Ricky Gervais: Out of England

Only Ricky Gervais could enter the stage in full Royal getup with his name in lights and proceed to joke for 40 minutes about various diseases. That’s the kind of comedian this guy is, and that’s why he’s brilliant.

Well, that’s not only why he’s brilliant. I’m sure I’ve heard him say funnier things than what he said in this special, but he can get away with so much, which is apparent in this particular round of standup. He feeds off of the audience. He reads into what they’re saying. He plans spontaneity. He uses papers and makes fun of the way people write. But he does it so effortlessly, and with such a casual air, that it’s hysterical every time.

I normally hate it when comedians use material like the Holocaust or AIDS as a crutch, because it’s usually 100% offensive to joke about them. Gervais was no exception. But he didn’t necessarily make you feel bad about laughing at what he was saying, which is unique. He’s just pointing out the obvious in a way that no one else dares to.

He’s definitely a comedian worth studying, because of the subtlety of his movements. He’s not a very good impressionist, but it’s not really important because he lets you read into things, and the humor is sometimes in the pauses and the silences. Oh, and when he says “bollocks.” When all is said and done, I liked this special, but I much prefer him sitting at the desk and shooting the breeze with Jon Stewart.