By Your Call Publishing | ,

Celebrity Interview - June/July 23

Still Having A Laugh

He’s the celebrity that celebrities avoid, and one of our finest exports.

Many regard Ricky Gervais as national treasure; a select few consider him a national disgrace. Either way, it's hard to avoid the magnitude of the man. In his typical black t-shirt and jeans uniform, the actor, stand-up comedian, writer, producer and director is a melange of passionate sentiment, delivering fix-eyed intensity followed by a howling hyena cackle.
A one-time aspiring singer and band manager (he looked after indie outfit, Suede, back in their earliest incarnation), Ricky flitted around the bounds of entertainment with guest spots on Channel 4's The Eleven O’Clock Show before landing pay dirt with self-scripted mockumentary series The Office.

An overnight household name, the gritty comedy launched an unstoppable career.

Follow-up series Extras, parodying the movie industry, was another smash hit, featuring A-list contributions from Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart and Samuel L. Jackson.

It was the perfect introduction into Hollywood, and he went on to star in a series of big budget comedies - Sky Kids, Ghost Town, Night At The Museum, The Invention of Lying and The Muppets. Some topped the box office, others crashed and burned badly, yet all of them satisfied in Gervais a yearning for originality and creativity, and that flame has never lessened in its intensity, even in returning to small screen projects such as Life’s Too Short, Derek, Special Correspondents and the recent After Life, which garnered rave reviews.

No matter what he takes on – his Netflix project SuperNature last year brought him back to the brilliant stand-up he is renowned for – Gervais, who lives with long-term partner Jane Fallon, is a bastion for freedom of speech and common sense. He has unapologetic honesty that permeates every conversation, whether discussing the “scourge” of religion, or admiring the majesty of the natural world, or calling out nationalities, races, genders or persuasions, Gervais takes offence at people being offended.

“It’s a disease that’s getting worse,” he says. “It’s not healthy and it’s not even real. Most of the people who claim to have taken offence by a statement someone makes on Twitter are actually some of the most offensive people I have ever encountered,” he laughs.

As for where 2023 will take this creative powder keg. “As always, I have a few things on the go. I’ve had time to sit back and raid all those little nuggets of ideas that have been scattered in the back of my mind for too long. Some are pretty good and deserve fleshing out a bit, others are rubbish.

“The challenge is always to keep trying, keep things original, keep the creative processes rolling, and stay ever so slightly controversial!”