Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue
Reginald D Hunter
Rev Obadiah Steppenwolf III
Roy Chubby Brown
Ruth E Cockburn
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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If you are devoutly religious, disabled, homo-sexual, easily offended or all 4 you will probably not enjoy Ricky Gervais stand-up. If you are able to step back and enjoy the satire you'll love it. Personally I rate his Animals sketch on "the garden of eden" as one of the funniest I have ever heard; logic vs spirtuality & mysticysm (probably partly derived from the XFM character Karl Pilkington) with a touch of politically incorrect childish humour thrown in. Love it all
He's a legend and has me in stiches every time I watch 'The Office' 'Extras' 'Animals' or 'Politics.' Never get bored of him and never will.Both series of his podcast show were brilliant. Absolute genius. Looking forward to 'Science'
No. At first I just didn't like him, then he milked a stupid dance routine that wasn't funny in the first place for so long I'm truly sick of him. Occasionally I might not scowl watching him - but that's as good as he gets.
Good example of a comedian who isn't really funny, but who observes things accurately. He is to the comedian's art what reality TV is to the filmmaker's. The sort of people whose highest dramatic ideal is Big Brother love him. Those with a couple of brain cells to rub together can hopefully see a bit further.
Biggest hype about nothing ever! After seeing Politics...how many jokes has this man blatantly ripped off? I don't know how he gets away with it. Maybe its because the majority of his fans have very little grasp of anyone else who has done/does stand up. He has changed nothing, people have been doing funnier jokes about the Bible, animals, etc for years and just because he's "it" at the moment does not make him the saviour of British comedy. I've said it before and I'll say it again, one hit wonder.
How hard to you have to try to be a snivelling, irritating, unfunny, overweight moron if you actually are a snivelling, irritating unfunny overweight moron? To see this man interviewed, merely highlights his limitations within a comedic capacity. He giggles like a school boy at every question asked of him and is quite simply devoid of any respectable person. Personally looking forward to a brighter future for all of us where this tepid, one-trick pony quits the comedy scene and takes up a career as pearl diver in lead swimwear.
I'm a fan of Ricky's work, but why must I hear him slating British comedy all the time. Has he forgotten this is where he made his name? He is a fantastic writer, but he is NOT the only one! Why doesn't he support our original homegrown comedy more. He's always ranting on about how brilliant and daring US sitcoms are.Has he not seen The Mighty Boosh, or The League Of Gentlemen or Snuffbox. If the US is so bloody good at coming up with original stuff why did they have to do their own version of The Office? I think British comedy gets to much bad press, stop watching My Family and My Hero and look for the real stuff.
Gervais is not an actor. He is a man that finds things very very funny. You can see that from the extras on the Politics dvd. The Office and Extras are hilarious as they make us feel nervous and embarrased: and what is the natural instinct when you are nervous and embarrased? To laugh.
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