Ricky Gervais Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (64)

Overview (3)

Born in Reading, Berkshire, England, UK
Birth NameRicky Dene Gervais
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ricky Dene Gervais was born in a suburb of Reading, Berkshire, to Eva Sophia (House) and Lawrence Raymond Gervais, who was a hod carrier and labourer. His father was born in Ontario, Canada, of French-Canadian descent, and his mother was English. He was educated at Ashmead Comprehensive School and went on to study at University College, London, where he gained a degree in Philosophy.

After university, Gervais attempted to pursue a pop career with Seona Dancing, a duo he formed with a fellow student. Similar to many groups in the early 1980s, they were a synth-pop act with a somewhat pretentious name and exhibiting a strong musical influence by David Bowie. Gervais adopted a vocal style that has often been compared to Bowie; comedian Paul Merton would later joke that Bowie nicked their music. Seona Dancing were briefly signed to a recording contract and released two singles, "More to Lose" and "Bitter Heart". The latter was slightly reminiscent of Queen's "Body Language" from a year earlier, featuring a similar synthesizer riff. The act failed to breach the UK top 75 and earn a place in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, but clips have survived and they have been frequently used to tease Gervais in interviews. Despite his own lack of success, Gervais stayed within the music industry for a while and even spent time as the manager of Suede.

Gervais had to wait a long time before achieving the fame he had hoped would come with a pop career. In the 1990s he formed a writing partnership with Stephen Merchant. In 2000, he landed his own comedy chat show on Channel 4, Meet Ricky Gervais (2000), which attracted legendary guests such as Jimmy Savile, Michael Winner, Paul Daniels, Peter Purves, Stefanie Powers, Jim Bowen and Midge Ure. The series only ran for six episodes but a year later greater stardom came for Gervais with the debut of BBC comedy The Office (2001). Although it was not initially received to great acclaim or viewing figures, it is now often cited as one of the greatest comedy series of all time and has been credited with reinventing the sitcom. Gervais starred as the obnoxious and embarrassing office manager David Brent, who has since been voted in various polls one of the greatest comic characters. It also prompted an American remake, The Office (2005). Gervais had further success with another sitcom, Extras (2005), which attracted a series of celebrity guests, including Ben Stiller, Samuel L. Jackson and his musical idol David Bowie. It served as a satire on the entertainment industry and leading stars were happy to play along by performing exaggerated versions of themselves.

Gervais has become one of the most popular and omnipresent comedy performers of the 21st century, hosting the Golden Globe awards, lending his talent to films, becoming a voice artist and appearing on numerous talk shows. He has become one of the best known British comedy figures in America. He is also regularly the subject of controversy due to his dark comedy. Some critics have called him insensitive and outrageous. Gervais has responded by saying "offense is the collateral damage of free speech", he has said that he doesn't aim for a mass audience, he's just pleased he's managed to get one, and he has compared his style of comedy and the audience he has acquired with being Iggy Pop in preference to being Phil Collins.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Family (2)

Children None
Parents Lawrence Raymond Gervais
Eva Sophia M. House

Trade Mark (5)

Humor from awkward social situations
Acerbic wit
Unique, high-pitched laugh
Usually has a beer with him on stage when performing stand-up.
Controversial, dark humor

Trivia (19)

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
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 by 11, 13 and 14 years.
Very good friends with American comedian and TV presenter Jon Stewart and British comedian and TV presenter Jonathan Ross.
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). 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].
Favorite all-time comedian is Woody Allen.
(May 10, 2010) Merited a place in Time magazine's - The 100 Most Influential People in the World ("Artists" category) - with an homage contributed by Karl Pilkington.
Cites Mike Leigh as a big influence.
Friends with George Michael.
Is an atheist.

Personal Quotes (64)

I did Jonathan Ross [Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001)] 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: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) 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'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 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)] 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?
[on winning a Golden Globe] 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: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). 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 20th anniversary of Live Aid (1985). 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.
I grew up watching fantastic mainstream comedies like Porridge (1974) and Rising Damp (1974). There are some mainstream things I love.
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.
[mocking his comedy partner, Stephen Merchant] 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.
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's 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 like Phil Collins, he's a lovely man, but I don't want Phil Collins fans. I don't want the comedy equivalent.
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 year's 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 [descent] 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) 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 perceived 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 everyday 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, honor 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 (2005) 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 (2005), 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.
[on the death of James Gandolfini] Damn. RIP James Gandofini. An amazing actor that made arguably the greatest drama of all time, and a funny, sweet, gentle giant off screen.
[on Muppets Most Wanted (2014)] I was okay with singing. I always sneak a song into everything I do. Dancing, a little awkward. Little embarrassed about that. I don't move well. But I was with a frog, so it doesn't matter. I'll do anything with a frog, that's my motto. He's great with tap-dancing or flap-dancing on my head. So no one's going to be looking at me when we're doing that dance. They're going to be saying, "There's a frog dancing".
Someone not liking my work doesn't mean I have to give the awards or the money back. People who don't like your work have no effect on you.
[on Sir Jimmy Savile] My first guest on my first TV show. A proper British eccentric.
[on homosexual marriage] It's a victory for all of us. Anything that promotes equality, promotes progress. You can't take equality "too far".
Offence is the collateral damage of free speech.
It's more important to spend your energy trying to stop actual bad things than to run around trying to stop jokes about bad things.
Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on the computer.
[on the video for "Bitter Heart" by Seona Dancing] I think the video cost 400 pounds and luckily we had an underground car park for the day. But when you're 21 you can get away with anything, can't you?
[on his look as a 1980s pop star in Seona Dancing] I'm not ashamed how I looked then, I'm ashamed how I look now.
[on Sir Jimmy Savile] Basically The A-Team (1983) rolled into one. He's got the cigar of Hannibal, he's a ladies' man like Face, he's got the jewelry of Mr. T, and he's mad like Murdock. And not in a good way.
I can't stand lazy old people, do you know what I mean? Like Thora Hird. She's never off her arse. She comes home from shopping in one of those buggies, straight up a ramp, up a stairlift, her feet haven't touched the floor yet, she gets lowered into a bath. Never off her arse. Give her an award, she's up the stairs like a greyhound.
Just go into Ladbrokes tomorrow and put a thousand pounds on anyone in the Special Olympics "because they're all winners". You try telling that to Ladbrokes. "He won." "He came in eighth, mate." "He's a winner." "Fuck off out of the shop."
I love quoting great men. Ricky Gervais.
The Jimmy Savile waxwork I got cheap from Madame Tussaud's is doing a great job at my front gate keeping the trick-or-treaters away. Ha ha.
What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?
[on his movie David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)] I won't revisit _:The Office" (2005)_ because that wouldn't make sense. We did "The Office" perfectly and for all those people to still be there--that would be ridiculous. Imagine going back to an office you worked in 20 years ago and they're still there, they're just a little bit older? . . . Imagine if that was a real documentary--"The Office"--and David Brent was the person he was. He'd still be trying to be famous. You wouldn't go back and find him in the office--you would go back and find him repping like he is now, still trying to be a pop star and trying to get Simon Cowell's eye and trying to have his own YouTube channel.
The only reason I work out is to live longer so I can eat more cheese and drink more wine.
[on Netflix acquiring his movie Special Correspondents (2016) for 2016] Having shaken up the TV industry, Netflix is about to do the same to Hollywood. It's great to be part of the changing future.
I'm not a wolf in sheep's clothing. I'm a wolf in wolf's clothing.
Future generations will view us as barbarians for bullfighting, enslaving dolphins and killing for fake medicine. And they should. It's mental.
[in 2004 on accepting the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series--Musical or Comedy (The Office (2005)) after receiving the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor--Television Series Musical or Comedy] Two. Bookends. Excellent. You need the set, one looks . . . y'know.
[on accepting the hosting duties for The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2010)] Not only is this the biggest Hollywood celebration of the industry, which includes both film and TV, but also an environment where I feel I can get free reign as a host, I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don't turn down.
[on why he was doing a weekly talk show podcast with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington by Guardian Unlimited] I want to do a radio show where I can say what I want, when I want and that's free for anybody who can be bothered to listen. I suppose we are trying to create an exclusive club. We'd prefer this to be a few people's favorite show than a huge same-y, ineffectual broadcast.
[on where his ideas come from for his work] I've usually got seven or eight notebooks on the go that I have to find and collate wherever I am in the world or whatever drawer they're in, and, eventually, I think I find most ideas I ever came up with. It's more for stand-up where I have to collect them over five years. For TV or movies, I use them as a genesis and a start point and a finish point that I work on. I usually work on two or three ideas at a time. At the moment, I'm writing three screenplays in varying degrees of completion, and I like it that way because I work a few minutes on one, and then I have an idea about something else where I'll just stop--because I have a very short attention span, but it's very intense. I work the same way. You know, I bounce in on set at eight in the morning, do everything, and it's all over by three o'clock. Do you know what I mean? And my ideas come from, you know, everywhere. Real life is by far, the biggest influence, and it should be; I mean, everything you sort of do is semi-autobiographical.
I never tried hard at anything. I was born smart on a very working-class estate. A couple of people I knew went to university apart from me, but all the way through I was the smartest kid in the school. That's luck, but I was proud of it. And I was also proud of doing well without trying. As you get older, and it took me a long time to realize it, that's a disgusting attitude, revolting. It's ignorant and it's a tragic waste, and I realized that the work itself is the reward. The struggle itself is the reward. Everything else--fame, money, being best mates with Jonathan Ross--is secondary.
[on what advice he would give to someone who wants success like his] . . . work hard, be original and write about what you know. I believe that if you didn't have to work for something, it can't truly be considered success. Luck doesn't count. I think success is allowed a certain pride and you can't be proud of luck or even of being born smart, artistic or talented. It's what you do with it that counts . . . being original is often considered dangerous if you want huge mainstream success. It seems safer to make anodyne stuff that most people might consume without offense. Making The Office (2005) taught me this. I truly believe this was a huge part of the show's success. I worked in a real office for 10 years and since I've always been a people watcher, or "piss taking twat," as it's also known, it was easy to keep an uncompromising attention to detail. Whatever I didn't know starting out, I did know the truth of the minutiae of modern-day behavior, and exactly how it should look.
[on his cat Ollie] She is part Siamese, Burmese, Devon Rex and Cornish Rex. The result is, of course, cat perfection. She's a bit fickle in her emotions, though. She goes from cuddly and needy to furiously independent. She's quite surly. Luckily, I love a cat remembering it used to be a tiger.
Off to bed as I have to get up at Twat O'clock tomorrow for the first day filming on Special Correspondents (2016). Night.
[on having any regrets about his act at the Golden Globes] I stand by everything. You shouldn't apologize for anything you meant to do. You can apologize for things you do when you're 15, but not when you're 50. People confuse the subject of the joke with the target of the joke, and they're very rarely the same. Let's get this in perspective: They're the wealthiest, most privileged people in the world. Offense is taken, not given. It's your choice.
Everyone I've admired has been an acquired taste--The Simpsons (1989), Radiohead, David Bowie. Anything that captures everyone soon outstays its welcome.
I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is Mel Gibson!
[Ellen Interview] It's an odd question, isn't it? "Why don't you have children?" It should be "Why do you have children?"

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