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[COMIC OF THE WEEK] Ricky Gervais

[COMIC OF THE WEEK] Ricky Gervais

Photo Credit: rickygervais.com

 

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky…where to even begin with this individual? Well, how about saying Ricky Gervais has one of the most incredible and notable careers in contemporary comedy? Sure that’s a good start, since he has created and starred in numerous hit television shows, (The Office, Extras, the animated series The Ricky Gervais Show, Life’s Too Short, Derek) starred in movie roles, (Night at the Museum 1 & 2, Stardust, Ghost Town, The Invention of Lying) been a part of the most downloaded podcast in history, (The Ricky Gervais Show) written his own book series, (Flanimals) and has five highly accepted stand-up tours, we can clearly assume he understands that creating a large volume of work, along with the power of perseverance, will bring the kind of success all artists strive for. And an artist he is, indeed.

Photo Credit: rickygervais.com

He got his start in radio at Xfm London, where he was the assistant events manager, and his need of an assistant would have him praising the fates forever. Gervais chose to interview the first person’s résumé he saw for the job, which happened to belong to Stephen Merchant. Merchant explained in the interview held at a pub that he would “take care of all the boring stuff” while Gervais ”messed around”.The two felt these roles best suited the other, thus, a friendship was born, and an important one at that.

A couple years later, after several moderately successful attempts at television (which showed what was to come), the two friends began to work up a sort of docu-soap parody/mockumentary set in an office.

What was even better was that Merchant was taking a BBC production course and had to make his own short film, which he chose to base off of this mockumentary idea. He passed the tape along up the ladder with it finally finding its way to the “top floor” and then was ultimately commissioned for a full-pilot script from Merchant and Gervais. What was then created has been hailed as the single best and most flawlessly crafted comedy series in British television history, The Office.

Photo Credit: rickygervais.com

It was so monumentally popular that it made the odd, wacky, fame seeking character David Brent, played by Gervais, a household name in Britain along with Gervais himself. The show also came with enormous reception, winning numerous amounts of awards. Gervais and Merchant went on to become producers of the United States remake of The Office and won awards with that show as well.

As mentioned before, Gervais now has five comedy tours to his name, which include Animals (2003), Politics (2004), Fame (2007), Science (2009), and the more recent Humanity (2012). His website has an interesting assumption as to why Gervais got into comedy saying, “Perhaps slightly embarrassed by the accolades and not having earned his comedy spurs by years of telling jokes to drunks in smoky bars up and down the country, Ricky put together a stand-up show to while away the evenings away from his home during filming.”

Now, maybe, they have it right. Say Gervais did feel it incumbent upon him to get up on stage in front of a huge crowd of people and present his material in such a way that made it sound like he was just then making it up, all for the sake of being respected in the comedy circuit. Or, maybe he just felt like making people laugh in a different medium and saw that stand-up was exactly what he needed at the time. Who really knows, but either way you look at it, you must give him credit for trying and possibly even more for succeeding.

Photo Credit: rickygervais.com

As for what Gervais thinks success is and how he got to obtain it, here is a quote from his recent blog on his website that does a great job explaining it:

“Pablo Picasso summed it up well; ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up’. The answer is simple. Never grow up. I don't mean don't become an adult with responsibility and the weight of the world on your shoulders. I simply mean if you're writing or directing give yourself enough time to play. Play the fool. Goad. Shock. Laugh. Trip over something that isn't there. Try something. And never be afraid to fail. That failure is useful too. It's just another building block.”

So, success to Gervais is not only made up of the good or positive moments you have in life, but also the mistakes, and perhaps more importantly, the way you handle those mistakes. Are you going to let your failures overcome your ambition? Or, are you going to be a pillar of positivity and understand that your failure was only a mistake, which means that you must have the courage to move on. Because it is not only the things you can do in life that make up who you are, but what you cannot do as well.

And Ricky Gervais is a prime example of someone who has overcome his failures and mistakes—failures and mistakes as a result of daring to try something new—and mustered up the strength to carry on. Which is why we chose him as the Comic of the Week and hope you enjoy listening to hilarious, gut busting bits from him every hour at around the :20 minute mark either on your good ol’ radio, here on our website, or by downloading the iHeartRadio app and listening to him there! 

 

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