Today's Evil Beet Gossip

‘The Office’ Turns 10; Meanwhile, Ricky Gervais Is Writing “Atheist” Sitcom

Ricky Gervais in... Ray-Bans? on January 16, 2011When you consider that his television career is only 12 years old, Ricky Gervais is incredibly prolific. Now the comedian is set to begin work on a spanking new television series. And the premise? Atheism!! No surprise there—if there’s one thing Ricky Gervais can’t get enough of, it’s telling people he’s an atheist.

Titled Afterlife, the new series will follow an atheist who dies and goes to heaven. Maybe it’ll be kind of like a bleak Touched by an Angel for the Richard Dawkins set, with Stephen Merchant playing Roma Downey (I wish!). But here’s the really exciting part: Gervais is collaborating on the show with writer and former executive producer of Dexter, Clyde Phillips. They’re writing the pilot right now. Like, they might literally be sitting at a desk together right now.

Ricky Gervais can be insufferable—in fact, I’d call his schtick “affably irritating”—but it helps that he’s witty. And if there’s one thing Gervais likes to talk about besides atheism, it’s his old TV show The Office (UK).

HuffPo published a column by Gervais yesterday, nearly in time for The Office‘s 10th birthday, titled “Why David Brent Is a Good Guy”. It’s a wistful tribute to Wernham Hogg’s cast of awkward weirdos, each character a composite of people Gervais met during his own eight years in an office:

My English teacher told me, “Always write about what you know.” Possibly the best advice I’ve ever had. Or at least the best advice I’ve ever taken.

Gervais has deeply considered the motivations for each of his characters, but he understands none better than The Office‘s lead dope, the blithely hapless David Brent:

David Brent doesn’t represent evil, or nastiness or even ignorance. He’s just a little out of place. Out of time. His worst crime is that he confused respect with popularity. He wanted both but concentrated on the wrong one. He didn’t really know what people wanted of him. He shouldn’t really have worried about that at all. He just tried a little too hard. He wasn’t a bad man. In fact he was quite a nice man and I have a real affection for him.

I like all my characters I play or create, to be honest. I don’t think you should ever feel above the role or sneery towards them. Comedy is above all about empathy in my opinion and I think as an actor, the more you empathize with a character, the more engaging he will be to an audience.

According to The Sun, The Office was initially panned by critics, with its first season having the “lowest BBC focus group score ever.” (It’s worth noting that the well-loved U.S. remake experienced a similar trajectory of success.)

The Office has also been remade in Germany, France, Chile, Israel, and Quebec.

24 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I hope Satan (and I’m not talking Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks) ass fucks him til his dog ass teeth break off from from the pounding from Old Scratch’s monster devil dick. Hell train and Jenn you are perilously close to the platform by promoting this mongrel pile of shit.

  • I really enjoy Ricky Gervais’ stand-up, and I think that one of the funniest things on the planet is “The Ricky Gervais Show,” but that’s less because of Ricky or Stephen Merchant and has a lot more to do with an anomalous individual named Karl Pilkington.

    Admittedly, his die-hard stance on a few things irks me — in the atheism department, in much the same way as I get a bit bothered if some peer mentions Jesus a bit too often or if a New Age lady starts talking about angels. BUT that is beside the point. I hope that this show will be hilarious — and, hopefully, not as awkward as The Office, because in order to watch The Office, I basically need an IV drip of benzodiazepines.


  • Well evilbeetdouche, what a very Christian (?) thing to say. His stance on atheism doesn’t bother me, however, sometimes he makes it seem as if you must be an idiot for NOT being an atheist. I mean, what’s the big deal, and why be so militant about it? I don’t understand that anymore than I do the Kirk Camerons of the world who make fun or patronize those who don’t see eye to eye with him.

    • Blah, I completely agree with you. But please do not feed the trolls. Especially that one.

      Or, if you do, do so with the intent of increasing the site’s hits and ad revenue. ^_^

    • Well, when someone tells me there is an invisible being that can’t be proved but is there, or that a woman got pregnant from a dove, or that there is something called “intelligent design”… Yes, I sneer and yes I believe it is a sign of low intelligence, or at least, of a lack of critical thinking.

      • I really look forward to reading ‘The Believing Brain.’ From what I’ve read, it describes how all of us—people of all stripes, creeds, politics, whatever—settle into a belief system early. Then we use new information only to reinforce our beliefs, discounting any evidence that we can’t work into our own value systems, because we generally lack the ability to constantly reevaluate new information. Instead, we all look for easy patterns. We all do it. Hell, statistics do it. And you know what they say about statistics.

        I bring this up because, while oh my god do I totally feel you, I really do my best to not religion- or atheist-snark, because we’re all fundamentally pretty irrational. It’s neurological! What I’m saying is, I feel bad for my mom. (I’m also planning to read ‘Fringe-ology,’ which talks about the same stuff from a less skeptical vantage. Objectivity!)


      • Let’s talk about critical thinking.
        So, you think that everything you’ve ever felt, ever experienced at the sensory and tactile level – the taste of ice cream, the sting of a bee, your mother’s love – is all the result of a gigantic cosmic fart?
        Good luck with that. Design a replica of the human brain with organics.

      • ok, so now I’M going to generalise like you: ALL spanish residents must be fuckin morons solely based on the idiotic thoughts of some twat named mireeee.

        you think it’s a sign of low intelligence for someone to have faith in something you don’t? that’s about the most intolerant, bigoted thing i’ve ever heard.

        you probably sneer at gays and blacks too, since you’re so superior dont you?

    • Ricky is Satan incarnate, blah is a sheeple, Simon Juggears is on dope and mireee is a Spaintard. Explains it all. /thread.

  • Athiests have a need to be ‘right’…hence the insistance that Christians are low on intelligence. Christians are supposed to win souls – it’s what they are called to do…annoying or not. Why are athiests so eager to get their word out? To ‘save’ us Christians from our supposed stupidity? Please. If you want to educate me on something, show me how to play the stock market. Oh, and Gervais is lame.

    • Atheist beliefs are an expression of a finite mind incapable of comprehension outside the self.
      “I can’t see a supreme being therefore there isn’t one.” Shallow and perverse.
      Allowing for the wonder of the universe and that man is a creation rather than an accident is evidence of a mind of infinite thought and learning.
      The atheist’s belief that science is an end, rather than a means, and gift from God, is evidence of an inchoate mind.

  • another problem with atheists is that they don’t want to celebrate christmas, easter, or any other religious holiday. oh, wait, no, that’s not the problem. they don’t want YOU to celebrate those things, either, if they aren’t. i guess that’s the problem with narrow-minded assholes.

  • I’m all for it Gervais can be grating, but is so often on-point it doesn’t matter. I like that he’s out there doing what George Carlin (may Darwin bless him) is no longer doing. The more we poke fun at religion, the more people may realize how unneccessary make-believe is.

  • I thought I liked you Beet people….guess I was wrong. Yes, people that believe in God are not very bright. The belief in God is utterly ridiculous and he gets annoyed because so many people put all of their energy (mostly negative it seems) into it. Many do not understand his dry wit either…or English humor for that matter.

    • Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful. English humor? Spewing invective is neither a sign of wit or intelligence.
      Go mop the flop shit off the floor in Amy Winehouse’s bathroom.