Ricky Gervais on Why Standup Is His Favourite Medium of Comedy

Ricky Gervais, the comedy icon and creator/star of After Life returns to the stage together with his newest Netflix stand-up particular, SuperNature—which shouldn’t be taken too actually. We sat down with the actor to get the low-down on life recently, however first, some rapid-fire questions:

  • One want?: An animal sanctuary.
  • Cash or fame?: Cash is actual. Fame is what once more? Random folks waving at you?
  • If God exists…: He’s doing a horrible fucking job.
  • Epitaph?: He had fun, then discovered a lump.

Males’s Journal: SuperNature sounds much more formidable than 2018’s Humanity, which started with you telling your viewers “I desire animals.” Can we assume the brand new title is ironic, you’ll be in a stained black T-shirt and consuming beer out of a can once more?

Ricky Gervais: And really probably sporting dangerous denims. I don’t consider something is “supernatural.” If one thing exists, it’s pure and explainable—if not now, then ultimately. I do clarify irony initially of SuperNature. I say, “That was irony. There’ll be extra of it within the present. See in the event you can spot it.”

What attracts you again to stand-up between your collection work?

Initially, it was simply the opposite factor I did and loved. Now I notice it’s my favourite factor of all. My revelation with stage time is its effectivity. You may write for hours and by no means predict the way it’ll go. With stand-up, you might have your reply in seconds.

After Life is in its third and last season. What prompted you to loosen up your ordinary two-season-max rule with earlier exhibits like The Workplace [U.K.], Extras and Derek?

It’s a much bigger world this time with extra drama and characters to discover. I do suppose it’s humorous, although, that folks make a giant deal of me doing a 3rd [six-episode] season—when that doesn’t quantity to a single U.S. season. I might’ve very fortunately finished extra.

Why not? It’s referred to as After Life. It might’ve gone on eternally, proper?

Every thing factors that I ought to keep on. It hurts me to cease this. It’s silly to cease this. However I already blurted it out, and I feel it’s the correct determination. Not less than this manner I’m not canceled. I’ve by no means been canceled as a result of I all the time cancel myself first.

Talking of which, in the event you had been beginning out right now would you pursue a comedy profession within the “cancel tradition” period?

I’d as a result of there’s all the time cancel tradition. As soon as upon a time, it was the middle- aged Christian proper who had been the gatekeepers. Now it’s 20-year-olds on social media. You’ve simply gotta ignore all of it. A comic book bemoaning cancel tradition is sort of a sailor griping about waves.

What comes extra naturally to you, insulting others or self-deprecation?

Self-deprecation often wins. There’s a sneaky little bit of it hiding within the insults too, tucked behind all of that fake vanity, proper? I additionally suppose it’s necessary to differentiate an precise insult from simply teasing somebody about what everybody already is aware of.

Your scene with David Bowie in Extras is the yardstick of televised humiliation. What was it wish to be shredded in tune by a music legend?

Wonderful. Folks nonetheless don’t notice I wrote these phrases for him. It wasn’t a documentary.

Did he write the music for that “chubby little loser” scene?

I despatched him the lyrics and requested, “Are you able to give me one thing kind of retro for this—like, ‘Life on Mars’?” He goes, “Positive, I’ll simply knock off a fast fucking ‘Life on Mars’ for you.” That was superb, too.

Does life make any sense or is it only a collection of arbitrary occasions?

I guarantee you, the latter. The universe doesn’t give a shit about us. It doesn’t even know us. So we higher simply attempt to benefit from the experience.

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