Britain’s favourite funny man, Ricky Gervais, is back to his ruthless, hard-hitting best with a brand new world tour. Here he talks about taking onsome of life’s biggest taboos and his upcoming new Netflix show.
As arguably one of Britain’s most talented comedians, he’s taken on Hollywood, brushed shoulders with some of the biggest names in
showbiz and for the past 20 years delivered hit after hit onto our screens.
But following a lengthy hiatus from standup,
Gervais has decided to step back into the spotlight and go it alone again with an exciting new world tour.
Titled ‘Humanity’, the tour will see Gervais ponder the complexities of the human species – a species of which he admits he isn’t overly
fond – and attempt to put an amusing spin on some of life’s most taboo topics.
“I’m trying to make people laugh about things they didn’t know they could,” he explains. “Taboo subjects, such as death, get you there quicker.
“I’ve taken them by the hand through a scary forest, they’ve come out in the sunlight and they realise it isn’t so bad.”
The comic has never been afraid to say exactly what he thinks and he’s more than willing to lend his opinion to topics such as Trump, Brexit, cancer and blasphemy in his new show, which promises to be his most personal and honest yet.
In the spirit of honesty and sharing, the comic opens up about family life and notes his passion for making people laugh has much todo with the influence from his parents and siblings growing up.
“I realised what an influence my brother, Bob, was on me growing up,” he says. “The point of life was to have a laugh, that was the men – the women carried on working! “I wanted to be clever, but being funny came first.
That’s how you know someone is clever. They don’t come out and tell you Pi to 13 places – they tell you a joke.”
And his promise to be brutally honest most likely stems from his parents, whom he jokes had quite opposite approaches to getting a laugh.
“My dad was very dry. He didn’t say much, he’d hide behind his paper,” he recalls. “I remember the family was round once and my mum said: ‘he’s not put any money away for his funeral’. He just replied: ‘bury me in the garden’.
“Mum was funny because she told the truth. When I was 12, I asked her why my brothers were so much older than me and she just said: ‘’because you were a mistake’.”
While Gervais is excited to tackle some of society’s biggest taboos, he appears unfazed by the potential backlash having such a loose tongue could provoke, particularly around the subject of politics.
“I think everyone is political these days, but I don’t come down on one side or the other.
The only side I take is clever versus stupid,” he remarks.
“Any line taken out of context of the show would be horrendous, but now I don’t care. Saying ‘I’m offended’ is meaningless to me.
It’s like saying, ‘I’ve got a pain in my leg’. What’s that got to do with me? “There is a vast difference between a government policy of oppression and some fat bloke in a club doing a naughty joke. When a comedian says something and he doesn’t mean it, he gets in trouble; when a politician
says something and he does mean it, he doesn’t get in trouble because that’s his socalled job.”
Despite a long-awaited return to stand up, the comedian isn’t finished with the world of acting for good as he has an upcoming Netflix series in the works in which he will take on the middle-aged, grumpy lead role.
Originally titled Roll On Death, before being scrapped for sounding too comical, the drama is likely to be another classic Gervais masterpiece.
“It’s about a guy whose wife has died and he is in the depths of depression and he nearly kills himself, but the reason he doesn’t is because the dog is hungry, so that saves him for a while,” he explains. “The only thing that gets him through it is: ‘I’m going to commit suicide one day, but until then
I’m going to do exactly what I want. I’m going to stop being a doormat and say exactly what I f**king want.’ This newfound thing liberates him.
“It’s dark, but it’s funny and he gets embroiled with people he would never mix with in the underworld. It’s like he lives two lives.”
In the meantime, fans of Gervais will be flocking to see him do what he does best, shooting from the hip on his stand-up tour and sticking two fingers to anybody who’s offended.. Ricky Gervais plays Leeds Arena on 1st December 2017