biggest singing experience you're ever going to have in your life.
You must be nervous? How are you feeling about this?
WINANS: Not nervous at all, because when you talk about Stevie, you talk about someone that used to live around the corner from me in Detroit, Michigan, when you talk about Aretha, you're talking about Auntie Rere (ph), when you talk about these people, these are people that we were blessed to meet early on and we became family. That's not the nervous part for me.
I want to do my best. The only thing I'm scared of is if I start crying. If start crying, it's not -- I won't get through it. But the people there, they are family. So we will have a good time even through the tears, but I'm not nervous at all.
MORGAN: When you get up to sing, what will you be thinking about when it comes to Whitney?
WINANS: I'll -- honestly I'll be thinking and this is -- this is full circle for me because the first day we met, she was opening for Jeffrey Osborne. And when she came out from the back, I told her this, I said I don't want to know your full name. I just want to know what church you come from because singing the way you sing, you come from somebody's church. And she looked up to me and said, New Hope Baptist.
And so, tomorrow, I'll be at New Hope Baptist, singing for her, sending her away. That's what -- where my mind will be.
MORGAN: Well, I'll be outside, BeBe, wishing you all the best of luck in the world to give her the sendoff that you would like to give to your sister, as you put it.
WINANS: Thank you.
MORGAN: Good luck with it.
WINANS: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: BeBe Winans, it's going to be quite a day tomorrow.
Coming up later, an only in America tribute to Whitney Houston from some of her youngest fans.
And next, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack on the FBI sting that foiled a plot against a Congress and her quite strong views about prescription drugs in the light of what happened to Whitney Houston.
MORGAN: There's no official word on what Whitney Houston's caused of death. There's also no question that she had a struggle with addiction, and her struggle of her prescription drug abuse in the spotlight.
The spotlight has now reached to Washington.
Joining me now Representative Mary Bono Mack, co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.
Mary, thanks for joining me.
I know you've been campaigning about this for quite some time. But before we get to Whitney Houston, her death and to the possible involvement of prescription drugs, I just want to ask you about this extraordinary story of the FBI arresting a man reportedly planning a suicide attack near Capitol Hill. What can you tell me about this?
REP. MARY BONO MACK (R), CALIFORNIA: We need to remain vigilant, always. I think also, we need to congratulate and appreciate our law enforcement, our intelligence agencies. And I think, thirdly, you know, we have to recognize that it is -- there are dangerous times right now around the world. And it's still not a safe place to be.
So, we'll watch these details as they don't to unfold, but it's certainly is very troubling.
MORGAN: There seems to be an extraordinary sting operation where the man concerned believed that he was wired up as a suicide bomber and was planning today to blow himself up somewhere near the Capitol. Now, the FBI clearly got on to this and he was actually packed with dummy explosives. I mean, a lucky escape by the sound of it.
BONO MACK: Well, there's no doubt. But, again, it really shows that there's a lot of work in our intelligence efforts, they have to sometimes set these things for months on end. I think clearly we are extremely lucky that they got this guy.
BONO MACK: Scary stuff, but also we need to congratulate them for a job well done in this instance.
MORGAN: It's a great victory for the FBI today. And long may they continue to do their great work.
Let's turn to Whitney Houston, because you have campaigned about this issue of prescription drugs for quite some time. There clearly is going to be some link between Whitney's death and prescription drugs. We know that Xanax was found in her hotel room, one of the drugs that you're concerned about.
Tell me about this, Mary, about what you've been doing and why drugs like Xanax are so contentious.
MACK: Well, thank you, Piers. First and foremost, any time you want to talk about prevention and treatment of any sort of drug or alcohol issue, you have to start by admitting that there's a problem. And it's time in America that we admit that there's a problem. Just because drugs come in a nice, brown little bottle does not mean that they're safe. And since I have spoken publicly about this issue, I received so many calls from mothers and fathers who have lost their children because of an accidental drug overdoses to prescription drugs.
And it's time for this country to wake up and recognize that there is definitely an epidemic.
MORGAN: Apparently 20,000 people a year in America die from drug prescription drug related deaths.
MACK: That's right. More now die from drug overdoses than in car accidents. They have now switched positions. And you know, I think that we can really focus on this. It's not going to take a lot of government money or government programs. It's a matter of reassessing and making our programs be more efficient.
And I think if we attack this problem, we can change those numbers and we can really save American lives very easily, if, first and foremost, we admit there's a problem.
MORGAN: It certainly seems to be a particular issue in places like Los Angeles, where there are many celebrities there who go doc shopping, you know, who have quite a few doctors on the go, and can get prescriptions from any number of them. And nobody really have a handle on how many they have in totality.
MACK: Well, doctor shopping is not unique to Los Angeles or to celebrities. Unfortunately, it's very prevalent in American society. I would even suggest that no American family is immune to this disease, this prescription drug epidemic and this disease.
It's throughout America. You know, my problem is this, we have a DEA, we have an FDA, we have a whole supply chain that is supposed to restrict these very powerful narcotics. Yet they're still ending up in the hands of our children. Something is wrong and we need to examine exactly what is wrong that is causing our children to become addicted to these very, very powerful, powerful drugs.
MORGAN: Congresswoman, thank you very much. In fact, CNN are running a whole week of investigative stuff about addiction next week. So it's going to be a fascinating insight into what is a pretty hot topic right now.
MACK: I thank you for doing that. And thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming up, the second happiest man in world sports. That's Jeremy Lin's agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY LIN, NEW YORK KNICKS: Today I'll be teaching you how to get into Harvard. Oh, shoot, I forgot my books.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine times eight?
LIN: Seventy two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So 211 times 98.
LIN: If you already have glasses, get bigger glasses.
Even when I got rejected from Stanford, I was pretty disappointed and crushed because that was my dream school. But looking back, I realized God had a perfect plan for me. And everything worked out the way it was supposed to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's a young Jeremy Lin, the international sensation currently storming the world of sports for his moves on the basketball court. Even back then, he knew he was destined for greatness, albeit with big glasses.
Joining me now is the second happiest man in America, Jeremy Lin's agent, Roger Montgomery of Montgomery Sports Group. Roger, how are you?
ROGER MONTGOMERY, MONTGOMERY SPORTS GROUP: I'm doing great.
MORGAN: I bet you are. You must be the most jubilant man on God's Earth right now.
MONTGOMERY: I'm very excited, very excited.
MORGAN: What a story.
MONTGOMERY: It's a great story, and it's still going.
MORGAN: What I love is you used to play basketball.
MORGAN: You never played in NBC, but you played in Europe as a pro basketball player. So you had that dream, too?
MORGAN: So you've lived Jeremy's peaks and troughs here. And he's had an extraordinary few months, where he's dumped by the Warriors and the Rockets. He must be thinking, this isn't going to work for me.
MONTGOMERY: Yes, there was a time where we felt like, you know, what was going to happen. When he got here, we were very excited because we felt like this was a good system for him. But obviously he wasn't getting a chance to get on the floor. So when he got a chance to get on the floor, finally in that New Jersey game, he showed what he could do. And we're all excited about it.
MORGAN: Be honest -- and you've got to be absolutely honest with me -- did you know how good he really was?
MONTGOMERY: I did. I did. I really did.
MORGAN: Because you played yourself?
MONTGOMERY: I would like to say because I played myself and because I have a pretty good eye for talent. And I look at the small things. It's not just the big things. You look at the small things as well. I was able to see some intangible things that people sometimes overlook.
And one of the things that struck me about Jeremy was I could see that he had a lot of heart. And that's something that sometimes you can't measure, but you have to have a feel for that. It's instinctive.
MORGAN: He has incredible talent. He has a big heart. You can see that, a real determination. He also has the power of faith. You know, he's the Tebow of basketball. And his faith's very, very important to him.
Tell me about that and the influence that has on his life.
MONTGOMERY: Well, it's part of the reason why we're connected, because we believe the same thing. We do believe that God has put us both here for this particular time, for this opportunity. And he's taken full advantage of it.
I don't think that he would have been able to get through the trials that he's had if it had not been for the faith that he's had in God.
MORGAN: What kind of guy is he? Looking at the video he made there at Harvard, he's got a sense of humor. He's clearly very smart. He was at Harvard, so he's a smart guy. He's funny. He's self aware. And he's got an amazing talent.
There must be some flaws. What does he do? Does he pick his nose or what happens?
MONTGOMERY: He's very outgoing. I mean, he's conservative when he's around people that he really doesn't know. But once you get a chance to know him and you're in his circle, he's very engaging, likes to have fun. He's a jokester. I mean, I think one of his teammates from Golden State, David Lee, called him the smartest dummy in the world.
He likes to have a good time. Jeremy is a good guy.
MORGAN: I loved the -- there's a clip on Youtube of Kobe Bryant being told about Jeremy after the first two or three games he played, where he took off. And looking like, who is this guy? I don't know, who is this? Who are you telling me about? And then, of course, he played against the Lakers and absolutely played Kobe off the pitch. So I mean, he is the genuine deal, isn't he?
MONTGOMERY: He is, I mean, he's legitimate. And people are trying to -- or were trying to speculate as to whether or not he would be able to keep it up. You don't do what he's been able to do and not be a legitimate player. I mean, it was just opportunity. And I think after that, you probably read somewhere where Kobe said, you know, this is not just something that happens overnight. Those skills have always been there. They've just been overlooked. And that's the truth.
MORGAN: What is the single biggest offer you have so far had for Jeremy Lin?
MONTGOMERY: Well, I have had too many really to --.
MORGAN: What is the highest? Just hard ready?
MONTGOMERY: We haven't -- I'm not being vague, because what we haven't done is we really haven't vetted an offer that we have been really, really serious about to this point.
MORGAN: People must be chucking everything at you, right.
MONTGOMERY: Yes, they are.
MORGAN: Give me a taste of this. If this ever happened to me, what could I expect? What would happen, people running up and saying, I'll give you a million? Two million?
MONTGOMERY: That's very possible.
MONTGOMERY: Very possible.
MORGAN: You have had higher offers?
MONTGOMERY: I have had offers in that range.
MORGAN: Just for like commercials or whatever.
MONTGOMERY: Just to sell products, goods and services, you know. All kind of categories.
MORGAN: Right. So you're getting inundated. He's playing better and better.
MORGAN: How do you strategically manage this now? Because you've got the hottest prodigy arguably in world sports. How do you keep both of your feet on the ground? And also how do you properly manage him going forward. MONTGOMERY: In order to keep that balance, we have to really communicate. That's the first thing. This is unprecedented. So obviously there's real -- there's no real precedence for what -- what we're experiencing right now.
The reality of the situation is that we're not going to jump out the gate and try to conquer the world and try to do everything. And to a man, the team is really focusing on the engine. We like to say that. The engine is the New York Knicks.
The biggest endorsement that he has to date is being the starting point guard for the New York Knicks. If he does well there, everything else will fall into place.
MORGAN: You must be enjoying this, aren't you?
MONTGOMERY: I am. I am.
MORGAN: Is this the greatest moment of your career?
MONTGOMERY: It is. It is. From the standpoint that I'm getting a chance to see a player that I represent really, really maximize his potential and his talent. I've had other players in the past that I was very excited about as well, who are great players as well in their right. But this is a unique situation.
And I'm excited about this on a different level because, again, rarely do you get a chance to see your player absolutely get to 100 percent, you know, play his role, play his game, and be champion the way that he's being champion.
MORGAN: Roger Montgomery, thank you so much for coming in. You know, congratulations. You've obviously backed a winner. He seems a great guy. I love everything I hear about him. And as a Knicks fan, great news.
MONTGOMERY: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thanks Roger.
MORGAN: Coming up, more from my interview with the man who's got Hollywood quaking in its very boots, Ricky Gervais.
MORGAN: Now more from my interview with the man all Hollywood trembles at, Ricky Gervais. He's turned award shows into something like torture for thin skinned celebrities, but great amusement for the rest of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Welcome back, Ricky, and congratulations on behalf of everybody in Britain.
RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN: They took it better this time, though. MORGAN: They did take it better.
GERVAIS: Well, I think they've had a year to get used to it. The first time they went, why is he saying all of these awful things? Then the second time went, oh, we get it, they're jokes.
MORGAN: But is that disappointing? Do you want them to take it better?
GERVAIS: No, I didn't want them to take it badly in the first place. Also I don't think I said anything that bad the first time. And, you know, they are jokes. I'd rather entertain then people gasp. I cherish the gasps, they're just as good.
MORGAN: Not everybody seemed to enjoy your jokes as much as others. I mean, Sir Elton didn't seem massively enthusiastic.
GERVAIS: Yes, he had a grumpy look on his face. But I don't know, at least he can still, you know, use expressions. Most of them are too Botox'd up. They can't -- you don't know if they're smiling or not.
So, but, yes -- no, I made a decision both years, you know, to -- you don't pander to the people in the room. There is 200 million people watching at home. So, you know, you want everyone to enjoy it. But, you know, it's not a spectator sport, an awards show. And I try to make it one.
But, yes, it was my favorite one. It was my favorite one. I really, really enjoyed it. I thought they were a lot lighter and cooler about the whole process.
MORGAN: I Tweeted on the night, I was trying to picture how joyous you would have felt the moment you first heard that Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson were making a movie called "The Beaver."
GERVAIS: Too easy, isn't it?
MORGAN: I mean --
GERVAIS: That's the comedy gods.
MORGAN: That's what they call a home run, you know?
GERVAIS: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: Knocking it out of the park.
GERVAIS: Too easy. Yes, but, I mean, something always happens. You know, last year there was Mel Gibson. Every year Mel Gibson, I can -- you can keep going.
MORGAN: Do you know if he finds it funny?
GERVAIS: Well, again, I don't -- I don't go for people -- things about people they can't help. You know, if you pop your head up and you do something publicly, or you have an opinion, or whatever, I think that's fair game.
But, you know, I wouldn't go, you know, for people -- for things they couldn't help, you know, personal tragedy. You know, so I think it was all fair game. I think I can justify -- not that I have to, but --
MORGAN: See, I think you are single handedly changing the way all Americans feel about awards ceremonies. When I first used to come out here, they were the most sickening back-slapping events imaginable. Four, five hours of people telling each other how wonderful they are.
You have pricked that balloon so spectacularly, I don't think any of them can go back to that anymore. And that's why you're this national treasure.
GERVAIS: Well, I think that it's fine if they want a mutual back-slapping session, but don't televise it, because there's nothing in it for people at home. You know, I've got nothing against those people. I work with a lot of them. I admire a lot of them.
And also it was gentle ribbing, this wasn't me going out there trying to undermine the moral fabric of America. They were gags. And also, it shows how badly the so-called offended stars took it. Johnny Depp is in a new, you know, series.
MORGAN: Yes, yes.
GERVAIS: They were cool about it. I think the same with everything, OK? It's always people offended on someone else's behalf. You talk to the person, they go, I was fine about it. You know? I just think --
MORGAN: Do you have a moral code yourself?
GERVAIS: Of course I do. Of course I do.
MORGAN: How would you define it?
GERVAIS: Well, you can't. I have to sleep at night. That's the only way I can do it. And this is the thing about offense, OK? It's not right or wrong. It's about feelings. And feelings are personal.
So I'll give you an example. I did a stand-up tour here, and I make jokes, ironically, I might say, I often play a character -- I come down on the wrong side about Third World famine, cancer, the Holocaust, AIDS, these subjects.
And this is the problem with dealings taboo, some people, when they hear any taboo subject, they mistake the target of a joke with the subjects of a joke. And they don't have to be the same.
You can make a joke about race without being racist. And the reason I don't like actual racist jokes is not because they're offensive, it's because they're not funny because they're based on a falsehood. OK? So there has to be truth and honesty in comedy. And people think, oh, he's talking about a subject, it's terrible. And I did this gig with all of those subjects and I got a letter from someone saying, I enjoyed the gig, I enjoyed it -- we were laughing all the way through, except we didn't appreciate the jokes about the Holocaust.
So they knew the jokes about famine were a joke. They knew jokes about cancer -- so that ism was too much to them. And that's the problem with personal feelings. You can't --
MORGAN: But are there some things which...
GERVAIS: --be objective.
MORGAN: Yes, but do you -- I mean, some people would say that things like the Holocaust should never be a subject for any type of humor...
MORGAN: -- they should be off-limits.
GERVAIS: It depends what the joke is, you know? There's nothing you shouldn't joke about, but it depends what the joke is. It's as simple as that. You can tell a right-on joke about the Holocaust like you can tell a right-on joke about anything.
It depends -- it comes from a good or a bad place. And you have to know what you're doing. And I like walking that tightrope. And I like the gasp coming first and then people realizing that it's OK.
No bad -- no bad at all can come from disgusting taboo subjects. It's where it comes from and how it's discussed. And I think that I've always done it. And things like in "The Office," it was clear because it was a character, when David Brent went over and, you know, it's the only black guy, David went, I love Sidney Poitier. People knew that he was uncomfortable with difference as opposed to being racist.
When Gareth was talking about the disabled woman in the wheelchair, saying, there should be tests, right? You should have to stick pins to make sure they're really disabled if they're claiming stuff? They know that we're laughing at his attitudes.
But when it's under your own name, they get confused. They think, does he mean that? Clever people know. They know there's irony. They know that -- where the sapphire is. And you can't legislate against stupidity. The more you dumb it down, the more you wink, you lose the satire.
MORGAN: I get it.
GERVAIS: So I don't apologize for people not getting it. If anyone gets it, it's gettable. And there's always -- as I said, there's always going to be someone that's offended by what you say.
Many people are offended because you exist, particularly you. Now I --
GERVAIS: Again, I've read the forums. But what are we meant to do?
MORGAN: That was the ever audacious Ricky Gervais. And coming up next, a very special Only in America, a heart felt tribute to Whitney Houston from some of her most talented young fans.
MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America is a very special tribute to an all-American diva from the students of PS-22, the school chorus has become a Youtube sensation. They have sung songs by everyone from Lady Gaga to the Velvet Underground.
And tonight, they have come together exclusively for PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT to pay tribute to Whitney Houston. Here they are, the students of the PS-22 fifth grade chorus, with director Greg Brianberg (ph), singing one of Whitney's greatest ever songs, "The Greatest Love of All," Only in America.
GROUP: we love you, Whitney.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, I'll anchor CNN's live coverage of Whitney Houston's funeral, along with Soledad O'Brien and Don Lemon. Our coverage begins at 11:00 a.m. We're going to have all the highlights on a special PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT at 9:00 PM Eastern. That's it for us tonight.
"AC 360" starts now.