NB: This is the third part of a larger feature – to start from the beginning click here.
Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator of The Office and Extras, is a very funny guy – a description he’d no doubt agree with.
But fame found the 47 year-old late in life. An early stint in the 80s as one half of pop duo Seona Dancing – by his own admission a duo more than slightly influenced by David Bowie — didn’t catapult the Reading-born Gervais to international success. Instead it was years later, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Office, a faux-documentary about life in a Slough paper merchant’s, that Gervais truly found fame. The show became one of the country’s most successful sitcoms and set Gervais up as one of comedy’s icons.
His career has gone from strength to strength ever since. With his writing partner Stephen Merchant and radio producer Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show served London station XFM well for years before spinning off into the most successful podcast of all time. With Merchant he went on to write Extras, leveraging all the good will he’d earned with The Office to pepper a sitcom about life as a Supporting Artiste with cameos from the likes of Kate Winslet, Samuel L. Jackson and Orlando Bloom.
Hollywood soon beckoned, and Gervais’ star began to ascend Stateside with cameos in the likes of Night at the Museum, For Your Consideration and Stardust. This year it’s his turn to dominate, with the recently-released comedy Ghost Town marking his first romantic lead. He’ll follow it next year with This Side of the Truth, which he’s written and directed with Matthew Robinson. The star-studded comedy is set in a world in which the human race hasn’t evolved the gene to lie until a writer discovers he’s different.
Proving his talents operated just as comfortably in the live arena, Gervais has performed three stand-up shows, Animals, Politics and Fame, which have had respective DVD releases. A new show for the US will be released there shortly.
As Gervais works to finish This Side of the Truth and begins work on his next project — a new British comedy with Stephen Merchant — he joins RT to accept his Certified Fresh award for Ghost Town and discuss his career past, present and future. This is the latest chapter in our Dinner and the Movies series of extended interviews, which began with Kevin Smith and continued with Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro.
The interview, presented in 15 parts which we’ll release in 5 chapters every day this week, can be watched back-to-back for a full conversational experience or dipped in and out of at will. Start from the beginning here.
– Part 1 – On being Certified Fresh and the worth of reviews.
– Part 2 – On this year’s Emmys — highlights and lowlights.
– Part 3 – On receiving the RT award and the public reception of Ghost Town.
– Part 4 – On redemption as a key theme and comedy plus.
– Part 5 – On how annoyance informs the podcast.
– Part 6 – On the brilliance of Karl Pilkington.
– Part 7 – On a return to the podcast and a possible live run.
– Part 8 – On going back to Extras.
– Part 9 – On taking Andy Millman and company to America.
– Part 10 – On why it’s easy to be ambitious.
– Part 11 – On what to expect from This Side of the Truth.
– Part 12 – On Karl’s appearance in the film and his take on evolution.
In Today’s Chapter:
– Part 13 – On Karl becoming a Rotten Tomatoes film critic.
– Part 14 – On The Man from the Pru and a TV spin-off for the film.
– Part 15 – On Simon Pegg, British comedy and dealing with press over-exaggeration.
Join us again tomorrow as Gervais discusses the ease of ambition, what to expect from This Side of the Truth and Karl’s abortive appearence in the film. But for now, continue onto Part 13.
Ricky Gervais’ home on the web is rickygervais.com
Could Karl soon be reviewing films for RT? We certainly hope so — Ricky and RT strike a deal.
Gervais will reteam with Stephen Merchant on The Man from the Pru — he shares his idea for a TV spinoff exclusively with RT.
Simon Pegg recently made some comments that started an all-out war with Gervais. Except it didn’t. Ricky laughs about the “feud,” talks about British comedy and ponders press over-exaggeration.