Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue
Reginald D Hunter
Rev Obadiah Steppenwolf III
Roy Chubby Brown
Ruth E Cockburn
On The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
September 16, 2008
More Ricky Gervais videos
|On The Daily Show 2011 pt2|
|On The Daily Show 2011 pt1|
|Science DVD Extra|
|Ricky and Karl discuss working for Esquire|
|Gervais and Elmo|
|Daily Show: Feb 2009|
|The Late Show Top 10|
A late entrant to the world of comedy, Gervais only started to try to tap his talent for making people laugh in 1998, at the age of 36.
Before that, he had spent seven years spent as an entertainments manager for a student union.
And his initial ambitions were musical, playing in a failed Eighties band called Seona Dancing.
He later, briefly, managed the band Suede, before landing a job on London's XFM radio station where he started developing a taste for comedy, and a character called Seedy Boss who would later become The Office's David Brent.
Ricky Gervais: Science on tour
Movies are keeping Ricky Gervais busy these days; yet somewhere between the promotional junkets for The Invention Of Lying and writing and directing Cemetery Junction, he’s found the time to troll round the country on a stand-up tour.
However, he doesn’t seem to have quite found the time to polish off the writing. This show is substantially the same as a work-in-progress show he performed in London back in April, but there’s little evidence of the work actually having progressed, with straightforward routines offering plenty to enjoy, but few surprises.
It’s still a pretty funny 70 minutes, as you’d expect from a comic of Gervais’s talent, but Science feels like he’s treading water. Given that he’s such a perfectionist on his screen work, he seems happy to settle for the adequate, rather than the excellent, on stage.
His shows rarely have much to do with their titles, and Science is probably the most tenuously named yet, as he’s the first to admit. Reading the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for ‘science’ is as deep as it gets, unless you count the debunking of the Noah myth or the homophobic prejudices of the religious Right as striking a stand for rationality over superstition.
But we start – after an hilariously inappropriate video by gifted American stand-up Louis CK – with Britain’s Got Talent, and Gervais questioning what qualifications Amanda Holden has to sit in judgment, save for breaking up with Gervais’s old Extras guest star, Les Dennis. It’s graphically gross but forensically pedantic, repeating the points with subtle shifts in emphasis, heavily influenced by Stewart Lee’s style, but made more accessible.
A couple of other comedians are channelled over the night, too, recycling Russell Brand’s famous line about heroin being ‘a bit morish’ and offering a selfish take on the charity Christmas gifts that relies on a very familiar attitude, though the gags are Gervais’s own.
This is why the show never really flies, it sounds too much like a club set that other people could – and in some cases have - done. His extended deconstruction of Noah’s Ark, as told through a kids’ book, for example, is a ridiculously easy target. That doesn’t mean it can’t be funny – and in the early stages this proudly atheist routine is – but the sarcastic comments run out of steam before the legend does. Likewise a rant against fatties is both enjoyably vicious and largely predictable, while the inherent stupidity of opposing gay marriage is nicely encapsulated, but quickly degenerates into descriptions of increasingly depraved sexual activities, using shock as a substitute for surprise.
But taste always takes a holiday when Gervais is on stage. He’s far from PC, and if it’s behind a cloak of irony, it’s sometimes hard to see. An extended routine about an obsessed at the front of a Ken Dodd routine is ruthlessly offensive about someone who’s clearly a troubled woman – especially given Dodd’s well-publicised troubles with a mentally ill stalker. While many of Gervais’s comments are as funny as they are unkind, they are far from guilt-free.
His delivery, as always, is of the cheeky child – saying the latest rude thing he’s heard in the knowledge it will provoke a reaction from the grown-ups, then trying to act all coy when it does. His favourite stance is to jut his face towards the audience – making him almost look as if he’s wearing a cheap cardboard cut-out mask of himself - and pull a fax-innocent ‘what did I say?’ shrug. The fact his voice cracks into a high, vivacious laugh is something of a giveaway, though.
The engaging tongue-in-cheek performance helps ensure this is a fun night. Yes, he does mention his Golden Globes, of course, but rather more cheesily, he’s selling his autographs for £10 a pop at the merchandise stall. Poor chap, must be down on his fortune – that, or keen to avoid the dweeby autograph-hunters that’s another of his bugbears.
An entertaining hour and a bit, yes, but falling short of a memorable one. Maybe Gervais is spreading himself just a little too thin.
|Date of live review: Thursday 15th Oct, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
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I saw Ricky at the Royal Albert Hall at the Teenage Cancer Trust gig and he was great. Having been somewhat dissapointed with Extras, I was much more impressed with his live work. Whilst his jokes were not as well observed as others, his stage presence was excellent.
Ricky Gervais is the Einstein of comedy. British comedy had been dead for years, just going through the motions. I never watched anything that the BBC would vomit up and call 'comedy'. What Gervais & Merchant did with The Office was not only create a brilliant piece of observational comedy but re-designed the face of British comedy. Since The Office was made there have been numerous copies put on our screens (the Smoking Room to name but one). His stand-up is not only funny but allows us to see how ridiculous our compulsion for political correctness has become. His humour is of a knowing nature and I truly believe if he has or had offended someone he would be apologise and mean it (a rare thing with today's celebrities). As for his radio show, sure I can see that some people would not totally get it and be offended by its content but I see Ricky as the UK's Howard Stern. It's his job to push the barrier and in my book that's no bad thing. There is plenty more great stuff to come form Mr. Gervais and Co. And I for one can not wait to see what he does next.
Ricky Gervais is not a genius, unfortunately we seem to be suffering from a misguided 'emperor's new clothes' situation. If enough people say he's funny then he actually becomes funny. If you appreciate great comedy Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm etc then The Office and Extras are dim examples of comedy writing... Most of the script in Extras is a rip off situations in Curb Your Enthusiasm, the man is just not funny. If you have seen his so called stand-up routine you'll appreciate this mans main aim is to earn cash in an opportunistic way... Politics - doesn't feature any material about politics (moron) Animals is just poor very poor. Flanimals is a rubbish blatant example of marketing... and I'm tired of hearing him spout on about how many Hollywood deals he's turned down... methinks he doth protest too much
Look around you. If you don't know a David Brent, then he is YOU. Similarly if you don't "get" Ricky Gervais, then you are the ones he is taking the piss out of. The unintentional racism episode of Extras with Samuel L Jackson was a classic English comedy of bowel-clenching awkwardness. Easily as funny as any Fawlty or Norman Stanley Fletcher, RG effortlessly and cruelly exposes the English disease, institutionalised hypocrisy, self-deprecation and our arrogance with acutely observed flair
I have to say that I am amazed by some of these comments. To say that Gervais "truly has no understanding of satire, pathos, timing or even humour itself" is so clearly untrue. The Office was full of pathos, superb comic timing and a great deal of humour; sought from a place that most current and past sitcoms have failed to visit. His comic acting in The Office was also some of the best I've seen. Extras has not quite lived up to The Office, but it still delivered. The Les Dennis episode was genius. In my opinion he's jointly responsible for one of the best pieces of television in the early part of this century.
Couldn't stand The Office, loved Extras, loved the stand-up, so it just goes to show you can't please everybody. I also loved his archived radio shows on XFM and the recent Guardian podcasts (though the whole Ricky and Steve verbally beat up Karl routine is getting a bit old now). I don't really understand why people don't find him funny - maybe his personality is a love it or hate it type?
Gervais is a complete cretin when it comes to comedy. He truly has no understanding of satire, pathos, timing or even humour itself. All he knows is arrogance. The Guardian and the BBC are totally deceiving you, and one day you will realise this: Gervais and his pathetic group deserve nothing but distain. The Office was the most awful television ever ...the biggest yawn, and one of the most unfunny and pointless things ever televised.
Ricky Gervais is by fat the funniest man i have ever seen, even though Extras was a little disappointing it would of been very hard to top The Office because it was just so amazingly brilliant. As for his stand-up i cannot see how people don't find it funny, it's pure genius! No one i have seen has taken the bible and made a joke of it! Can't wait to see his next stand up.
Gervais revives The Office, as Peter Kay sits down... all for Comic Relief
28/02/2013 Permanent link
The Ricky Gervais Show: Season 3
An Idiot Abroad Series 3
Ricky Gervais: Science
An Idiot Abroad
The Ricky Gervais Show
Extras: The Special
Ricky Gervais: Fame
Ricky Gervais Live: Animals/Politics/Fame
All three live shows
For Your Consideration
Extras, Series 2
Ricky Gervais; The Story So Far
by Michael Heatley
Flanimals Of The Deep
Third in Ricky Gervais's series of illustrated children's books
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Ricky Gervais: Fame!
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
BBC: Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis discuss the making of Life's Too Short
Invention Of Lying
Ricky Gervais: Fame
Ricky Gervais: Politics
Ricky Gervais: Science
West End run