An­other day at The Of­fice?

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

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.

COURT­NEY CROW­DER

Ex­tras, UKTV, Sun­day, 10.15pm

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