Ricky Gervais on depression and bipolar disorder

I’ve never been one of the people who thought Ricky Gervais was a comedy genius.  To me, ‘comedy genius’ implies being a great writer and a great performer.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were comedy geniuses.  The Monty Python team were a collective comedy genius.  Joyce Grenfell was a comedy genius.  Stan Laurel was a comedy genius.  Dylan Moran is a comedy genius.  Billy Connolly used to be a comedy genius – the unexpurgated version of An Audience with Billy Connolly is arguably the funniest (recorded) stand-up show by a British comedian ever – and occasionally still shows flashes of his former brillianceRob Newman is a comedy genius.  Linda Smith might have become a comedy genius if she’d lived longer.  Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis are a collective genius (and criminally underrated, if you ask me).  Bill Bailey has distinct genius-like tendencies, as does Jennifer SaundersMarcus Brigstocke and Kenneth Williams and Jeremy Hardy and Nina Conti and Stephen Fry and Phil Jupitus and Julian Clary and Simon Amstell and Dawn French and Graeme Garden and Paul Merton and Eddie Izzard and Victoria Wood and Paul O’Grady probably aren’t comedy geniuses, but I still love them anyway.*

Ricky Gervais, on the other hand, is a lacklustre writer and an abysmal performer.  He’s not as cancerously unfunny as Matt Lucas and David Walliams (who is?), but he runs them a close second.

For me, The Office was like a programme written by someone who’d only made it through two-thirds of Sitcom Writing for Dummies.  He’d read the stuff about creating a good scenario, and he’d obviously been taking notes during the bits when they’d talked about creating well-observed characters, but what had completely passed him by was the need to write funny dialogue.  A good sitcom – like The IT Crowd, or Black Books, or The Thick of It – is about well-observed characters in a well thought-out scenario who say and do funny things.  As far as I could see, The Office was a sit without the com.  Sitting and watching it I felt like I used to when I watched Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out as a teenager – why are people laughing at this?  This is a good comedy setup, but they haven’t paid it off.  There was, as far as I could tell, nothing that was actually funny, just a bunch of things that might have become funny if they’d been worked on by someone talented.

The ‘joke’ started to wear even thinner when it became apparent that David Brent wasn’t, as most people had assumed, a brilliant ‘comic creation’ but was in fact just a fractionally exaggerated version of Ricky Gervais.  When people thought they were laughing at a fatuous idiot who made racist/sexist/everything-ist comments, it was all safely ‘postmodern’ and ‘ironic’, and so it was ok to laugh – ‘Oh, my dear, no, I’m not laughing at what he says, I’m laughing because he says it.’  But, once he started to do his ‘stand-up’ tours it became abundantly clear that, for at least two-thirds of his audience, he was a straightforward observational comedian – ‘he says what we’re all thinking’.  And those two-thirds of his audience would be just as comfortable at a Jim Davidson gig.

(For the record, the problem with Jim Davidson as a comedian (as opposed to what’s wrong with him as a person…) isn’t that he uses ‘politically incorrect’ material, it’s that he does nothing with it.  He gets a laugh from people who agree with him because they agree with him, not because he’s told a funny joke using language or ideas that some people find offensive.  It’s an important distinction, I think – it’s what separates South Park from Bernard Manning.)

By the time Extras came along it was clear Ricky Gervais was rapidly vanishing up his own arse – the whole thing was basically an exercise in arrogance (‘look at all my famous friends…’) – and most people happily acknowledge that his ‘glory days’ are behind him.  Judging by how enthusiastically he was booed at the Comedy Awards last year, here in the UK the backlash has well and truly set in.

But in America, he’s still seen as something of a star, and, going by the rapturous reception he got on The Daily Show this week, quite a big star.  And it was something that he said on The Daily Show (shown on Wednesday in the UK, and broadcast in the US on Tuesday) that has inspired this post.

You can see the interview here, [edit: original link no longer works, but this one still seems to] but if you can’t be bothered wading through the whole thing, this is a transcript of the section that really pissed me off:

But now it’s…the new one is depression.  [Sarcastic tone of voice] ‘Oh yeah, I’m bipolar, I suffer from depression’.  And it’s always over-privileged performers.  You don’t see like… er… like… blue-collar workers, people on minimum wage… er… with that.  Imagine what they’re reading about, these people, going [sarcastic tone of voice] ‘Oh, look at this poor millionaire comedian, he feels alienated.’  It’s like – shut the –ck up.  Jesus.  [3’27 – 3’48 running time on the you tube video]

Well, where to start?

First of all, there’s the familiar idea that mental illness is some kind of designer accessory for the aspiring celebrity.  Immediately before this, he’d been criticising comedians who talk about sex ‘addiction’, and immediately afterwards John Stewart (the presenter) went on to talk about performers who go to rehab clinics for ‘exhaustion’ because they don’t want to admit to drug addiction.  The implication is that mental illness, like sex ‘addiction’ and drugs, is just a part of the celebrity lifestyle.

Now, to be fair to John Stewart (which I’m going to be, because I like him), he comes out of this reasonably well.  He explicitly shifts away from Ricky’s attack on the mentally ill to talk about celebrities who feign ‘exhaustion’, and, by implication, he’s suggesting that Ricky was actually having a go at celebrities who pretend to be mentally ill, not the properly mentally ill.  That’s actually a fairly good catch, and a subtle attempt at trying to finesse Ricky’s blunter point.  It’s worth emphasising that it’s not Ricky Gervais who shifts the ground – he was happy to stand foursquare behind the idea that mental illness is a celebrity con.

Because that’s the second thing that’s so annoying about what he said – the idea that ‘ordinary people’ don’t get depression and bipolar disorder.  I can’t actually work out which part of that irritates me more.  Is it the sheer, breathtaking  ignorance of a man who seems to genuinely believe that manic depression was invented by the Hello generation?  Or the fact that he’s just dismissed the experiences of millions of ‘ordinary people’ who have to live with the relentless day-in, day-out grind of having a mood disorder?

This is a point that Seaneen makes fairly often, but it’s bang on the money, and she’s right to emphasise it – the huge difference in the way mental and physical illnesses are treated by the media and entertainment industries.  Let’s take asthma as an example, or type 1 diabetes.  Like bipolar disorder and severe depression, they’re chronic conditions that can usually be managed with medication, but can also have acute crises that require hospitalisation, and, if left untreated, can lead to death.  Imagine the transcript above with asthma and diabetes in place of depression and bipolar disorder.  No-one would have laughed, and by making those comments, Gervais would have risked doing serious damage to his career.  So far so unfair, but that’s not the real issue.  The real issue is that it wouldn’t even have occurred to him to make the ‘joke’ in the first place.  That’s how vast the difference between mental and physical illness is.

People make jokes about embarrassing or painful physical conditions all the time, of course.  If I had £10 for every male comedian of a certain age who I’ve seen make jokes about their prostate, and the experience of having it examined I’d have…er… well £20, at least.  But with those kinds of jokes – at least when they get shown on the TV – there’s always a sense of laughing with the sufferer.  There’s no sense that someone is being attacked as a bad person because they have an embarrassing physical illness.  In fact, to get a big laugh when talking about a physical problem, a comedian pretty much has to explicitly say that they’re not laughing at the sufferer.

If that was the way mental illness was treated by comedians I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  In fact, I’d be pleased.  I’d sooner chew my leg off than become one of those arsehole killjoys who sit around waiting to be offended, or who assume that because some of the consequences of mental illness aren’t funny, the whole topic is off-limits for humour.  As far as I’m concerned, no topic should be off-limits for humour (although there are several where you’d hope that comedians might want to tread carefully).

One of the greatest things about the MH blogosphere, I think, is that it’s not po-faced, and full of relentless woe-is-me misery.  We all have our moments of that, of course, but the default approach amongst us all seems to be to play up an ironic or sarcastic approach to our experiences.  We make jokes, usually at our own expense, and we’re pleased if  people laugh at them.  I’d be perfectly happy if comedians – even comedians with no experience of mental illness – joined in with that.  Jo Brand is famously an ex-mental nurse, and she doesn’t often make jokes about mental illness, but when she does they’re funny, and they’re not attacking the mentally ill, just some of the absurdities that exist.

In that sense, she’s pretty much the opposite of Ricky Gervais.  His ‘joke’ wasn’t about mental illness, it was about the mentally ill.  And it wasn’t about laughing with the mentally ill, it was about laughing at them, because the whole concept of being mentally ill is a fake.  But then again, of course, Jo Brand is very different to Ricky Gervais in another way, too.  She wasn’t on my list of comedy geniuses at the start of this post, and I’m not sure she deserves to be, but she is about a million times funnier than Ricky Gervais.

* – this is, btw, only the edited highlights of comedians I like, and only taken from the ranks of British and Irish comedians.**

** – ok, I admit it – Joyce Grenfell and Stan Laurel are both Anglo-American rather than British or Irish.  Why yes, I am a dyed-in-the-wool comedy geek.  How ever could you tell?  ;o)

[The title of this post was changed on 14/04/2012.]

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Comedy, Media commentary, Stuff I've watched. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Ricky Gervais on depression and bipolar disorder

  1. madsadgirl says:

    Excellent post. You have expressed the thoughts of many of us, and we can only thank you for doing so. It is no wonder that we have to endure the stigma of mental illness when so-called comedians are allowed to make comments like this and be totally unaware of the hurt that they are causing. Mental illness is serious and is not something that should be treated in this manner.

  2. Word. He’s willing to pick on a vulnerable section of the community to raise some cheap laughs and doesn’t care who he hurts.

    My political activism rarrrrrr is high right now as I just went to see Milk and it inspired me. Excellent movie.

  3. mortjo says:

    Good post. Heck, all your posts are good :o)

    Yes. Gervais is an arse, but you raise good points. The ‘problem’ with mentalism is there is no obvious physicality, generally anyway. So, as we all know, it’s not uncommon and indeed it’s very easy to ‘adopt’ a mental illness. Be it to cover up some other problem (alcohol, insecurity), or just plain old fashioned attention seeking.
    Whilst I in no way want to be seen to be defending Gervais at all, I suspect this is what he was alluding too. But given he isn’t graced with an intelligent tongue in his head, he fucked it up entirely.
    I think the point of the whole section of that exchange (I watched it, through gritted teeth), was the celeb propensity to have a pet illness, and the affliction of choice currently seems to be Depression, or especially Bipolar, and that the average man in the street with Bipolar all of a sudden finds himself with a designer illness, rather than common or garden depression.

    Anyway that said, must congratulate you on a fine parade of comic legends. But yes, I agree, Gervais, wanker.

  4. Gervais is a cunt. End of. But spot on post there. Thanks, it needed saying. I think? Just so we can all agree and say that’s what we think too, because evidently we do. I hate his fucking false count dracula smile that for some reason the grauniad has on its website every other day! Cunt! Cunt! Fucking Cunt!!! (As Peter Cook might have said.)

  5. Lucy McGough says:

    I agree 100%.

  6. lsnduck says:

    I completely agree about Punt and Dennis. The Now Show is the only current ‘comedy’ that I go out of my way to listen to. Having said that, I think they do much better on radio than they did on the television.

  7. cellar_door says:

    “You don’t see like… er… like… blue-collar workers, people on minimum wage… er… with that”

    I would like to invite him to come down to my last placement, sit in on a couple of sessions with some of the ‘blue-collar’ depressives and take a look at the 3 month waiting list for appointments for people with ‘made up’ illnesses. I would like to, but I won’t, because as Abysmal says, he’s a cunt and I don’t want to talk to him.

    And Black Books is superb. I *heart* Dylan Moran.

  8. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for all the comments – it looks as though i struck a chord with quite a few of you there. :o)

    Pole to Polar – excellent 4 word summary of my post there :o)

    madsadgirl – i think you’re right to say that comments like those made by Ricky Gervais do reinforce stigma, but i also think they only exist because of stigma. It would be nice, of course, if people with access to the media were part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    DeeDee Ramona – i agree. Oh, and Milk is definitely on my ‘to see’ list. :o)

    mortjo – thank you for the kind words! I do agree that the label of mental illness gets misapplied sometimes, and that particularly happens with people in the public eye, as when Britney Spears shaving her hair off was interpreted as meaning she must be bipolar. My feeling watching the Gervais interview was that it was John Stewart who shifted onto the ‘celebrity fakers’ angle, and Gervais just followed him there, but i’m prepared to concede that Gervais might have been intending to say that, and it was pre-existing dislike of him that made me interpret what he said so uncharitably. Oh, and i’m pleased you liked my list of comedians. :o)

    abysmal musings – sorry, i’m not quite clear – were you saying you didn’t like Ricky Gervais…? ;o) I have to say, as well, that Peter Cook would have made mincemeat of Ricky Gervais (assuming he’d thought he was worth bothering with).

    Lucy McGough – i’m glad to hear it!

    lsnduck – you see, i’m really bad at listening to the Now Show. When i hear it i love it, but i never seem to get round to listening. One of the funniest things i’ve ever heard was on the Now Show, several years ago now, when Hugh Dennis unexpectdly did the ‘That’s you, that is’ punchline from the Newman and Baddiel ‘History Professor’ sketches, and followed it up by saying ‘I wonder what happenned to the other two? You don’t here much from them anymore…’ I laughed for about a week when i heard that.* :o)

    cellar_door – yes, it did seem quite remarkably ignorant, didn’t it? And as for hearting Dylan Moran – well, there’s a queue. I think i’m 997,463rd in line… ;o)

    (* – Explanatory note, if anyone needs it: in the late 80s and early 90s, Punt and Dennis were in The Mary Whitehouse Experience (on Radio 1, and then BBC2) with another duo, Rob Newman and David Baddiel. TMWE was astonishingly succesful, and incredibly hip, and at the time a lot of trendy young urban types stopped following music (which was at a very loe ebb at the time, anyway) and started following comedy instead. Newman and Baddiel went on to have massive success, selling out venues bigger than had ever been sold out by comedians before, and had previously only been associated with big name bands, like Wembley Arena (Punt & Dennis were the second comedians to achieve this with their ‘Milky Milky’ tour). Despite their success (or, David Baddiel says, because of it) they ended up spectacularly falling apart in a series of rows that were as least as bad as those between Lennon and McCartney, or Morrissey and Marr.)

  9. beetrootsoup says:

    My partner and I tried to access the interview and found it had been removed for some reason. Personally I can’t work up much of a head of steam about what he said. It’s entirely in keeping with his persona which does have ‘arsehole’ written all over it, and he did little but highlight his own ignorance. I feel a little guilty now for ever having liked The Office or some of his stand-up.

    Thanks for a very interesting post though, A. You truly are ‘comedy geek’ par excellence. Love, Zoe

  10. Alex says:

    Amen. I watched Gervais’ Politics show once, and got about 15 minutes in before wanting to kick my TV in. So this latest thing doesn’t really surprise me. He’s a smarmy, self-satisfied, unfunny, pig-ignorant twat.
    I like your list of comedy geniuses (although I’d dispute including Jo Brand, given that I’ve only ever heard her tell three jokes). I think limiting yourself to only British and Irish ones misses a few people who always deserve mentions in any kind of ‘best comedians’ list, though. Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, and Mitch Hedberg. ‘Course, for all the great comedians the US has produced, they did balance it out with Carlos Mencia and Larry The Cable Guy. Oh, and Dane Cook. And Margaret Cho. Wait, I’d better stop here before I go off on a hate-rant.

  11. cb says:

    Another vote of disdain for Gervais. I never thought the Office character involved much acting.

  12. NiroZ says:

    Although I wouldn’t call tim minchin a comedy genius, but this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujUQn0HhGEk is pretty good.

  13. Kieran Monaghan says:

    You absolute retard! Just because you cannot grasp the subtleties of his humor, don’t be sour about it! The fact that you have all displayed your anger against his success shows that you are as sour as David Brent himself!

    You all take things for face value and can’t understand why it is funny!

    The UK is full of idiots like yourselves! I bet you all find “Devvo”, hilarious… That would sum it up!

  14. lee says:

    Have you ever heard about a little thing called subjectivity?

    I live ricky,he uses a thing called subtlety in his comedy,the jokes arnt delivered because he trusts his audience,the office is not a slap stick comedy.

  15. Pingback: What do you do? « www.mentallyinteresting.org.uk | Pole to Polar: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive

  16. Karita says:

    I like Ricky Gervais, and found The Office funny in an I-want-to-stab-myself sort of way, but he is an arsehole. Great post!

  17. nemotq says:

    Never been a fan of his or find him even remotely funny.

  18. Bernard says:

    “Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis are a collective genius” – The whole post lost any credibility at that point.

  19. Brett Sneddon says:

    I FOOKING HATE HIM. WHAT A FOOKING PRICK. I JUST THINK HE THINKS HE’S GREAT, TAKES THE PISS OUT OF LOADS OF GOOD STUFF AND IS A COCK RING! MANY THANKS

  20. Derren says:

    I think he’s a rather annoying one trick pony who seems to think very highly of himself despite the self-deprecating act.

    The Office I did find amusing, but you’re right when you say he was only playing a character fractionally different from his true self. It was bizarre to discover this in interviews. There he was, David Brent, the real life version.

    I think the Americans have a tendency of thinking too highly of British comedy and to assume it has some incredible sophistication to it. They don’t understand the context, they just hear this humour, it sounds a little different and has slightly more subtlety to it so they declare it brilliant, often because they want to give the appearance of having a sophisticated palette themselves. It’s a little bit like people who know nothing about wine picking bottles from obscure regions to try and impress their friends.

  21. David says:

    I started to realise what an objectionable little w*****r he is as his profile climbed in the US. He gets more insufferable by the week. What’s your opinion of Chris Morris? Not all what he does is comedy. Much of it is his own genre entirely. I’d probably just call him a genius (listen to his CERN podcast to leave you utterly speechless as he demonstrates his knowledge of the foundations of quantum mechanics, subatomic particles and string theory). His stuff is perhaps what Gervais wanted to do, though I seriously doubt Gervais’ capacity for thought that intelligent.

  22. gjm says:

    Gervais a comedy genius ! i mean that really is funny – maybe in his fat head he is – Woody Allen is a comedy genius as is Mel Brooks , Stan Laurel and Groucho Marx and there are others ( Monty Python team etc..) when you have a career output that can rival the guys i’ve mentioned you can be called a genius – its almost scientific !! do yourself a favour and watch a Marx Brothers movie or Woody’s Love and Death or watch Mel’s The Producers ann LEARN what comedic genius is.

  23. cookieyeah says:

    Oh bless you hun, did Ricky Gervais up set you?. There there.

  24. JimmyBoomBoom says:

    The Office, in my view, was cringeworthy but funny. However, that was Ricky Gervais’ comic zenith (not that you’d know it with the plaudits he gets, especially Stateside). He decided to step out the shadow of the comic writing duo into the spotlight of stand-up and has been cruelly exposed as a man of serious limitations. Extras was just utter wank but has proved a cunning vehicle to give him more exposure and a foot up on the Hollywood ladder. I despair that so many people have fallen for this scheister. There’s no subtlety because there’s no humour to be subtle about. Emperor’s new clothes and simply not in the least bit funny. The only thing ironic I could find about him is that the other week he advocated the sterilisation of people he deemed a waste of space. Nuff said.

  25. Telboy says:

    I put in some unsavoury words into Google about RG, thinking I only felt this way. Pretty sad. But what vindication. I hate this absolutely unsuffering, unsufferable piece of shit. He is the kind of dick that would laugh at a blind man treading in dog-shit. Completely unfunny c**t. I saw him years ago on C4 Thursday show. Laugh-free. Total cock. Spleen vented. Be happy. sorry about the dirty words. huhh, huhh.

  26. the jetta says:

    ricky gervais is a typically unfunny channel four type creation of a middle class persons comedian only appreciated by spotty college geeks and lecturers who think intellectual comedy is so cool. In realistic language what I am trying to say is ricky gervais is a complete and utterly unfunny wanker and has no idea how to be funny, tell a proper joke or entertain a live audience. It is a shame that some people actually think he is funny, the only thing humourous about him is that he is the “joke”. He is a talentless, hopeless and useless fourth rate nobody.

  27. Chris91 says:

    Gervais-hate is so vicious. A comment above for me pretty much encapsulated the whole thing though: The things he says and the way he acts are based on an intellectual trust with the audience. A lot of the time, he deliberately acts like a twat, but he does it in a subtle manner that a lot of people seem to misconstrue. He’s polarizing because of this. People can’t handle the deliberate awkwardness and smarminess of his comedy because deep down on a social level it offends them because of certain stigmatizations. I’m not saying he’s a super edgy comedian who absolutely pushes boundaries, but he is a very subtle comedian in how he doesn’t seem very subtle if that makes any sense. People who enjoy the US office more than the original annoy me too. The US version is such a melodramatic, exaggerated crock of shit. What’s funny about the UK Office is the reality of it all, and what divides the audience I think is that the detractors within it suffer from an inability to find reality funny. People are so wrapped up in the seriousness and the solemnity of reality; they’re a bunch of stuffy, falsely self-righteous squares at heart. I mean, save your hate for people who genuinely deserve it.
    Also, it seems as if as soon as someone breaks into the mainstream and begins to make their fortune, they generate unwarranted hate that I believe is based off an implicit jealousy from the audience. I know Gervais has had a few hollywood stinkers, but no-one’s artistic career is perfect. Sacrifices or all kinds often have to be made. Like it or not, Gervais (along with Merchant) still created two of the most critically acclaimed UK television series’ of the modern day and going back on your word is just hypocrisy based largely on thoughtless bandwagon hopping.

  28. tony says:

    Ricky Gervais should have left it at the office but you shouldn’t have written this you come off as a bigger cunt than him

  29. Devvo says:

    Some things are just wasted on some people

    I bet Doug Stanhope’s a bit of a cunt as well isn’t he, talking about how it’s ok for paedophiles to wank over pictures of kids!

  30. Gervais Hater says:

    Ricky Gervais is a fat, unfunny, stupid cunt. He’s about as funny as getting your testicles removed with a chainsaw. All his programs such as Extras and The Office serves only as one purpose, the TV/DVD/Blu-Ray equivalent of a sleeping pill. Can’t sleep, try watching The Office or Extras, you’ll be snoring by the first few lines of dialogue! As much as I would like for him to stay in America, so that I can have at least have some breathing space from his fat belly, he gets more exposure there. Hopefully he’s fucked himself up with his recent Golden Globes and fucks off back to obscurity where he belongs.

  31. Me says:

    Right time and place for Ricky. Lets face it, it would be all done if it wasn’t for his break in the US. Now it’s piggy backing people saying they find him entertaining because others do.

    He created with ‘the office’, a sitcom from an enthusiasts perspective. it was all borrowed and absolutely and accidentally perfectly timed from the last time it had been done (Fawlty Towers – Alan Partridge) etc etc. It was an extra notch excruciating and several less witty.

    Both John Cleese and Steve Coogan also tried to break america and, I think, failed to break any new ground and will spend their lives treading water. Both of these men are infinitely more talented than Gervais.

    Ricky Gervais just slid in under the Radar and now seems to be allowed to continue to go for whatever he wants. I think he’s an excruciating little shit, lifted up by the chance success of what he, postpartum, considers the reasons as to why he is in fact now genuinely great. And so the dance continues.

    It’s going to get a lot more painful before he fades away.

  32. Me says:

    In fact the more I think about it, the more he reminds me of Chris Evans.
    Not completely without talent, yet seemed so utterly chance driven bullet-proof successful that their arrogance kept them skimming into being extremely wealthy at the sake of their own souls.

    They draw back further and further from human beings until they’re these horrific examples of what money and elevated opinions of yourself will do.
    Away goes the self worth, replaced with money . The originality of their work seemingly ebbs away at the same rate.
    We humble consumers get to watch them disappearing up their own arrogant bumholes live on television until they are genuinely hated, all the while remembering where they came from. The contrast from what they were to what they became growing more and more offensive.

  33. Billy says:

    I found this quote regarding the definition of a comic from Ralph Waldo Emerson,

    “The perception of the comic is a tie of sympathy with other men, a pledge of sanity, and a
    protection from those perverse tendencies and gloomy insanities in which fine intellects
    sometimes lose themselves. A rogue alive to the ludicrous is still convertible. If that sense is
    lost, his fellow-men can do little for him.”

    I feel the the first line is completely lost on our man Gervais. I agree whole heartedly with all of the strong comments against the man and the well observed points regarding his shortcomings. Yet for me to sit and watch either him or one of his creations I find an effort with no real pleasure at the end of it. Unlike eating a chilli, which at least offers some rush as the endorphins kick in, however Brent offers no such succour only revulsion and a sort of shame that we really wish we weren’t of the same species.

    All I can hope is that he is revealed for the charlatan he surely is and fades away or even better, he is exposed in some seedy hotel room at the so called height of his self acclaimed popularity indulging in some sordid activity. This would finally make me laugh at Ricky Gervais.

  34. David Schofield says:

    aethelreadtheunread – the IT crowd is “about well-observed characters in a well thought-out scenario who say and do funny things” Absolute bullshit

    Why do you think ricky gervais has been so successful if your opinion matters so much?

  35. staplefix says:

    No matter what kind of defense people do for RG’s sake, he still isn’t a comedic genius. He has no form of comedic performance and just scaths of using his smug personality. Like what the author said, his humor is simply an observation to point out the ironic things in life. But the material alone isn’t funny, nor his delivery. He’s just stating facts and laughs about it.

    His comedy isn’t what brought his success. It’s Steve Carell’s popularity that did. Admit it, we all knew about the 40 year old virgin more than The Office, even if Gervais claims Carell’s success.

    One day Hollywood will get fed up with him, and he’ll be another washed up celebrity, like how he was in his youth.

  36. Fraser Webster says:

    No no no, you’re so wrong.

    I’m sorry but The Office saved British comedy. When it came out, we were at a time when sitcoms had become so boring. Recycled jokes, recycled punch lines and catchphrases, fake audience canned laughter. The office came along and said why do we need to jump around and scream and shout to be funny? The office threw away all those old connatations. The pure cringe worthy style of David Brent, and his hilarious lines that he is apparently oblivious to make it so so funny. In the words of Stephen Fry ‘nobody can dislike the office, if they say they do they clearly don’t understand it’.

  37. Aog says:

    Gervais – the best advert for abortion, ever!

    All that sperm yet his is the one which got through.

  38. Lawrence Compton says:

    Thus it has ever been: A segment of the poulation always finds narcissistic arseholes funny because they justify their own nasty narcissistic tendencies. Wankers like Gervais make these nasty nut insecure people feel better about themselves.

  39. cornz says:

    Punt and Dennis. Two of the best comedians the UK has.
    Check out “The Mary Whitehouse Experience”.
    Oldie but goldie….

  40. blackberryjuniper says:

    Wow. What a lot of massively varied reactions, and some of them so damn rude to you, Aethelread :-( I don’t agree with everything you said in this post, but I agree with your reasoning. Why is it that people feel this need to ATTACK so stridently posts they disagree with?? Insulting and just swearing is never going to be as effective as a reasoned answer. Jeez.

  41. jc says:

    ricky gervais is a genius and everyone who thinks otherwise (such as this aethelread cunt) is fucking retarded. fact!

    *sorry blackberryjuniper – ha! ;)

  42. cornz says:

    @ jc.
    There’s only one retarded cunt on this blog. He shares his initials with Jeremy Clarkson.
    Fact.

  43. Harvey WIlson says:

    No, I’m the cunt.

  44. Ali says:

    Excellent article. I happen to actually (on the whole) be quite a big fan on Gervais, Merchant and PIlkington. I do like the Office, Extras was ok but Life’s Too Short was shit. His films are also a mixed bag. Vanished up his own arse – completely agree! I do think he’s a funny guy BUT (I guess like all of us) says the occasional stupid (and in this case very ill-informed) thing. He does seem conflicted when it comes to mental health problems (see also Mong-gate) and I hope he wakes up to the reality that mental health problems are serious and not to be laughed at (although, like the author, laughing with and at the absurdities of them is fine if done carefully).

  45. Jack Endany says:

    Thank you for this one eyed scroll of drivel. Are you a shrub?

  46. Jack Endany says:

    Having been lauded by Larry David, David Letterman, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp et al I bet Gervais is really hurt by these damning reflections. What a host of mung beans you are.

  47. Jack Endany says:

    Rob Newman is a comedy genius !!?? Is this a sixth form wankathon? Laugh at my pretentious attempts at humour or I’ll cry boo hoo

    Rob fukin Newman? Nanette Newman is funnier. And probably harder.

  48. joe feef says:

    you’re all dancing about architecture…anyone define genius.

  49. Jack Endany says:

    Everyone knows architects may come and architects may go…. but do they ever change their point of view?

    Don’t they have definitions for words in dictionaries? There is a really big one called Oxford or something. But if you get the definition does that mean we can’t dance around the architecture any more ? Fukin ‘ell, Lionel Ritchie is gonna be well pissed off.

  50. Pingback: Mental health campaigns can backfire | Aethelread the Unread

Comments are closed.