One of life’s little delights is discovering that the artist whose work you admire is also a great human being. So often it happens the other way. I’m looking at you, Louis ck. In my preferred genre of comedy, the person who stands out is Ricky Gervais. Do you remember the viral video about the honey badger? “Honey badger don’t give a shit!” That’s Ricky. He doesn’t care what you think of him so he speaks his mind. And his mind is full of reasonable, thoughtful and caring ideas liberally peppered with some of the darkest, most delicious humour ever uttered.
His best known show, The Office, is my least favourite among his body of work. However, I loved Life on the Road, the post-Office film about David Brent’s self-financed rock tour. Ricky’s stand-up specials are so good, you can watch them several times. His latest, Humanity, is delightfully dark and direct. When he punts his imaginary baby…well, you have to see it. I loved Extras and bought his movie, The Invention of Lying, the second it came out.
He’s a notorious atheist who’s constantly pestered about theology and gives as good as he gets. In a radio interview I asked London priest, Father Kevin George, why he followed and even retweeted Ricky Gervais on Twitter. “He’s hilarious!” I agreed and responded, “But he’s an atheist!” Said Kevin, “Yes, and his comments just make my faith even stronger.” (Kevin George is another wonderful human being who lives up to his reputation.)
Gervais loves to mock-brag (or is it real brag?) about his wealth, but he’s also ridiculously generous.
He not only gives millions to animal rescue groups, he makes them a focal point of his tweets to more than 13-million followers. In Humanity he tells the story of tweeting a video about tortured dogs and how a woman tweeted back an admonishment for his use of a curse word. The message: people can be such idiots, and that’s the truth.
His longtime girlfriend Jane is the butt of many of his Twitter jokes.
And then there are the ubiquitous bath and/or belly pics.
We live a world of talking-head, vacuous actors (and Kardashians – is there a word stronger than vacuous?). Personally, I like a little brain food with my entertainment. Saving animals, challenging pervasive beliefs about life’s fundamental questions and laughing until I almost pee – that works for me. Good night, Ricky. Good night, Ollie.