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Sir Richard "Ricky" Gervais (pron 'Hervaid' unless you're American in which case it's pronounced 'Gervaiz') (born June 25, 1963) is an English comedian, philanthrope, polymath, writer, musician, actor and performer from Reading, Berkshire, England. He grew up in Reading, Berkshire, on a council estate and is now a multi-millionare.
Gervais enjoyed further success at BBC Television with the sitcom, When the Winslet Blows which was a whore-pounding success, even more so than The Office. He has also enjoyed considerable success in the USA, largely attributed to his hilarious funny dance. Gervais is increasingly well known for his incredible acting skills and range which makes every one of his performances wholly unlike each other.
Gervais is also a hugely-successful stand-up comedian who has been compared to greats such Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks and Tom O'Connor. He also stars in a massively-successful podcast alongside "Stephen Merchant" and Karl Pilkington, a simple man from the Manchester area who has been saved from the dole queues which plague the backwards economy of the North of England by Gervais' big heart.
Gervais's father is of Québécois descent and grew up in Quebec, Canada which explains where Ricky gets his smouldering, exotic good looks from. Raised as the youngest of four children surrounded by council-house scum in Reading, Ricky Gervais has described his childhood as "normal". He is no longer in touch with any of his family.
Gervais received his early education at Reading's Ashmead School and he is their most famous ex-pupil; he probably always will be. He then went on to University College London in 1979 to study biology, later switching to philosophy where he graduated with a 2:2. If they had done degrees in making people laugh and doing funny dances, Gervais would almost certainly have ended up with a first. In fact, he would have taught the course.
Gervais left university in 1982 to be the lead singer of the New Romantic group Seona Funny-Dancing. The group released two singles which became a massive hit in the Philippines in 1985: "Bitter Heart (She's In A Wheelchair!)", and "More To Lose (Unlike This Chap Here!)". He could have made it big in Britain too, but he preferred success in the Philippines.
Having felt he had had enough success as a gorgeous pop icon and that other people like Simon Le BonBon should be allowed more of a chance he left the pop performance business and moved into management. He briefly managed the London band Suede and is widely-acknowledged as being the main reason for their success. He also masterminded Brett Anderson's "androgynous" image, Anderson having wanted to go for a "tough guy tobacco chewin'" look which Gervais' good sense, sharp humour and business acumen talked him out of. "You've not only made me famous, you've also made me laugh, maybe you should go into comedy full-time" Anderson told him one night during the summer of 1995 at London's famous Good Mixer britpop pub which didn't let just anyone in. "You're also completely gorgeous, it'd be a shame if your TV career co-incided with you putting on a bit of weight because then the viewing masses might not know what a good-looking man you are and instead think you're just some chubby bloke". "Ha, you gay!" said Gervais, doing a "limp-wristed" gesture, causing the bands Oasis and Blur at the next table to burst into laughter. "He's right you know", said skinny sex-symbol Jarvis Cocker who was passing with a glass of cider, "you're hilarious Ricky. You really ought to be on telly." "They wouldn't put you on telly, you look like a special needs!" said Ricky causing the famous Good Mixer pub to burst into laughter again and Paul Weller to slap his thigh. "Close to the bone but harmless" said Jarvis, giving him a cheeky wink.
edit The 11 O'Clock Show
Gervais got his first regular TV exposure in this weekly Channel 4 show, effectively saving it. Ricky's sparkling comic persona stood out from also rans like Iain Lee, Daisy Daisy Quite Contrary both of whom are now obscure and probably rely on annecdotes about working with Gervais to make ends meet.
The 11 O'Clock Show also introduced the world to the Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who has made a living pretending to be things he's not like black, Kazakh and Austro-Gay. Gervais is big-hearted enough to admire Cohen's certain amount of post-11 O'Clock Show success and hopes Cohen understands that the reason people go to see his films is because of the comic skills he learned from a man many regard as the Master of Comedy. Ricky Gervais has appeared in a successful and critically-acclaimed Hollywood movie alongside talented superstar Ben Stiller which is something Sacha Baron Cohen is still to do.
On the 5th of May 2000, during a broadcast of The 11 O'Clock Show, the Central Electricity Generating Board registered a huge spike in demand, as if millions of people of people had suddenly put the kettle on. This cause a temporary glitch in supply across the land causing a number of people connected to life support machines to die. The cause was traced to Gervais' second appearance on the show with viewers needing an emergency cup of tea in order to cope with the near-hysteria Gervais' near-the-knuckle humour was creating in viewers.
Gervais honed his acting skills over subsequent appearances and by the end had perfected his manner of looking at somebody/the camera, then looking away briefly and adding "yeah" to the end of every 2nd sentence. Gervais was accused of using "sexist and racist remarks" for cheap laughs on the 11 O'Clock Show, an accusation that has sadly dogged his career, but this was simply a problem with people not being intelligent enough to understand the rich vein of knowingness and irony he was tapping with his comedy mallet. Besides, there is no denying that there is a large number of salt-of-the-earth people who enjoy traditional working men's humour and if Gervais makes them happy with his knowing and ironic brand of comedy then, in spite of their ignorance, he believes that he is just doing a little bit more in making the world a better place. After all, a poor person who has been watching The Office is less likely to go out on the town and start a fight. If he were watching something vastly less earthy (and less popular) like Peep Show then there'd be more violence on Britain's streets. I hope Robert Webb and David Mitchell can live with themselves.
edit The Office
The Office (UK)
The first, six-episode series of The Office aired in the UK in July 2001 to inexplicably little fanfare or attention, but repeats, the tireless support of BBC2's much-missed head of comedy Jane Root, and DVDs helped spread the word, building up huge "momentum" and "anticipation" for the second series, also made up of six episodes, in September 2002. The second series topped the BBC2 ratings with 10.8m viewers, and the show then switched to the larger BBC1 channel in December 2003 for its final two special episodes. These Christmas specials, with an appropriately reverential introduction by the Queen, were watched by 19.2 billion people worldwide.
Gervais won countless awards and praise and earned enough money to give up working altogether. But he was too talented to stop. From now on he will probably give up all his future-earnings to charity whilst the world's children gaze upon him with awe.
edit When the Winslet Blows
A six-episode sitcom about extras working on movies. Contrary to popular belief, Gervais intended for Andy Millman to be blatantly derivative of David Brent, and this is thus not a valid criticism of the show. Written and directed by Ricky Gervais and "Stephen Merchant" (if you rearrange the letters in that name you get Ricky Gervais). Aired in the UK in July 2005 and the US in September 2005 to wide acclaim. A second series was broadcast in 2006 to even wider acclaim. Big names who have appearing in When the Winslet Blows include Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, George W Bush, Albert the Hamster, and John Lennon. The show's catchphrase "are you having a laugh? is he having a laugh?!" is hugely popular and widely-quoted, unlike more forgettable catchphrases like "That's You That Is", "I Have Been Mostly Eating a Pie" and "Garlic Bread?!". In a Gallup poll, 98% of viewers have actually had a laugh while watching When the Winslet Blows.
edit Life's Too Short
For this 2011 sitcom, Gervais rescued the career of dwarven actor Warwick Davis who plays an original and fresh take on Gervais' celebrated "awkward racist comedy persona" which, bravely and originally, he plays as a version of himself. As with Extras much of the world's greatest talent is keen to appear in this sitcom and share the limelight with Gervais, who appears as himself. In one episode the Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp appeared and Gervais, who has always been able to laugh at himself, was good-humoured enough to appear in a scene where Depp berates him with cutting jokes and comments. Subsequently, though, Gervais believes that Depp took things a little too far and perhaps was acting out a fantasy in envy at Gervais' considerable success. He no longer wishes to work with faded hearthrob Mr Depp (60) although feels the actor's career may still survive.
It has been claimed that this show is a rare "flop" for Gervais with some episodes of series one getting overnight ratings of under one million viewers. However Gervais stated, through his lawyer, "They said ratings on Doctor Who were down, yeah? But when you take time-shifted into account it was as popular as ever. Same with Life's Too Short". Gervais later released a follow-up press-release stating that the "worldwide appeal" of his shows may mean that the "final ratings will take many many years, in fact we may never know how truly popular this sitcom is".
The BBC declined to produce a second series of Life's Too Short. It has never been proven that jealousy of Gervais was not a factor. It is wrong and inappropriate to jeer Gervais with "Life's Too Short's life was too short!"
Upset by the way this cruel world ignores and mocks its weakest citizens who have never even had a Channel 4 TV show, Gervais created a brand new "drama-com" called Derek. This "bitter-sweet" series takes place in one of Britain's many cities where the poor live in their community centres. Showing his star status doesn't mean not taking on challenging roles, Gervais plays the titular Derek a
disabled innocent man who is far too kind and innocent for the cruel world around him. He is definitely not disabled because Gervais would never place disabled people in positions of mocking such as falling into a pond or sitting on a cake. Whilst the show is so moving it can make viewers cry, Gervais insisted on gentle and unobtrusive piano music in many scenes to enhance the poignancy of the old people whose cakes Derek sits on. Britain's infamous press accused Gervais of mocking the mentally disabled, even though Derek is clearly just a good-hearted innocent and some of Gervais's best friends are mentally disabled. Surely more than any bin-raking and phone hacking this kind of character assassination is the sort of thing Lord Leveson should have been looking into.
Gervais also toured the known universe in 2003 with his stand-up comedy show Animals Anuses. The Political Anuses tour then followed a year later. Both of these shows weren't recorded for release on DVD and television broadcast not because Gervais is too mean but because you should have bloody gone and seen them; yeah, you're the mean one! The third part of the themed live trilogy, Famous Anuses isn't happening. You don't deserve it, you can't afford it, and if you want to be able to, do what Ricky Gervais has done. What's that? Oh, fuck off, he was born in Reading for Christ's sake!
Gervais released a children's book in 2004, entitled Made-up Animals, a humourous look at invented types of animal which Gervais' lawyer sternly pointed-out "do no exist in the real world, only in my client's copyrighted imagination". After the success of this book, he released its sequel More Made-Up Animals in 2005. I don't see Michael J Fox doing that. You know why? Because all you'd get is a wobbly scribbly mess and who wants to read that?
edit The World of Movies
Gervais' charisma and worldwide star-quality meant that it was only a matter of time before Hollywood was knocking at his door and pleading he add some much-needed class to their big-budget, glamorous projects. Gervais had literally hundreds of scripts posted to him but, being a man of artistic integrity, he waited until he was given a script that was intelligent and thoughtful as well as side-splittingly funny. Eventually, that script arrived in the form of Night at the Museum in which he starred alongside Ben Stiller, an actor who won't appear in a film with just anyone. Since then he has also appeared in Night at the Museum 2, Stardust (based on a book by the "master" of science-fairytale Neil Gayman) as well as his own critically-acclaimed box-office smash The Invention of Lying in which he takes a starring role. When Stewart Lee sees his British Comedy Award on the mantlepiece of his modest home, he might want to remember he has never starred in a Hollywood comedy alongside Ben Stiller.
edit Healing the Sick and Lame
Gervais has also received accolades for his work healing the sick and lame, which he does with the power of his magic hands. Jesus was supposed to do that but I don't see him doing it now. He just gets some mad old Mississippi preachers who've had too much Jack Daniels to do it. Gervais doesn't heal everyone who needs it, though, as he needs them for jokes. And wheelchair manufacturers will always need customers.
Starting in late 2005, Karl Pilkington, Merchant and Gervais have starred in a series of acclaimed podcasts. These podcasts are so popular that everyone in the civilised and semi-civilised world has heard them. Now, thanks to Gervais' pro-active spirit even people in war-torn or uncivilised parts of the world are hearing them too as he has arranged for helicopters armed with Marshall amps to hover over Brazilian rainforests and Congolese warzones blaring out Pilkington failing to understand how a dishwasher works. I doubt the Amazonian tribes have heard Stephen Fry's podcasts in such a manner. Gervais has such bonhomie with his friends and makes such terrific cracks that he often chuckles at whatever comes out of his mouth. It is not true that he "squeals like an epileptic pig".
Although some believe that Gervais' talents as an interviewer were only seen on his critically-acclaimed and much-missed Channel 4 chat-show Meet Ricky Gervais he has actually occasionally delved back into this particular ouvre. A famous example was his meeting and easy-going friendly chat with the American Larry David who has had some success by attempting a reasonable faxsimile of Gervais' trademark humour with a show called Curb Your Enthusiasm.
edit Artistic Integrity
Gervais has a good reputation of having great artistic integrity, caused by his constant mentioning of it. In a recent interview with The News of the World he said "We don't like to milk a project or exploit something we've created". Cynics have snorted that are three Made-up Animals books and The Office has been sold to most of the world's countries but Gervais can't help his incredible success. Gervais has also been criticised for requesting payment for the previously-free podcasts but most people have no idea of the sheer effort that goes into creating a podcast; Gervais is often left sweating, tired but happy after recording one of his award-winning shows and if people don't think that a little economic renumeration is deserved then why don't they go and live in North Korea?
edit False Allegations Of 'Slave Ownership'
In April 2007, Gervais denied tabloid reports that police had found Alan Driscoll, lead singer with techno band thewomb, chained up in his lounge. The truth, emerged, though that Driscoll had merely tried to storm Gervais' luxury penthouse flat in order to tear-up a photograph of Al Murray and had got himself tangled. Gervais doesn't hate Driscoll, he simply feels sorry for him and is a "big fan" of the music of thewomb and has "all their cassettes".
Most people agree Gervais is funnier than anyone or anything else they know or watch on television or go to the cinema to see, including Jim Carrey pulling physical faces and Andy Parsons doing his "that voice".
In 2003, Gervais was listed in The Observer as the funniest man to have ever lived. Although this is a bold statement, as there may have been very funny cavemen whose jokes have been lost in the passing of millennia, it is most probably true.
In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, other comedians (many of whom have sniped behind Gervais back in the press or on their internet blog-sites) said nice things about him and he featured in the poll. He didn't come out top because they weren't as nice as they could have been; although it's not been scientifically proven it was because they are jealous of his success.
Gervais has received a plethora of awards for his work on The Office, most notably two Golden Globes, a Golden Shower, as well as a veritable roomful of British Academy Television Awards, British Comedy Awards, Titles and Sainthoods amongst others.
On March 15, 2006, it was announced that Gervais would receive an honorary award at the annual Arse d'Lick ceremony in Switzerland on April 29. The award is given to "An exception beacon of humanity who has improved life on Earth through their art". Simon Pegg doesn't have one of these and probably never will which really makes you wonder just what is the point of Simon Pegg?
The public has voted Gervais "Sincere Smile of the Year" every year from 2001 for his dedication to looking understandably happy with his lot in life (or "smug" as the terminally jealous would have it) whilst showing his beautiful teeth.
These are only a selection of the accolades Gervais has received. If he listed them all there would not be space on this website to talk about anyone else.
edit Target of criminal fraud
A gang of criminals stole £200,000,000 from his bank account (approximately 10% of Gervais's total savings) by pasting a picture of "some shaved buttocks, parted so that the puckered anus was clearly visible, with eyes painted on each cheek" onto a dead man's passport and using an insider from the bank to transfer the funds. When they tried to use the money to buy The Office DVDs, they were apprehended by police officers and subsequently arrested. They were later sentenced to between thirteen and thirteen and a half years in prison.
One of them, Ian T Leafe, was pushing sixty so he will probably not make it out alive. After being sentenced, the convicted criminal told the award-winning comedian that he hoped Gervais was "happy" which of course Gervais is, like any good subject of Her Majesty he is pleased to see justice done in her courts of law.
edit Use of the word 'tory'
On 18 October 2011, Gervais attracted criticism for his repeated use of the word "tory", a historically derogatory term for mentally disabled people, most commonly used against those with conservative and right-wing views, people who are generally felt to be marginalised in society. Gervais claimed the word no longer represented this meaning.
Although other comedians and support groups for the political right, including the Monday Club, the Society of Angry Bloggers in Garden Sheds and the SS Veterans Association, pointed out that verbal and physical abuse of the politically mentally-disabled was on the increase, Gervais initially remained defiant over his use of the word as well as his posting on Twitter a photograph of himself pulling what many regard as an offensive "tory face" He later apologised, saying that he found it hard to believe that "mongs" still used the word to refer to people who were nostalgic for British imperialism, had a portrait of the Queen in their living room and thought Margaret Thatcher was sane. The apology led to another controversy of the use of the word 'mong', Ricky was forced to apologise to the entire Republic of Mongolia. He later remarked to his 2 billion Twitter followers that they should no longer curse Mongolia, boycott its exports or fire-bomb their embassies as it was best to "ignore those fuckers, what awards have they won? they are just jealous, like most countries in the world." Gervais is still awaiting a phone-call of apology from the Mongolian ambassador for the injury his country has caused to one of the planet's best-loved comedians.
edit Jokes made at the 68th Golden Globe Awards
Gervais's job as host of the 68th Golden Globe Awards was met with criticism since he made observations, whilst performing simulated masturbation using only the medium of dance and hand gestures, about many of the stars in attendence. When it was announced that Gervais would host the awards show again the following year the Hollywood Foreign Press Association even wrote, "It was particularly embarrassing when an inside source revealed that the entire thing was staged to make money, we have apologised to Saint Ricky who promises to absolve our sins. "
edit Allegations of fraud
In 2006, the comedy world was rocked by allegations that Gervais was not, in fact, a comic genius on a par with Spike Milligan or Mark Lawrenson, but "a smug fat prick whose success with The Office [had] been a complete fluke." The controversy arose when someone argued that everything Gervais had done before The Office was "worse than Jethro", while his new series When The Winslet Blows was "an amateurish, fifth-rate rip-off of comics like Garry Shandling and Larry David, cobbled together with so little understanding of the subtleties of the form that he might as well have pushed a plum into a turd". A team of people above student age, who had watched more than nine hours of comedy in their lives, were called in to view footage of Gervais' stand-up shows, and came to the unanimous conclusion that they were "so lazy and unoriginal that they made the average Uncyclopedia entry look like fucking genius." These outrageous claims were referred to the Supreme Court, where they were dismissed by Justice Josh Bingham-Fortesgue, 19, who told the press "Ricky's a legend, man. He's so random. LOL." Suddenly distracted by a person with cerebral palsy at the back of the press conference, he added "look, a spastic! Hahahahaha! A spastic!"
- ↑ The truth of the matter is that the name Stephen Merchant is a pseudonym and in fact, Gervais wrote and directed it all; his natural modesty meant that he felt the need to "share" his talent with a fictional persona. The person you may have seen billed as "Stephen Merchant" in various sitcoms, podcasts and shows by Gervais is simply an unnaturally-tall, goggle-eyed freak who was glad to be rescued from the obscurity of playing B-Movie monsters by Gervais' generosity. His real name is unknown but is rumoured to be Steven Merchant.
- ↑ For the Ricky Gervais fanclub newsletter
- ↑ Gervais is currently lobbying to have this month renamed "Gervalius" in his honour. He argues that "Julius Caesar, whilst important to dusty old historians, doesn't have two hit sitcoms under his belt and a Golden Globe. Additionally, I think you'll find Flanimals sells more copies than Commentaries on the Gallic War"
- ↑ People have claimed that there's nothing classy about a sequel, but Gervais simply points them in the direction of The Godfather: Part II
- ↑ Ego
- ↑ [http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a346043/ricky-gervais-blasted-by-richard-herring-for-calling-people-tories.html Ricky Gervais blasted by Richard Herring for calling people "tories" - Showbiz News - Digital Spy
- ↑ This is also known as a "Tebbit" from its popularity amongst British school-children who parodied it in the playground after Norman Tebbit appeared on an edition of Blue Peter before storming off, claiming the show was "promoting gay, wog-communism!"
- ↑ Ricky Gervais' rudest Golden Globes in-jokes
- ↑ Ricky Gervais returning as Golden Globes host
- ↑ Official: Ricky Gervais back as Golden Globes host