Another day at The Office?
RICKY Gervais, star of Extras and The Office, is dead serious about comedy. ‘‘ I do this because I can’t not do it,’’ Gervais, 49, says from Chicago where he’s filming a comedy special for the HBO network.
Gervais fans can get their fix with Extras episodes on Foxtel’s UKTV. The hope is that a deal will soon be stitched for the Chicago special, which features his no-limits comedy.
Topics such as over-eating, religion and gay animals are fair game. Your comedy touches on topics that people don’t normally think are funny — is that something you do on purpose? Yes. in my stand-up I deal with topics like the Holocaust, paedophilia and bestiality. These are not mainstream topics for comedy, but I crave being cult. There are so many comedians doing observational comedy, but they’ve taken out the comedy and it’s just observations. I always think, ‘‘Why are you doing this?’’ The audience can do that for themselves, but that is part of their appeal. They are for the people who see comedy once a year and it’s not threatening and it’s very broad and obvious. I don’t do that. I think the job of a comedian is to make people laugh, but also challenge them to laugh at things they didn’t know they could until now. You have an English aspect to your comedy. Do you worry about that translating in America? No. I believe that outside the language barrier people are the same. In England and America there is both good and bad, clever and dumb comedy. There are different subjects and that’s it. This is why The Office is shown in 90 countries. On the face of it, the show looked very parochial and English, but it wasn’t. It was just boy meets girl, having a decent job of work and making a difference. That is the same everywhere. With the announcement Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) will be leaving the American version of The Office, is there a chance (your British character) David Brent will cross the pond? Well, you would think you would want to know, but it would spoil your enjoyment. It is like kids when they say, ‘‘What Christmas present have you got me?’’ You have to say, ‘‘Wait and see.’’ I amgiving nothing away.
Extras, UKTV, Sunday, 10.15pm