Humor from awkward social situations
Unique, high-pitched laugh
Usually has a beer with him on stage when performing stand-up.
Worked as a DJ on London's XFM radio station and managed bands before going into TV comedy.
Won the 2003 O.K. Comedy Award.
Can play the guitar
Was in a music group in the early 1980s called Seona Dancing. They released two singles, "Bitter Heart" and "More To Lose" but didn't have any success.
Former manager of the UK indie band Suede.
He grew up in relative poverty but he has always admired his mother for the way in which she did not allow it to get in the way of a happy upbringing. She got herself into debt in order to make sure he had plenty of Christmas presents and it took her the whole of the following year to work her way out of it until Christmas beckoned again.
In 2004 Gervais released a children's book called "Flanimals." The sequel, "More Flanimals," was released in 2005.
Is the youngest of four siblings.
Very good friends with comedian Jon Stewart.
His favorite film is This Is Spinal Tap (1984).
He has been with long-term partner, producer Jane Fallon, since 1982.
Ranked #83 on the 2008 Telegraph's "100 most powerful people in British culture" list.
Has stated in interviews that he turned down several film roles before he accepted his lead role in Ghost Town (2008/I). These included Mission: Impossible III (2006), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Ocean's Thirteen (2007) and "The Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy.
Revealed in an online interview that he does not like using his fame to just make money, including an example when he was offered nearly $4,000,000 for just one day's work on an advert for an unnamed company.
In the early '80s was in a pop group called "Seona Dancing". He was the main singer while Bill McCrae wrote music. They were not successful in the UK; however, they were very popular in the Phillipines.
Animal rights group PETA Europe have decided to name a bullock (a cow) they rescued in India, in honor of his love of all creatures [June 24, 2009].
Has a degree in Philosophy.
Favorite all-time comedian is Woody Allen.
Merited a place in Time magazine's - The 100 Most Influential People in the World ("Artists" category) - with an homage contributed by Karl Pilkington. [May 10, 2010]
Suffers from arachnophobia.
I did Jonathan Ross last year and he said 'do people do impressions of David Brent?' and I went 'well, they can't really because he's such a normal bloke'. Then, after the show, me and Ross are walking through the car park and this bloke jumps out and goes 'der-ner-ner-ner-ner', does the David Brent dance and runs away. Jonathon Ross was in hysterics: 'all that shit you came out with and then some bloke jumps out and runs away'. But on the whole it doesn't really happen.
[on turning down a role in Pirates of the Caribbean]: I didn't really fancy sitting in a hotel room in Los Angeles for nine weeks for two minutes on screen, to be honest. I don't really want to be an actor. I want to write and direct. I've been offered about ten British films. Obviously all shit. I was offered one with Johnny Depp, but again, it was a small character part, and I thought, "What's the point?" No one's ever watched someone in seven films for one minute and said, "Yeah, give him his own film." . . . It doesn't happen.
I hate lateness. I hate people who are late. There is no excuse for turning up late for anything. I've never been late for anything in my life. I was actually born a week premature, because I wanted to be early for my own birth. Being late is an insult to me.
I've been offered a part in "Alias" (2001)_ and I'm going to do it. I love Alias, it's great and J.J. Abrams is writing me a part especially. It's just whether I can do it or not-it's got to be the right time, the right project, it's got to be fun, it's got to be worth it and it mustn't be bad for my career. Most people go, "It'll do, it's work and it'll make me a bit more famous" or "the money's good," but I just think I've never regretted saying no. But a lot of people have regretted saying yes.
Accepting his Golden Globe: I'm not from these parts. I'm from a little place called England - we used to run the world before you lot.
About the show-biz lifestyle: It's all too much trouble for me. It's probably because I'm fat and lazy and old.
[on Lord of the Rings]: I don't like all this stupid Gollum begat Wobblo and the Oompa Loompas and. . . . Oh Jesus Christ! There was too much "Oh, God, here come the gloodloys." Christ Almighty, what are they talking about!?
[on turning down the chance to appear in Ocean's Twelve (2004)] Why say a couple of lines opposite Brad Pitt when I could be playing lead back home?
Apparently, I don't know if this is true but I hope it is, I've heard it from a few reports: When we went up to get our awards, apparently Clint Eastwood turned to someone that he was with and went [Clint impression], "Who the fuck are they?"
I remember when we were talking to one of the executives at the BBC. And he said, "Now hold on, this man [David Brent] is so incompetent, why wouldn't he be fired?' and I said, "Go and take a look around this building. Just go and knock on a few doors."
Money gives me the creeps and mildly embarrasses me. I get paid too much anyway.
[about animals]: When I see a toreador in a bullfight getting gored, I think, "Good, you shouldn't be in there." What is the pleasure in seeing an animal speared to death? It's the same with fox hunting. They're just psychopaths. I think I'll end up doing something with animals-running a sanctuary or something.
I have plenty of pet hates. I can't stand people scraping their plate or slurping their soup. I can't stand waiting in lines. I hate people talking inanely about The Lord of the Rings. I hate people whistling. But I'm not like this because I'm famous. I've always been a grumpy bastard.
I'm a lot taller than I look on television and younger, and for the role of David Brent, I wore a fat suit under my shirt and trousers. Really I'm about 25 and about 6' 1" tall. So that's probably why you don't recognize me in the street.
We're still trying to break records on the twentieth anniversary of Live Aid (1985) (TV). I've just heard Bob Geldof has put Phil Collins on a jet to Philadelphia. There's nothing going on there, we just don't want him around this year. No I'm joking, of course we didn't put him on a jet. We stuck him in a catapult. To be fair, he didn't get very far. Although it worked in rehearsals when we used it on Chris De Burgh. I could do a whole routine about injuring Phil fucking Collins.
There's nothing wrong with getting 20 million viewers, but I think there's something wrong with aiming at getting 20 million viewers, because then you have to take away all the things that will offend, and you'll end up with something so anodyne that it just washes over you for half an hour. I imagine "The Office" (2001) was also one of the most hated shows on television, that some people passionately hated it. But that's better, for me. David Bowie said that after Let's Dance, which is his biggest album ever and obviously not his best, he was doing these stadium gigs and looked out at the audience and suddenly realized that he had Phil Collins fans instead of Iggy Pop fans. And that's how I feel about everything I do: I want Iggy Pop fans.
He's eight foot tall, has stupid glasses, awful hair, but it makes me look good, which is why he's in the series. We look so strange on screen together as well. The height difference is ridiculous. I want people to know that he is a freak and I'm the normal one. Don't look at this and go, 'What? Didn't know Ricky was a dwarf.' I'm not. He's the weird one. - mocking his comedy partner, Stephen Merchant.
Oh, these actors who ask, "What's my motivation?" all the time. Who cares? I'll tell you what your motivation is: it's the only thing you can do, and you're getting paid to do it, so shut the hell up!
I worked in an office for about seven years, and I've always been a people watcher. So when it came to writing it down, I just had a big bag of observations really about office life. And it's not really about office life as such -- it's not about selling paper or politics of the office -- it's more about relationships. I think that's why it's sort of taken off around the world, 'cause the themes are big; you know, boy meets girl, a decent job of work, making a difference. It's also a comedy about comedy, really. It's about this guy who thinks he funny and isn't. He's not a bad man, David Brent; I suppose he's got a bit of a blind spot, and he's a bit of a twit, but I suppose the worst thing he did was confuse popularity with respect. But yeah, it's a show about people working in an office, trapped and wasting their life really. And it's not a snobby look at white-collar 9-to-5 -- one of the themes is sort of, if you don't enjoy it, don't sit there watching the clock 'til you're 65 and go, "oh, fuck, I always meant to write a novel." It's quite sweet and sad at parts, quite existential, I think, but very funny, I think. But you'll be the judge of that.
[Hosting the 2011 Golden Globes]: It's going to be night of partying and heavy drinking. Or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.
I'm not one of those people who think that comedy is your conscience taking a day off. My conscience never takes a day off and I can justify everything I do. There's no line to be drawn in comedy in the sense that there are things you should never joke about. There's nothing that you should never joke about, but it depends what that joke is. Comedy comes from a good or a bad place. The subject of a joke isn't necessarily the target of the joke. You can make jokes about race without any race being the butt of the joke. Racism itself can be the butt, for example. When dealing with a so-called taboo subject, the angst and discomfort of the audience is what's under the microscope. Our own preconceptions and prejudices are often what are being challenged. I don't like racist jokes. Not because they are offensive. I don't like them because they're not funny. And they're not funny because they're not true. They are almost always based on a falsehood somewhere along the way, which ruins the gag for me. Comedy is an intellectual pursuit. Not a platform.
Recently I have been accused of being a shock comic, and cruel and cynical. This is of course almost solely due to a few comments I made as host of this years Golden Globes. But nothing could be further from the truth. I never actively try to offend. That's churlish, pointless and frankly too easy. But I believe you should say what you mean. Be honest. No one should ever be offended by truth. That way you'll never have to apologize. I hate it when a comedian says, "Sorry for what I said." You shouldn't say it if you didn't mean it and you should never regret anything you meant to do. As a comedian, I think my job isn't just to make people laugh but also make them think. As a famous comedian, I also want a strict door policy on my club. Not everyone will like what I say or find it funny. And I wouldn't have it any other way. There are enough comedians who try to please everyone as it is. Good luck to them, but that's not my game, I'm afraid.
I guess the biggest difference between the U.S. version and the U.K. version of "The Office" (2005) reflected this. We had to make Michael Scott a slightly nicer guy, with a rosier outlook to life. He could still be childish, and insecure, and even a bore, but he couldn't be too mean. The irony is of course that I think David Brent's dark descension and eventual redemption made him all the more compelling. But I think that's a lot more palatable in Britain for the reasons already stated. Brits almost expect doom and gloom so to start off that way but then have a happy ending is an unexpected joy. Network America has to give people a reason to like you not just a reason to watch you. In Britain we stop watching things like "Big Brother" (2000/II) when the villain is evicted. We don't want to watch a bunch of idiots having a good time. We want them to be as miserable as us. America rewards up front, on-your-sleeve niceness. A perceived wicked streak is somewhat frowned upon.
There's a received wisdom in the U.K. that Americans don't get irony. This is of course not true. But what is true is that they don't use it all the time. It shows up in the smarter comedies but Americans don't use it as much socially as Brits. We use it as liberally as prepositions in every day speech. We tease our friends. We use sarcasm as a shield and a weapon. We avoid sincerity until it's absolutely necessary. We mercilessly take the piss out of people we like or dislike basically. And ourselves. This is very important. Our brashness and swagger is laden with equal portions of self-deprecation. This is our license to hand it out. This can sometimes be perceived as nasty if the recipients aren't used to it. It isn't. It's play fighting. It's almost a sign of affection if we like you, and ego bursting if we don't. You just have to know which one it is.
It's often dangerous to generalize, but under threat, I would say that Americans are more "down the line." They don't hide their hopes and fears. They applaud ambition and openly reward success. Brits are more comfortable with life's losers. We embrace the underdog until it's no longer the underdog.We like to bring authority down a peg or two. Just for the hell of it. Americans say, "have a nice day" whether they mean it or not. Brits are terrified to say this. We tell ourselves it's because we don't want to sound insincere but I think it might be for the opposite reason. We don't want to celebrate anything too soon. Failure and disappointment lurk around every corner. This is due to our upbringing. Americans are brought up to believe they can be the next president of the United States. Brits are told, "it won't happen for you."
As for cynicism, I don't care for it much. I'm a romantic. From "The Office" (2005), and "Extras" (2005) to The Invention of Lying (2009) and Cemetery Junction (2010), goodness and sweetness, honour and truth, love and friendship always triumph. For me, humanity is king. Oh and for the record I'd rather a waiter say, "Have a nice day" and not mean it, than ignore me and mean it.
... I suppose I was cursed with some early success. I was smart. The smartest kid in my class. Then the smartest kid in the next class and so on. I actually used to pride myself on the fact that I didn't have to even try to pass exams. This is my greatest regret. It's a disgusting attitude and potentially a waste of a life. Writing and directing "The Office" was the first thing I ever tried my hardest at. The reward was revelatory. At 40 I was addicted. Not to success. I was addicted to trying my hardest. That's the reward in itself. It's what life's about. The struggle. It's the only way you can be proud. You can't be proud of luck. Born clever? So what? What are you going to do with it? Your best, I hope, and no less.
I deal in taboo subjects, particularly in standup, because I want to take the audience to a place they haven't been before. No harm can come of taboo subjects. People can say it's outrageous or sick or pushing the boundaries, but I don't see that it is. Some people confuse the target of a joke with the subject of a joke. You can have jokes about race without being racist. I think some people can flinch too soon. Very often the target is people's prejudices or the character's stupidity. I think smart people know what we're trying to do.
[on "Life's Too Short" (2011)] This is about real people living their lives. It's a fake documentary like 'The Office' , but it's moved on. This is more about people who will do anything just to be on television, who are willing to open their lives to the cameras 24/7, because they've got a massive tax bill or they want to make a fast buck.
[in 2013 following a series of celebrity arrests in the UK on suspicion of sexual offences] Will all Male British Entertainers who were famous in the 1970s please just report to your local police station now.
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