The Ricky Gervais Show

Normally I like to explore a film or television show on my blog but when it comes to The Ricky Gervais Show I don’t really know what to say. It’s an animated version of the podcast featuring Gervais (featured on HBO in the United States), his co-writer on The Office and Extras Stephen Merchant, and Gervais’ original producer on XFM, Karl Pilkington. Realizing the unintentional comedic genius they found, Gervais and Merchant incorporated Pilkington into the show and its pure comic gold. He’s an idiot, but he really isn’t; he’s a genius but he’s also a moron. On his website, Gervais claims:

Karl is one of the smartest people I know. He isn’t what you’d call academic. He hasn’t had a great formal education. But he is smart in other ways. He’s what you’d call streetwise I suppose. He has a great emotional intelligence too.

Gervais also states about Pilkington:

Karl sees the world differently to most people. He is truly an original thinker. Some things he says are the most stupid things I’ve ever heard. But then other things blow my mind with their originality and genius. He’s not mad. He’s not saying things for effect. He’s different.

There are times when watching the series, or listening to the podcast, that I don’t disagree with Karl, finding his insights clever and ethically sound; then again, there are other times I laugh at how insipid he is. Regardless, The Ricky Gervais Show is probably the funniest thing on television at the moment. I personally find it funnier than The Office (both the U.K. and U.S. versions) and Extras. It’s definitely better than Ghost Town or The Invention of Lying, both of which are pretty terrible. It’s a shame too since Gervais is one of the most talented comedy writers of all time, only possibly surpassed by Larry David and Woody Allen.

Here are some clips from The Ricky Gervais Show. I scoured Youtube for my favorites and there are four below.

8 responses to “The Ricky Gervais Show

  1. Encrazed Crafts

    Was Rick conceived in France? I do not understand his high-horse mentality when, as you stated, his movies and tv shows are terrible. I admit I laughed more at this than those, but this is like the European version of Jackass or Viva la Bam. Always picking on the same guy (or guys, in Jackass’ comparison) and the same people always laugh it up on the giving end. In Bam’s case the only reason his family took it was for (I can only hope) they were getting paid well for the antics they were involved in. This may be less violent, but it is still demeaning. I hope that guy is living well, blissfully or otherwise, because of it.

    That said, I really enjoyed his brain movie idea. It makes far more sense than crap currently on the market, and if you would stop and examine any story every five seconds in, they would fall apart as well. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example:

    “…So he’s down on his luck, the last ticket–”
    “Last *golden* ticket.”
    “Yeah, golden ticket, last one of them was taken.”
    “Sounds like an uplifting story so far.”
    “I’d pay to see it.”
    “But then he–”
    “Jumps in front of a truck?”
    [cackling laughter]
    “No, no he buys some chocolate and…”
    “Turns out he is a diabetic! He eats himself into a chocolate-laced delirium and falls into a coma.”
    “But his brain is only half dead.”
    “That’s right! Maybe he can cut out a bit of it and get melded with a toblerone!”
    “—but then he finds a golden ticket himself.”
    “Wait, what?”
    “He finds a ticket.”
    “What do you mean he–someone else already did!”
    “No they didn’t.”
    “But you just said, what are there six tickets?”
    “No, five.”
    “He said there were five.”
    “Yes, but he just said the kid found a sixth.”
    “The one bloke was lying.”
    “The bloke.”
    “What bloke?”
    “That one.”
    “What bloke was lying?!”
    “The one who got the 5th ticket. He didn’t.”
    “The 5th ticket bloke was lying.”
    “And where did he find this ticket, the kid?”
    “At the store when he got some chocolate.”
    “Before he went into the coma.”

    He’s not as dumb as they make him out to be, but boy would they be raking in the cash if they got a nickel every time they implied it. It’s like every little thing the guy says was Peewee’s Secret Word of the day. Then again, if he thinks what this guy says is really that funny, it is no wonder his comedies are such epic failures. His ‘comedy’ is far too aggressive; he needs to learn to make jokes without having to degrade others or himself for the sake of a punch-line.

    • Just a friendly mention, in case you’re unaware, the European version of Jackass or Viva la Bam is very much – Dirty Sanchez. If you’re amused by that sort of thing [who isn’t?] they’re well worth checking out. Sanchez are essentially Jackass from Wales. I don’t know whether, or if so how big they are over in the States but their brand of self-harm is easily enough to rival Jackass at their peak. If the stunts don’t tickle you, the accents surely will.

  2. I like Gervais’ shows but I think his films are garbage, reaching out to a mainstream audience by watering down the stories. I do agree that Pilkington isn’t entirely stupid, and actually comes up with some very insightful things sometimes, but he does have a tendency to say some asinine things every minute or two. I’ve been listening to the podcasts for a while now and they’re excellent. The television series is incredible too, especially since the animation accompanying the discussions is very funny. I will admit the podcasts, and therefore the series, wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for Pilkington and it does question Gervais’ credibility. Then again, his first stand-up special was absolutely hilarious (I haven’t seen the second one yet but I’m sure it’s pretty good).

    So far I’ve heard two “brain” movie ideas from Pilkington: the first is with Clive Warren and the other is a Tom Cruise movie where a failed actor’s brain ends up in Cruise’s body. I think he’s onto a good concept with these pitches but they need work. Inadvertently he’s coming up with a story akin to Phillip K. Dick’s work – a point Gervais doesn’t bring up once – and with a little work they could work.

    Also, Gervais’ work is generally based on disparaging others but it seems to work, at least for me. I thought his cracks at the Golden Globes were excellent, especially since Hollywood’s elite are a little up their own asses and he brought them down a notch. However, there are other comedians much funnier – Woody Allen, Larry David, Bill Hicks, David Cross (at least until recently) – than Gervais and these people usually work by being both deprecating to themselves and others. Gervais only does this with his fictional characters, who he rakes over the coals in both The Office and Extras. Personally, I think Merchant is more arrogant than Gervais but Merchant is also a college graduate (I forget from where) whereas I’m not sure about Gervais.

    • Encrazed Crafts

      Haha, mentally I was calling Merchant “Yes Man” by the second clip you posted so you may be right. It all reeked of Howard Stern, but more degrading. You got The Ego, the Yes Man, and the poor sap they both lambast the whole way though. I’d probably enjoy the clips more if I saw the whole show once or twice to loosen me up first, but just based on clips alone that was pretty intense. And from there I saw a clip of their live action show where the two had Karl violently kidnapped by guys pretending to be Al Qaeda. Lovely.

      Might be a situation similar to the Misses with Faulty Towers. Me and my family think it is for the most part hilarious, (as we’ve seen the like 20 total episodes numerous times by now) but she could not get into the show more than five minutes before she declared the main character an ass and walked away to play WoW.

  3. I don’t know whether you’ve been treated to the pleasures of An Idiot Abroad in America, but the show takes the all the humour of Ricky et al and amps it up, throwing in a host of hilarious situations and global-personal tragedies for Karl. It can appear ridiculous and even somewhat offensive after the trailers but it truly is comedy genius. With the situations Karl is forced to it becomes genuinely hard not to feel sorry for the guy, and yet within sentences you’ll be ridiculing his ignorance. Before again being captivated by his world views.

    Pilkington truly is a strange character. He’s become somewhat of a hero over in the UK since we learnt of his bizarre genius. His quotes range from the inanely insipid to a clever, twisted logic that I find difficult to disagree with.

    In the final episode he states that nobody should make plans. Everything should be spontaneous because it’s impossible to confirm his attendance at an event, as he doesn’t know how he’ll feel, what his mood will be come that particular day. Of course Ricky and Stephen rip apart his comments but I genuinely agree with Karl. It irks me being asked if I want to get drunk a month in advance…

    I agree with some of the previous comments regarding Gervais, his films are poor. For the longest time I didn’t like his brand of comedy at all, but I was won over. His live shows – Animals, Politics, Fame and Science are all very good. I also highly recommend his book – Flanimals, but I won’t describe it in any form. It’s more amusing to simply stumble upon its nonsensicalness.

    Here’s an amalgamation of Karl’s Chinese adventures.

  4. I’ve only seen two episodes of An Idiot Abroad and I was quite impressed. I totally believe Karl is a bit dim at times but, like you said, capable of very intelligent (albeit odd) observations. I think Merchant does act as Gervais’ “yes man,” at times but I don’t discredit his intelligence or the quality writing he’s a part of with Extras and The Office. Personally, I could watch The Ricky Gervais Show every day and not get bored (well, eventually I probably would) and it’s a shame there’s only a limited amount of podcasts to pick from for the animated series.

    I’ve never seen Faulty Towers but I’ve always heard good stuff. It’s one of those shows I’ve just missed out on but eventually want to watch. =)

  5. Hello!
    Just FYI. A 3rd series of The Ricky Gervais Show has been recommissioned, and is rumoured to use the remaining material from the podcasts. Ricky has said that they’d happily make more podcasts for a 4th series! Good news, eh?

  6. That is excellent news. I was curious how they’d make the show last longer than around two seasons but I’d watch this show for the rest of my life if they kept making new ones. Karl Pilkington is probably the funniest man I’ve come across in years. I haven’t watched the episode from Friday yet but I’m going to tonight. Hot shit! =)

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