Ricky Gervais is one of the busiest comedians in Hollywood. Whatever your feelings are on The Office‘s creator, you must admit that he’s one of the hardest-working funny men in the game. The third season of An Idiot Abroad premiered this past January worldwide and he stars in the upcoming Muppets movie next year as the lead villain. He’s also currently working on the second season of his newest comedy, Derek. Laughspin was there as Gervais joined New York Times culture critic Dave Itzkoff for a one-hour video chat as part of their “Times Talks” interview series. The two discussed many topics, ranging from the comedian’s love of taboo subjects, the backlash that usually follows, and his overall creative process. It was an incredible look into the mind of a prolific comedy writer, producer and performer. Here’s some of the things we learned from being at the “Times Talks” (which you, too, can now watch in full).
He’s always looking ahead.
Gervais had a feeling that online streaming sites like Netflix were going to be huge. “I had heard of them, but then I heard that other [television] channels were worried about them.” That’s why he got a hold of the Chief Content Officer’s email address and told him, “I think Netflix is the future. I want to do a show with you.” Without knowing the idea, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos said, “We’ll take it!”
Haters Gonna Hate
Itzkoff opened up the interview mentioning the onslaught of hate that gets thrown Gervais’ way. “I do deal with taboo subjects, but I think people mistake the subject of the joke with the target.” This mix-up has become a headache of a problem in the age of 24-hour Internet blogging where a joke with the word ‘rape’ is automatically classified as a ‘rape joke’ before people have heard the entire bit.
You need to see the Muppets sequel!
In a pleasant surprise for the live audience at the Times Center, Gervais shared an entire scene from the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted movie, due in theaters on March 21, 2014. It was awesome. I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone but I will say that we got a look at some of the British comedian’s singing and dancing skills. You’ll have to decide for yourself who dances better, though: him or the frog.
Never Talking Funny again…on camera
Any fans hoping for another sit-down special to follow up to HBO’s Talking Funny better not hold their breath. After bringing Chris Rock, Louis C.K., and Jerry Seinfeld in for an hour-long conversation about comedy, Gervais is not keen on doing another one. “I thought it could be an ongoing thing, but I don’t think I could beat that line-up…I kind of want to keep that as the only time we ever sat down to do that hour, out of respect.” He admits that he has conversations like that with comedians all the time, but that he usually isn’t filming it for television. Though if he were to do another one, the two names he brought up to bring in were Doug Stanhope and Kristen Wiig. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting hour?!
Derrick comes to the U.S.
His latest series, Derek, premieres in the United States exclusively on Netflix on Thursday, Sept. 12. After having its first season air in the UK to much praise, he has brought his dimwitted, but warm-hearted, title character Stateside. Derek is a naïve and slow (but not mentally challenged, allegedly) caretaker at an old folks home. Always writing about what he knows, he took stories from his female family members, almost all of whom work in elderly care. “The reason I made Derek [and his friends] sort of what you think of as outsiders, sort of losers, is because I want kindness to come along and trump all of that. It’s a show about kindness.”
You can watch the complete interview here. In the meantime, if you have Netflix, check out Derek as early as Thursday, Sept. 12. If you don’t have Netflix, get it, then check out Derek on Thursday!