“When The Office is 10, I’ll be 50.”
And, while the acclaimed sitcom’s 10th birthday on the 9th July rapidly approaches, Gervais’s 50th birthday is already upon us – it’s today!
Ricky Gervais is a UK household name, and it feels like he’s been around for decades – doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe then that it’s only been ten years since this funny man first had us all giggling and groaning with the office boss we all love to loathe – David Brent.
And, over in the States he’s pretty well known too – what with The American Office and his handful of films. And – I’m very excited about this – he’s also going to be appearing as himself in the new series of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
You see, like Larry David, Gervais‘s comic talents lie in the creation of brilliant self-propelled disaster stories which see you as a viewer biting your hand/foot/arm/couch corner with amused horror. How can anyone fail to empathise with David (The Office) or Andy (Extras) or Bertram (Ghost Town), and their clumsy misguided – and frequent – faux pas?
The quality I most admire about Gervais, however, is his self-mockery. OK, you could argue that he’s never playing himself. David Brent, Andy Millman, Bertram Pincus, Mark Bellison aren’t quite the same as Ricky Gervais, but as I’ve said before on this blog, Gervais’ self-deprecation is directed at the physical – and is therefore personal. And you have to love him for that.
And, on that note, I’ve decided to wish this talented writer-comedian many happy returns with the happy return of my favourite Ricky Gervais self-deprecating moments:
I think that this is the best sitcom episode ever.
Three years after a documentary crew filmed the offices of Slough paper merchants Wernham Hogg, they catch up with the staff members. David Brent tells the camera that he’s often recognised on the street for his involvement in the docusoap and sometimes falls victim to their cruel remarks, such as ‘pug-nosed gimp’ and ‘lard boy’.
Actor Andy moved on from extras work in season 2 to become the star of his own cliched sitcom. His peers accuse him of selling out and ostracise him at a private members club. He and his pal Maggie get talking to David Bowie
Gervais’ first big Hollywood role sees him playing a dentist with the ability to see ghosts. Read more about that here.
Gervais probably anticipated a bitchy American press so promoted Ghost Town in self-deprecating mode, reportedly saying “just what America wants – a fat, British, middle-aged comedian.”
When he was received with open arms, he apparently commented that America “seems to be ready for a fat, British, middle-aged man, and I should add ‘with bad teeth’ to the list.”
When middle-aged Mark Bellison (Gervais) goes on a first date with the beautiful Anna (Jennifer Garner), she tells him quite openly that he is not relationship material because he’s a ‘short man with a snub nose.’
By the way, I’m sure it won’t be long before Gervais’ latest project – Life’s Too Short – will be added to this line-up. It’s described by Gervais as ‘a cross between Extras and Curb Your Enthusiasm and One Foot in the Grave but with a dwarf.’ Need I say more?
Sky Movies Comedy are holding a Ricky Gervais Birthday party tonight: