British comedy is rubbish

Gervais slates the UK scene

Ricky Gervais has complained that British TV comedy lacks ambition, and revealed that his next project will be for the big screen.

The Office star is now working on the second and final series of Extras for BBC Two – but after that he and collaborator Stephen Merchant want to make a film.

In an interview with the Guardian, he confessed that he didn’t feel he belonged with other British comedians, claiming more affinity with American shows like Seinfeld and The Simpsons.

‘I haven't got anything in common with other comedians here,’ he said.  ‘We have different ambitions. I've got a lot more sympathy with my American peers.

‘There's something very parochial about a lot of British comedians. Their ambition is to get on a chat show, or have This Is Your Life or a South Bank Show made about them.

’I hate it when a British comedian [becomes popular], the first thing they do is appear in four films and they're all terrible, lottery-funded, tacky shit.

‘I see programmes in England and think “you're aiming low there”, “you're selling out there”, “you got a laugh last time so you've done it again”. Sometimes I think “shame on you” from a production point of view ... it's awful, it's tat.

‘[American comedy] always has a human interest and a romance from I Love Lucy to Friends, whereas we always do a catchphrase comedy or a central character who is a buffoon and always ends up back at square one.’

Gervais, who will make his film acting debut next year in a film by Spinal Tap director Christopher Guest, said he and Merchant already had some ideas for their big-screen debut

‘We want to do something that no one else can do. Or improve on something that has been done before. You're allowed to tell the same old stories, as long as you tell it better,’ he said.

He also said that he will appear with Seinfeld co-creator Larry David in a Channel 4 special, interviewing each other about their work.

Gervais was speaking as Extras is released on DVD today, at £21.99. Click here to buy from Amazon for a £9 discount


Published: 31 Oct 2005

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