With the greatest respect to Boris Johnson, who we all know has been through a pretty torrid time of late – could we hand the reins of England over to Ricky Gervais just for one rollicking “whip the joint into shape” type of week?
Even a day would do. Give him 24 hours of complete sovereignty to invoke, enact, implement whatever changes he saw fit to make England a better place.
And when he’s done there, we could sneak him out of isolation and send him across to the US to give the one man Trumpet band a hand. Heaven forbid, couldn’t he do with a hearty meal or two, plated up in the Ricky Gervais Kitchen of Common Sense.
Current challenges aside, has there ever been a celebrity anywhere in the world who cuts to the chase more clinically and insightfully than Gervais?
It’s probably his humble beginnings, growing up with a father who worked on a building site all his life. Who knows.
But invariably, in three or four short, sharp, often hilarious sentences, Gervais is able to articulate what the world is thinking, what needs to change, who’s being unreasonable, who most needs our help and support, and best of all, who just needs to shut the F-up for a while.
Like his most recent target – UK celebrities, whinging and moaning on account of being locked away in their multimillion-dollar mansions with nothing to do, clearly missing the paparazzi chasing them through the streets, reminding them daily how “important” they are.
Ricky and the “ordinary folk” see and hear the same thing.
Like most “fans”, I first encountered Gervais in The Office, when we giggled and cringed simultaneously at the methods and manner of his character, David Brent. It was all a bit real. Most of us had worked in an environment like that, and answered to a boss as oblivious as David Brent.
But it was when his masterful After Life series appeared on Netflix that I felt compelled to find out a bit more about Gervais – his background, his comedic motivations, and what moulded him into the irreverent rogue he is today.
Not much later, as part of my ongoing challenge not to evolve into a grumpy middle-aged man, I decided to collect a bunch of Ricky Gervais quotes and scribble them into a little orange book that has long served as a source of “soul nutrition”.
Here are a few samples of Ricky rhetoric:
Kind: “You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.”
Honest: “The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either’.”
Prophetic: “Beliefs do not change facts. Facts, if one is rational, should change beliefs.”
Practical: “If your boss is getting you down, look at him through the prongs of a fork and imagine him in jail.”
Realistic: “Some of you are really smart. You know who you are. Some of you are really thick. Unfortunately, you don’t know who you are.”
And perhaps my favourite of all: “Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.”
It was that quote that led me circuitously to a Gervais stand-up comedy segment on YouTube, where he was deriding people who chose to follow him on Twitter, and then got offended by what he said.
“You know you don’t have to follow me, right? Perhaps my humour is not for you?” he suggested.
“People take everything so bloody personally, they think the whole world revolves around them.”
He likened their offence to somebody walking into the town square, and seeing on a big noticeboard. an advertisement for guitar lessons. They immediately call the number, and scream down the phone line: I DON’T WANT F*%#ING GUITAR LESSONS.”
“Yes Sir, that’s OK – you don’t have to have them. They’re just available if you decide you want them.”
“BUT I DON’T WANT F*%#ING GUITAR LESSONS.”
How good is Ricky?
Sco-Mo, I know you’ve been spending up pretty big of late, but is there a little something left in a budget somewhere to get Gervais over here for a week? Just to help unravel some of our PC/outrage rubbish, while you and the Government continue to work on COVID-19?
I reckon we could find a few people prepared to chip in to help cover costs.
The people, for instance, that Ricky was referencing earlier – the smart ones who know they’re smart.
Not so much the other mob.
Clearly, they’re only happy when they’re unhappy.
Community service announcement: After Life Series 2 will be available on Netflix from April 24.
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