The British comedian won the prize for his HBO film industry satire, "Extras."
Upon hearing that Gervais was unable to attend Sunday evening's event, Jon Stewart, who was handing out the award, gestured to his co-presenter and former "Daily Show" collaborator Stephen Colbert, and said: "Ah, Ricky Gervais couldn't be here tonight, so, instead, we're going to give this to our friend, Steve Carell."
Carell, also a "Daily Show" alum, jumped out of his seat and ran to the stage where he joined Colbert and Stewart for a jubilant group hug.
Carell was also nominated for the lead actor Emmy for his performance in the comedy, "The Office," which was based on a British series Gervais created.
LGBT community has 'bullied the American people': Bachmann
Duggar sisters unveil Christian dating rules in new book