Devil The in­side

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

P2- 3

RICKY Ger­vais is one of the big­gest co­me­di­ans in the world and one of the most di­vi­sive.

When he’s not in trou­ble for hurl­ing acid- tongued barbs at Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties at the Golden Globes, he’s up­set­ting dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cates by re­fer­ring to singer Su­san Boyle as a ‘‘ mong’’, or for ap­par­ently ex­ploit­ing dwarfs for cheap laughs in his new sit­com Life’s

Too Short.

‘‘ It’s al­ways some­one com­plain­ing on some­body else’s be­half,’’ the 50- year- old co­me­dian moans on the phone from his London home.

‘‘ They as­sume some­one will be of­fended. It’s just like at the Golden Globes: ‘ It’s out­ra­geous he in­sulted some­one’. Well, I’ve spo­ken to these peo­ple I told jokes about and they weren’t of­fended.’’ Ger­vais gig­gles. ‘‘ Who are these morally out­raged peo­ple?’’

A year ago Ger­vais was at the cen­tre of a world­wide me­dia storm over the Globes.

The or­gan­is­ers ‘‘ banned’’ him from host­ing again be­cause his hi­lar­i­ous, celebrity ego- skew­er­ing gags had ‘‘ crossed the line’’ – a ban later re­voked when they re­alised the pub­lic­ity and buzz were worth it.

Although he told any jour­nal­ist who’d lis­ten that he ‘‘ didn’t care’’, Ger­vais seemed ea­ger to set the record straight at last month’s Globes.

The first celebrity he wheeled out was Johnny Depp, who re­port­edly had been the most mor­ti­fied. Depp also ap­peared on

Life’s Too Short, send­ing up his fury with a tirade of in­sults at Ger­vais.

‘‘ It was fun writ­ing jokes about my­self to give him to in­sult me,’’ Ger­vais says. ‘‘ So that’s how out­raged Johnny Depp is.’’

Depp might not have been out­raged, but plenty of moral guardians huffed and puffed about Ger­vais’s use of a dwarf as a fig­ure of fun in Life’s Too Short.

In the show, that’s screen­ing now on HBO in the US, War­wick Davis ( Wil­low ) plays him­self as the Ger­vais- like man­ager of a tal­ent agency for dwarfs.

‘‘ Some peo­ple didn’t get it,’’ Ger­vais says. ‘‘ They said, ‘ It’s ex­ploita­tive, you’re laugh­ing at a dwarf fall­ing over’.

‘‘ Well, yeah. He’s a great phys­i­cal co­me­dian. Are you say­ing that lit­tle peo­ple aren’t al­lowed to do slap­stick?’’

ABOVE: Ricky Ger­vais as David Brent in The Of­fice. RIGHT: Ash­ley Jensen, Sa­muel L. Jack­son and Ger­vais in Ex­tras.

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