Ricky Gervais bragged about his friendship with David Bowie in the latest issue of GQ, and I don’t blame him. If I was friends with David Bowie, I would make sure that everyone knew about it. I would be tweeting that shit nonstop. And judging from the above photo of Gervais from the 1980′s when he was in a new wave band, he’s clearly been a Bowie fan for a while, and being his friend is probably a little bit of a dream come true. So yeah, Mr. Gervais talked about his friendship with The Bowie, and it sounds like a match made in sarcasm heaven. From GQ via NME:
[On what they talk about] Music and comedy…I think I might have said what a huge fan I was. And I think he liked my stuff…I got him to do a little thing in Extras. I remember we went round his flat, and it’s exactly as you’d expect it to be – just beautiful and tasteful and modern, and there’s this wonderful statue. And I went, ‘Oh, that’s amazing’.
The first time he buzzed me in [to his flat], the concierge called up and said, “Mr Jones?” Of course he’s Mr. Jones! He’s not fucking David Bowie! I met David Jones. [Bowie's legal name is David Robert Jones.]
He’s been a musical hero of mine for 30 years. When I called him up [to guest star on Gervais' Extras] and I’d written ‘Little Fat Man’, I said, ‘Have you got the lyrics?’ and he went, “Yeah.” I said, ‘Can you do something quite retro, like ‘Life on Mars?’?’ And he went [deadpan], “Oh, of course, yeah, sure. I’ll knock off a quick ‘Life On Mars?’, shall I?
Here’s the video for the “Little Fat Man” segment Gervais mentioned.
June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm by Catherine St. Ives
Ugh, the headline is needlessly snarky, I know. What I meant to type was, “Ricky Gervais explains the differences between American and British humor, and then goes on to explain why he’s funny.”
You can probably guess a lot of the differences in humor styles without ever reading the column—Americans are a little unsubtle, a little hamhanded, and much less into “embarrassment comedy” than our friends across the pond are—but Gervais goes on to describe the cultural differences in manners.
In my three extremely short jaunts to England (I know I’ve typed about this once before here at Evil Beet, but for the life of me I can’t remember its context), I noted that my chronic over-warmth was met with a certain amount of suspicion. And then I finally figured it out: what we in the U.S. call “politeness” can ring “inauthentic” elsewhere. In turn, I think it’s too easy for us folksy-folks to equate the British idea of “gracious” with “brittle.”
It took me a long time to acknowledge the benefits of not being overfamiliar with strangers: small-town, down-home hospitality can seem disingenuous and totally out of place, especially in a big city where it’s better to be aloof and skeptical of friendliness than to be scammed, robbed, and beaten in an alley by your new BFF. Sorry if that sounds cynical! But there’s a lot to be said for respecting personal space and boundaries, OK.
Gervais expounds on this cultural difference very nicely:
Americans say “have a nice day” whether they mean it or not. Brits are terrified to say this. We tell ourselves it’s because we don’t want to sound insincere but I think it might be for the opposite reason. We don’t want to celebrate anything too soon. Failure and disappointment lurk around every corner. This is due to our upbringing. Americans are brought up to believe they can be the next president of the United States. Brits are told, “it won’t happen for you.”
How bleak! Maybe it has something to do with all that gray—err, “grey”—weather you guys have over there.
February 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm by Jenn
His newest, Life’s Too Short, premieres Sunday on HBO (I posted a great clip over here).
Anytime Gervais writes a column for the Huffington Post—admittedly, they’re all timed to promote his latest project—I always take notice. His newest article, “On Fame,” lends Hollywood some much-needed levity. It also goes far in explaining why he really gnashed his teeth at the Golden Globes last year:
But if The Office reflected those quaint docu-soaps of the 90s that followed ordinary people having their 15 minutes, Life’s Too Short reflects the more modern age—desperate, fame-hungry monsters who will do anything just to be on the telly.
You know, so-called role models living their lives like open wounds to accumulate column inches, so they can then get some ghost-writer to spread those inches over several “autobiographies” to cash in on their infidelity, drug abuse, life of crime and personal tragedy. You can’t help but think many should have called a doctor before they called a publicist.
I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of fame. Probably because I’ve never really understood it. Or rather, I’ve never really understood why people would put fame above all else. And it seems to be getting worse. A recent university survey asked a sample of ten-year-olds what they wanted to be when they grew up. They answered “famous.” Just famous.
I guess I always wanted to be eminent. That’s the old word for fame, by the way. Being known for something. Being known for being good at something. Maybe even the best at something. “Fame” used to be fused with “respect” in some ways. That’s what distinguished it from infamy. But not any more.
Ah, Ricky! Bombastic, wise, sage-like Ricky. Read the whole article! You might discover he doesn’t irritate you at all.
February 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm by Jenn
So, that was the Tweet that set off a tirade of Christians to bash Ricky Gervais, saying that if he had any Twitter followers, they must be heathens and athiests and horrible, bad, bad people – much like him, I guess, huh?
See, though I am a Christian, I think people are entitled to think and feel how they choose to when it comes to religion, or just, you know, living their lives. Who would I be to say what was right for me is right for everyone else? I also think that anyone who wouldn’t support their fellow (gay or lesbian or otherwise) man in whatever endeavor they chose, as long as it wasn’t harming the livelihood of others, is in the wrong here. I mean, seriously, can you believe some of the garbage @GodsWordIsLaw is peddling? “I don’t know any normal man that stands up for queers”? Who even says stuff like that?
Sounds to me like some Christians are completely missing the point of the holiday they hold so dear – because insulting people based upon their thoughts, ideals, sexual preferences, or otherwise, don’t sound very “Christian-like” to me.
December 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm by Sarah
The clip itself stars Gervais and Johnny Depp—two people who, lately anyway, have kinda set themselves up to be believably insufferable—so there’s plenty of schadenfreude here, a lot of devilish mirth. Ugh, I just hate those tinted sunglasses. And that hat! Does Johnny Depp really wear a hat like that, like, outside? What a doof.
Life’s Too Short is a mockumentary starring actor Warwick Davis—get it? Because Warwick Davis is really, really short? Don’t make me explain these things—with tons of celebrity cameos. The series arrives on BBC Two next month. And HBO has picked up the series, too! Yay! Aren’t you excited?
(Top image via Whatculture)
October 27, 2011 at 9:30 am by Jenn
When 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).