Ricky Gervais

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Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais 2010.jpg
Gervais at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars" in 2010
Birth name Ricky Dene Gervais
Born (1961-06-25) 25 June 1961 (age 54)
Whitley, Berkshire, England
Medium Stand-up, television, film, radio
Years active 1982–present
Genres Dark comedy,[1] cringe comedy, insult comedy, musical comedy, satire
Influences Groucho Marx,[2] Stan Laurel,[3] Ollie Hardy,[3] Peter Cook,[3] Dudley Moore,[3] Christopher Guest[4]
Influenced Karl Pilkington, Stephen Merchant, Mark Turpin
Partner(s) Jane Fallon
Notable works and roles The Office (UK TV series)
The Office (U.S. TV series)
An Idiot Abroad
Cemetery Junction
Website rickygervais.com
Ricky Gervais's voice
Recorded June 2007 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Ricky Dene Gervais (/ərˈvz/; born 25 June 1961)[5] is an English comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, and musician.

Gervais worked initially in the music industry, attempting a career as a pop star in the 1980s with Seona Dancing and working as the manager of a then-unknown Suede before turning to comedy. Gervais appeared on The 11 O'Clock Show on Channel 4 between 1998 and 2000. In 2000, he was given a Channel 4 talk show, Meet Ricky Gervais, and then achieved greater mainstream fame a year later with his BBC television series The Office. It was followed by Extras in 2005. He co-wrote and co-directed both series with Stephen Merchant. In addition to writing and directing the shows, he played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. He has also starred in the Hollywood films Ghost Town, and Muppets Most Wanted, and wrote and directed The Invention of Lying. He has performed on four stand-up comedy tours, written the Flanimals book series and starred with Merchant and Karl Pilkington in the podcast The Ricky Gervais Show.[6] He hosted the Golden Globe Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and will return as host for the 2016 ceremony.[7]

Gervais has won seven BAFTA Awards, five British Comedy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two Emmy Awards and the 2006 Rose d'Or, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. In 2007 he was voted the 11th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups[8] and again in the updated 2010 list as the 3rd greatest stand-up comic.[9] In 2010 he was named on the Time 100 list of the world's most influential people.[10]

Early life[edit]

Gervais, along with siblings Larry (born 1945), Marsha (born 1948), and Bob (born 1950),[11] was born and raised in Whitley, Berkshire. His father, Lawrence Raymond "Jerry" Gervais (1919–2002), a Franco-Ontarian from London, Ontario, Canada, emigrated while on foreign duty during the Second World War and worked as a labourer and hod carrier.[12] He met Gervais's mother, Eva Sophia (née House; 1925–2000),[13] who was English, during a blackout; they settled in Whitley. She died, aged 74, of lung cancer.[14]

He attended Whitley Park Infants and Junior Schools, and received his secondary education at Ashmead Comprehensive School; after a spell as a gardener at the town's university, he moved on to University College London in 1980.[15] He arrived to study biology but changed to philosophy after two weeks, and earned an upper second-class honours degree in the subject.[16] During his time at UCL, he met Jane Fallon, with whom he has been in a relationship since 1982.[17] He is the former boss of Coldplay drummer Will Champion [18]



In 1983, during his final year as a student at UCL (University College London), Gervais and college friend Bill Macrae formed the new wave pop duo, Seona Dancing. They were signed by London Records, which released two of their singles—"More to Lose" and "Bitter Heart". Despite not being successful in the UK, Seona Dancing did manage to score a hit in the Philippines with "More to Lose".[19] He also worked as the manager for Suede before they became successful in the 1990s.[20]

In 2013, Gervais performed a live tour as David Brent along with a band under the name "Foregone Conclusion". Gervais and the band performed songs written under the Brent character including songs such as "Equality Street" and "Free Love Freeway".[21]


Gervais later worked as an assistant events manager for the University of London Union (ULU), then moved from ULU to a job as head of speech at the alternative radio station Xfm.[22] Needing an assistant, Gervais interviewed the first person whose curriculum vitae he saw. It belonged to Stephen Merchant.[23] In 1998 Gervais was made redundant when the station was taken over by the Capital Radio group.[24]

After the first series of The Office, Gervais and Merchant returned to Xfm in November 2001 for a Saturday radio show. This was when the pair first worked with Karl Pilkington, who produced the shows and later collaborated with them on their series of podcasts.[25]


On 5 December 2005 Guardian Unlimited began offering free weekly podcasts - The Ricky Gervais Show featuring Gervais, Merchant, and Karl Pilkington.[26] Throughout January and February 2006 the podcast was consistently ranked the number-one podcast in the world; it appeared in the 2007 Guinness World Record for the world's most-downloaded podcast, having gained an average of 261,670 downloads per episode during its first month.[27] Two more series—each with six podcasts—were released between February and September 2006.

In late 2006 three more free podcasts were released. Together called "The Podfather Trilogy", they debuted individually at Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.[28] These three were known by Ricky and Steve as "The Fourth Season". In October 2007 another free full-length podcast was released through iTunes; this podcast was originally given out for free during a performance of Gervais's Fame tour in London. On 25 November 2007 Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington released another free full-length podcast, which lasted just over an hour.

In August 2008 Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington recorded their fifth season of audiobooks, totalling 4 chapters, which were released on 16 September 2008. These audiobooks were described as the 'guide to...' series, covering several topics. As of May 2011, there are 12 "Guides" in total: Medicine, Natural History, Arts, Philosophy, The English, Society, Law & Order, The Future, The Human Body, The Earth, The World Cup 2010 & Comic Relief.[29] The conversations typically begin on topic, but constantly stray away from the topic at hand.


Early television appearances[edit]

Gervais at the 60th British Academy Film Awards in 2007

Gervais has contributed to the BAFTA-winning The Sketch Show (ITV), penning several sketches. His mainstream-TV debut came in September 1998 as part of Channel 4's "Comedy Lab" series of pilots. His one-off show Golden Years focused on a David Bowie–obsessed character called Clive Meadows.[30] Gervais then came to much wider national attention with an obnoxious, cutting persona featured in a topical slot that replaced Ali G's segments on the satirical Channel 4 comedy programme The 11 O'Clock Show in early 1999, in which his character used as many expletives as was possible and produced an inordinate amount of politically incorrect statements. Among the other regular featured comedians on the show was Mackenzie Crook, later a co-star of The Office. Two years later, Gervais went on to present his own comedy chat show for Channel 4 called Meet Ricky Gervais; it was poorly received and has since been mocked by Gervais himself. The Guardian‍ '​s Chris Tryhorn explained the "few gripes" he had with Extras, "particularly in the second series". "You can forgive Gervais a certain arrogance after the success of The Office, but..." He remarks on the confused tone of the series, taking in the clash between the broad comedy of characters Barry (Shaun Williamson) and Darren (Stephen Merchant), and the apparent parody of this style with When The Whistle Blows, and "given their total indulgence of Gervais, the BBC is portrayed as interfering, its comedy department run by a rather crudely stereotyped gay couple".[31] Throughout this time, Gervais also wrote for the BBC sketch show Bruiser and The Jim Tavare Show.[32]

The Office[edit]

The Office started when Stephen Merchant, while on a BBC production course, had to make his own short film. In August 1999 he made a docu-soap parody, set in an office, with help from Ash Atalla, who was shown a 7-minute video called 'The Seedy Boss', thus David Brent was created, Merchant passed this tape on to the BBC's Head of Entertainment Paul Jackson at the Edinburgh Fringe, who then passed it on to Head of Comedy Jon Plowman, who eventually commissioned a full-pilot script from Merchant and Gervais.[33]

The first six-episode series of The Office aired in the UK in July and August 2001 to little fanfare or attention.[34] Word-of-mouth, repeats, and DVDs helped spread the word, building up momentum and anticipation for the second series, also comprising six episodes.[35]

The Office brand has since been remade for audiences in Sweden, France, Germany, Quebec, Brazil and the United States.[36] Gervais and Merchant are producers of the American version, and they also co-wrote the episode "The Convict" for the show's third season.[37] Gervais has said that the episode "Training" is his favourite, where Brent plays his guitar and sings.


Main article: Extras (TV series)

Extras had its debut on the BBC on 21 July 2005; directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the sitcom ran for twelve episodes and starred Gervais as Andy Millman, a background artist. Millman is more self-aware and intentionally humorous than Gervais's The Office character David Brent. Guest stars on the first series of Extras include Ross Kemp, Les Dennis, Patrick Stewart, Vinnie Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller, Kate Winslet and Francesca Martinez. A second series began on 14 September 2006 in the UK and featured appearances by Daniel Radcliffe, Dame Diana Rigg, Orlando Bloom, Sir Ian McKellen, Chris Martin, Keith Chegwin, Robert Lindsay, Warwick Davis, Ronnie Corbett, Stephen Fry, Richard Briers, Patricia Potter, Sophia Myles, Moira Stuart, David Bowie, Kate Winslet, Robert De Niro and Jonathan Ross.[38]

Gervais (right) with Jonathan Ross at Live 8 in July 2005

A Christmas special of Extras aired on 27 December 2007 in the UK and on 16 December 2007 in the US, featuring guest appearances by George Michael, Clive Owen, Gordon Ramsay, Jonathan Ross and David Tennant.

Gervais was influenced by Curb Your Enthusiasm, in making Extras, particularly in the format of celebrities making fools of themselves or subverting their public personas.[39]

The Ricky Gervais Show (animated series)[edit]

The Ricky Gervais Show is an animated TV show that debuted on US cable network HBO on 19 February 2010.[40][41] In the UK, the first series began airing on 23 April 2010 on Channel 4. The show was developed using original podcast recordings from The Ricky Gervais Show starring Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington. After receiving a loyal and enthusiastic following in the US, cable channel HBO recommissioned the show for a second series, which aired in 2011,[42] and a third series which started airing in April 2012.

Life's Too Short[edit]

Main article: Life's Too Short

Life's Too Short began airing on BBC Two on 10 November 2011.[43][44] Gervais and Stephen Merchant would write this observational sitcom from an idea by Warwick Davis. It is described by Gervais as being about "the life of a showbiz dwarf" and as "a cross between Extras and The Office. The show stars actor Davis playing a fictionalized version of himself, as well as Gervais and Merchant.[45] Premium cable channel HBO, who co-produced the series with the BBC, had the US rights and began airing the series on 19 February 2012.[46][47]

An Idiot Abroad[edit]

Main article: An Idiot Abroad

An Idiot Abroad is a travel documentary produced by Gervais and Merchant where a reluctant Pilkington travels around the world and his reactions to people and places is recorded. Occasionally, Gervais and Merchant call him to surprise him with a new place to visit or a task to do. Pilkington reports back to them and mostly complains about the situation he is in. Gervais said there is no planning, a camera crew follows his friend around recording many hours of film which Gervais edits down to about an hour each episode.[48]

To date two series and a Christmas special have aired, series one involves Pilkington visiting the Seven Wonders of the World, in the second show he chooses to complete tasks from a bucket list provided by Gervais and in the special Warwick Davis joins Pilkington on a journey following Marco Polos route from Russia to China.


Main article: Derek (TV series)

In November 2011, Gervais filmed in London a 35-minute pilot episode for a potential comedy-drama series called Derek, which aired on Channel 4 on 12 April 2012.[49][50] The pilot is solely written and directed by Gervais and features him in the title role of Derek Noakes, a 49-year-old retirement home worker, who "loves animals, Rolf Harris, Jesus, Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and Britain's Got Talent – but his main hobby is autograph hunting". The character first appeared as an aspiring comedian who loves animals and still lives with his mother in a 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe sketch.[51][52] Gervais's co-host Karl Pilkington makes his acting debut as Derek's friend and facilities-caretaker Dougie who also works in the retirement home. British comedian Kerry Godliman plays Derek's best friend Hannah and David Earl plays Kev.[53]

Gervais said that the series is about "kindness [being] more important than anything else". He added "It’s about the forgotten – everyone's forgotten. It’s all these arbitrary people who didn’t know each other, and they’re in there now because they’re in the last years of their life. And it’s about the people who help them, who themselves are losers and have their own problems. It’s about a bunch of people with nothing, but making the most of it, and they’re together." He chose to set the sitcom in a retirement home after he watched Secret Millionaire – "It was always these people with huge problems who were helping other people. I thought about having Derek help old people because no one cares about old people in this country... I think it's perfect for now."[54]

Channel 4 commissioned a full series of Derek that aired in early 2013.[55] Derek was re-commissioned for a second series which premiered on 23 April 2014.[56] Derek ended with a one-off final special,[57] broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK 22 December 2014.

Stand-up comedy[edit]

Gervais made some unsuccessful attempts at stand-up in the late 1990s; his first victorious show took place at the Cafe Royal, as part of the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Titled Rubbernecker, the show also featured Jimmy Carr, Robin Ince and Stephen Merchant.

Gervais later toured the UK in 2003 with his stand-up show Animals. The Politics tour followed a year later. Both of these shows were recorded for release on DVD and television broadcast. The third part of the themed live trilogy, Fame, took place in 2007. It started in Glasgow in January and ended in Sheffield in April. Blackpool reported selling out of tickets within 45 minutes of them going on sale.[58] More dates were added.

Gervais performing in 2007

Newsnight Review's panel saw Animals during its Bloomsbury run and covered it in January 2003. They were not favourable, with Private Eye editor Ian Hislop say it was "cobbled together...banal...a bit flat".[59] After this, Gervais closed each show by calling Hislop an "ugly little pug-faced cunt".[60][61]

Fame was the subject of some controversy in January 2007 when Gervais told a story, ostensibly about how people will do anything to become famous, to a Scottish audience.[62]

Gervais's fourth show was entitled Science, and commenced with an eleven-date tour in August 2009 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.[63] The DVD for Science was released on 15 November 2010.[64] In November 2009 he headlined the sixth annual New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall, New York.[65]

In 2013, Gervais announced that his next stand up show will be called Humanity.[66] In December 2014, he said he was too busy to do his tour due to producing two films.[67]

Other television appearances[edit]


One of the first animations Gervais voiced was the character of Penguin in Robbie the Reindeer's Legend of the Lost Tribe.[68]

Gervais guest-starred in an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife". He is the only British comic to write and star in a Simpsons episode. The episode was the highest rated in Sky One's history; it revolved around the angle that Gervais was the episode's sole writer (and the first guest star on the show to also receive a writing credit for the episode of his appearance). Gervais clarified the extent of his input in a joint interview (with Christopher Guest) for Dazed and Confused magazine (January 2006): "No, all I did was put down a load of observations on an email and they made it look like a Simpsons script. I'm going to get the credit, but I think everyone in the industry knows it was a joint effort". Asked in a separate interview about how his idea for the episode (in which Homer swaps Marge on a game show) came about, Gervais replied:

I've always been fascinated with reality game shows but I think it was my girlfriend's idea. We watch Celebrity Big Brother at the moment, we watch I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here... we watch all those reality TV shows — The Office came out of those docu-soaps".[69]

Gervais, a longstanding Simpsons fan, presented a segment to mark the show's 20th anniversary on BBC Two's The Culture Show on 16 June 2007.

In 2012, Gervais made a guest appearance on Family Guy in the episode titled "Be Careful What You Fish For". In the episode, Gervais plays a dolphin named Billy Finn who gives Peter Griffin a Mercedes-Benz, Peter half-heartedly promises a favor to him. Soon, Billy moves to Quahog but outstays his welcome at Peter's. Peter tries to reunite Billy with his ex-wife in hopes that he will return to the ocean. The episode also featured Lucy Davis. Both Gervais and Davis starred together in The Office.[70]

Guest star on television series[edit]

Gervais had a cameo role in Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes's sitcom, Spaced, as Dave an estate agent who mistakenly placed the advertisement for a property for a couple that turns out to be the premise of the show.[71]

In season 8 episode 6 The Hero of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Gervais was a guest at Larry David's dinner table. He played a version of himself, an egocentic self-promoting actor that annoyed David's character who was desperate for attention.[72]

Gervais has also guest-starred on Alias (appearing in the third-season episode "Façade") as Daniel Ryan, a former Royal Navy bomb-disposal specialist turned rogue Irish Republican Army bomb-maker.[73]

Louis C.K. had Gervais play Dr. Ben, his doctor on two episodes of his series Louie. Gervais would break into his trademark hysterical laugh every time his character made Louie the butt of a joke.[74]

Early in 2015, Gervais guest starred in Galavant, a four-week comedy mini-series, as Xanax the magician. The show aired on ABC and Gervais got to show off his singing skills.[75][76]


Gervais made a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live in a Digital Short during which he joked that The Office was adapted from a Japanese programme of the same name (with Steve Carell reprising his role as Michael Scott). The sketch re-creates scenes from the American and British pilot episode with Japanese elements (although in an exaggerated way). "It's funny", Gervais laughs at the end, "because it's racist".[77]

Gervais hosted the 67th Golden Globe Awards, 68th Golden Globe Awards and 69th Golden Globe Awards, his appearance in 2010 made him the first master of ceremonies since 1995. He stated:

"I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don't turn down."[78]

His performance as host received a mixed response with positive reviews from the New York Daily News and the Associated Press, but also some negative comments from The Hollywood Reporter.[79][80] His 2011 hosting of the awards was controversial for his edgy jokes that were at the expense of many of the nominees, similar to the New York Friars Club roast style jokes.[81] His jibes were described as setting "a corrosive tone" by one critic, though some celebrities were seen crying from laughter, leaving the overall reaction to be 'mixed'.[82][83]

Gervais was a guest judge on Jerry Seinfeld's NBC show The Marriage Ref alongside Larry David and Madonna.[84]

Talking Funny, which first aired in 28 April 2011, starred Gervais and fellow standup comedians Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld, they had an informal round-table discussion on standup comedy. This one off HBO special was well received by critics & audience alike.[85][86][87]

In 2013, Gervais guest starred in David Blaine: Real or Magic, a television special where Blaine proceeded to run a large needle through his forearm in front of Gervais.[88]

Talk shows[edit]

On 5 January 2006 he interviewed Larry David in a one-off special, Ricky Gervais Meets... Larry David. On 25 and 26 December of the same year Channel 4 aired similar specials in which he interviewed the actor/comedian Christopher Guest and comedian Garry Shandling. There are no plans for further episodes of Meets..., although editions with John Cleese and Matt Groening were recorded in 2006 for broadcast in 2007. A source claimed, "The Shandling experience put him off for good".[89]

In January 2009, Gervais was a guest on BravoTV Inside the Actors Studio season 15 with James Lipton, where at one point of the interview he answered Lipton's question as David Brent his character from The Office. Brent obliged the audience by singing his song "Freelove Freeway" with a guitar supplied to him by Lipton.[90]

Gervais has been on The Late Show with David Letterman 26 times.[91] In 2008, he helped Letterman read out the Late Show Top Ten List, Top Ten Stupid Things Americans Say To Brits.[92] In mid 2014, upon hearing that Letterman was up for retirement, Gervais jokingly tried to discourage him by suggesting they go on a road trip where they would spend all their money. [93]

The Graham Norton Show based in UK has invited Gervais many times over the years. He has been on Norton's couch with Stephen Merchant, the co-creator & co-writer of The Office, to promote Cemetery Junction. Another time, he was there to talk about his series Life's Too Short and Johnny Depp who was there to promote his own film was also present.[94][95]

Video games[edit]

Gervais is one of two featured comedians (the other being Katt Williams) in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV who performs at the Split Sides comedy club on the virtual stand-up stage and as an interviewee on the in game radio station We Know The Truth. For the stand-up bit a special 3-minute act was written, recorded and fully motion-captured.[96]



Gervais released a children's book in 2004, Flanimals (illustrated by Rob Steen), which depicted nonsense animals. After the success of this book, he released its sequel More Flanimals in 2005, with Flanimals of the Deep coming the next year. A new Flanimals book, Flanimals: The Day of the Bletchling, was released in October 2007. Flanimals: Pop Up was also published in 2009.[97] There is a wide range of Flanimals merchandise available, including dolls and gift cards.

Published television scripts[edit]

The Office scripts have been released in book form, with Series 1 issued in 2002,[98] and the remaining episodes following in 2003.[99]

Extras: The Illustrated Scripts: Series 1 & 2 has been released, as well.[100]

Other books[edit]

The World of Karl Pilkington presented by Gervais and Merchant. These were essentially transcripts of Xfm shows and podcasts. The illustration were done by Pilkington.[101]


Gervais's film career has included small roles as the voice of a pigeon Bugsy, in 2005's Valiant,[102] as a studio executive in 2006's For Your Consideration,[103] as museum director Dr. McPhee in 2006's Night at the Museum and its sequels Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and as "Ferdy the Fence" in the 2007 film Stardust.[104]

Gervais starred in Ghost Town as a dentist who sees spirits,[105] and was in Lowell, Massachusetts during May 2008 filming his next project, The Invention of Lying, which he starred in along with, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Louis C.K.. The social comedy, was co-written and co-directed by Gervais and Matt Robinson.[106]

Gervais and co-writer Stephen Merchant made a film called Cemetery Junction, set in 1970s Britain, about class, love and fulfilment.[107] The film was released in April 2010.

Gervais will direct and star in two upcoming films; the first, Special Correspondents, began filming in May 2015.[108][109] The comedy stars Eric Bana as a journalist and Gervais as his assistant. They pretend to report news from a war torn country but in actuality they are safe in New York.[110] The second film, Life on the Road, is a mockumentary following David Brent, a character first seen in The Office series, as he lives his dream of being a rockstar.[111][112] On 5 November 2015 Gervais signed up to play Ika Chu, a villainous cat, in an animated film Blazing Samurai. The movie is about a dog Hank played by Michael Cera who wants to be a warrior and fights with Ika Chu for the town of Kakamucho.[113]

Other appearances[edit]

Ricky Gervais performing at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in 2007

On 2 July 2005 Gervais appeared at the Live 8 event held in London's Hyde Park, where he performed his famous dance.[114]

Concert for Diana and Live Earth[edit]

On 1 July 2007 Gervais performed at the Concert for Diana in Wembley Stadium, a music event celebrating the life of the Princess of Wales. Towards the end of the event — after a pre-recorded introduction from Ben Stiller — Gervais appeared along with fellow Office star Mackenzie Crook. They performed "Free Love Freeway", a song previously heard in the fourth episode of series one of The Office. Due to a technical problem, Gervais then had to fill time until he was able to re-introduce Elton John to close the show, so he did the David Brent dance again, as well as singing the "Little Fat Man" song as performed by David Bowie in episode two of the second series of Extras.[115]

In July 2007, following Gervais's appearance at the memorial concert for the Princess of Wales, The Guardian ran a column by Daily Mirror television critic Jim Shelley entitled "Call Me Crazy... But Has Ricky Gervais Lost It?", where he described Gervais as a "tiresome embarrassment". The following week, The Guardian noted that Gervais had responded with "an exhilaratingly foul-mouthed tirade" on his website, concluding with the sentence "yes I am resting on my fucking laurels you cunt!" In this video, Gervais mocked Jim Shelley typing the words "resting on his laurels" as Gervais jokingly lashed out by stating that he was resting on his laurels and that he was not going to make another show for television, quipping: "What's the point? What is there to beat?"[116]

Personal life[edit]

Gervais lives in Hampstead,[117] having moved from Bloomsbury, with his partner of 32 years, producer and author Jane Fallon. He says they chose not to marry because "there's no point in us having an actual ceremony before the eyes of God because there is no God" or have children because they "didn't fancy dedicating 16 years of our lives. And there are too many children, of course".[118] He has a cat named Ollie given to him by Jonathan Ross.[119]

Gervais is a staunch supporter of gay rights and has praised the introduction of same sex marriage in England and Wales, calling it "a victory for all of us" and stated "anything that promotes equality, promotes progress." He added: "You can't take equality 'too far'."[120]

Gervais is an atheist[121] and a humanist,[122] and states he abandoned Christianity at the age of eight. In December 2010 he wrote an editorial for The Wall Street Journal defending his atheism.[123] He is a patron of the British Humanist Association, a British charity which promotes the humanist worldview and campaigns for a secular state and on human rights issues.[122]

Social media[edit]

He joined Twitter in December 2009 when he first hosted the 66th Golden Globes.[124] After a two-year hiatus, he returned in September 2011.[125] In 2012, Gervais won a Shorty award for Lifetime Achievement for his popular presence on social media.[126] As of March 2015 he was followed by 7 million fans whom he calls 'Twonks'.[127]

He uses social media to promote his work to his fans. After 10 years Gervais brought back his character Brent on his YouTube channel in a web series Learn Guitar with David Brent.[128][129] Gervais uses many ways to promote his new series, for example for Derek, he posts contests or questions for his fans.[130]

Gervais uses social media to raise awareness of animal welfare. He tweets links to petitions to rescue animals from captivity, he highlights the plight of animals being used for testing, and he encourages people to adopt dogs instead of buying them from breeders.[131] Gervais won the Genesis Award from the Humane Society in March 2015 for his contribution to raising awareness for animal welfare on social media.[132]

In 2014 he was named most influential London Twitter user and he is also second most hated UK personality on Twitter after Piers Morgan.[133][134]

Charity work[edit]


In 2002, Gervais took part in a charity boxing match, for Comic Relief, against Grant Bovey, who is known to the public only due to his relationship with TV personality Anthea Turner. On his Saturday afternoon radio show on Xfm London Gervais and partners Merchant and Pilkington had discussions on both Gervais's attitude towards boxing and training in general, as well as his likelihood of victory against Bovey. Initially, Merchant had questions as to why Gervais was participating in the event, due to his dislike of slight pain and his inexperience with fitness in general. He was trained for the three-round contest by famous boxing trainer brothers Frank and Eugene Maloney, at their Fight Factory gymnasium. It was the second televised charity boxing match, the first being Bob Mortimer against Les Dennis. The fight was televised by the BBC, and Gervais came out on top by a split decision verdict. Gervais later said that the experience was the 'most difficult thing' he had ever done.[135][136] He donated his £5,000 prize money to the training of a Macmillan nurse.

Animal rights[edit]

Gervais is a long time supporter of animal rights and he has stated that he will leave his fortune to animal charities.[137] He has spoken out against fox hunting and bullfighting, and wrote to Gordon Brown urging him to stop the use of black bear fur as caps for the Foot Guards.[138]

In 2013, Gervais was named Person of the Year by PETA for his work on curbing animal abuse. He uses his influence on social media to get the message out about animal cruelty in hopes of raising awareness and donations for animal organisations.[139] For PETA Gervais voiced a rabbit and Pink played an alligator in an awareness advertisement about the fact that animals need their fur not humans.[140]

Gervais named an Asian black bear, also known as a moonbear, Derek after his character Derek Noakes from his Emmy & Golden Globe nominated series Derek.[141] In December 2013, Gervais bought a $1000 cake shaped like a moonbear to raise funds for Animal Asia. He was hesitant to cut the cake as he loves the bears.[142]

In 2014, Gervais and Dame Judi Dench appeared in a video message to the public for the Soi Dog Foundation which supports the rescue of dogs meant for the table in Thailand. Together with other stars they highlight the cruelty behind this animal trade.[143]

Gervais is active in the prevention of illegal wildlife trade, he supported the handing over of ivory related trinkets to the Metropolitan police in London.[144]

A painting of a lion was produced and donated by Gervais to Lionaid, his girlfriend Jane Fallon also contributed an original work of art, limited edition prints are up for sale to raise funds for this charity.[145] Gervais also painted an elephant he called Hellaphunt for Elephant Parade, where statues of elephants are decorated or painted by new or famous artists for exhibition, limited edition smaller scale elephants are made for sale to the public to raise funds.[146]

In October 2015, Gervais was the recipient of the Animal Hero Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare at the Daily Mirror's Animal Hero Awards.[147]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Dog Eat Dog Bouncer
2005 Valiant Bugsy
2006 For Your Consideration Martin Gibb
2006 Night at the Museum Dr. McPhee
2007 Stardust Ferdy the Fence
2008 Ghost Town Dr. Bertram Pincus
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Dr. McPhee
2009 The Invention of Lying Mark Bellison Also director, writer, producer
2010 Cemetery Junction Len Taylor Also director, writer, executive producer
2011 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World Argonaut (voice)
2011 The Muppets Himself Deleted scenes only (cut from theatrical release)
2013 The Unbelievers Himself Documentary
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Mr. James Bing (voice)
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Dominic Badguy
2014 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Dr. McPhee
2015 The Little Prince The Conceited Man (voice)
2016 Special Correspondents Ian Finch Also director, writer
2016 Life on the Road David Brent Filming; also director, writer
2017 Blazing Samurai Ika Chu (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1999 The Jim Tavaré Show Various characters 7 episodes
Writer of 12 episodes
1999 Comedy Lab Clive Meadows Episode: "Golden Years"
Also writer
2000 The 11 O'Clock Show Various 20 episodes
2000 Bruiser N/A Writer of 5 episodes
2000 Meet Ricky Gervais Host 6 episodes
2001 Spaced Dave Episode: "Dissolution"
2001–2003 The Office (UK TV series) David Brent 15 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, director
2002 Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe Penguin (voice) TV Special
2003 Happiness Himself Episode: "Real Dancing"
2003 Ricky Gervais Live: Animals Himself Stand-up Special
2004 Ricky Gervais Live 2: Politics Himself Stand-up Special
2004 Alias Daniel Ryan Episode: "Façade"
2005–2013 The Office (U.S. TV series) David Brent 2 episodes
Also co-creator, executive producer, writer
2005–2007 Extras Andy Millman 13 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, director, executive producer
2006 The Simpsons Charles Heathbar (voice) Episode: "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife"
Also writer
2007 Ricky Gervais Live 3: Fame Himself Stand-up Special
2007 The F Word Himself Series 3 Episode 9 TV Series Documentary
2008 Ricky Gervais: Out of England - The Stand-Up Special Himself Stand-up Special
2009 Sesame Street Himself 3 episodes
2009 SpongeBob SquarePants Narrator Episode: "SpongeBob's Truth or Square"
2010 67th Golden Globe Awards Host TV Special
2010–2012 The Ricky Gervais Show Himself (voice)[148] 39 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, executive producer
2010–2012 An Idiot Abroad Himself 21 episodes
Also co-creator, executive producer
2010 Louie Dr. Ben 2 episodes
2010 Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2 - The Stand-Up Special Himself Stand-up Special
2010 Ricky Gervais Live 4: Science Himself Stand-up Special
2010 The Marriage Ref Himself 2 episodes
2011 68th Golden Globe Awards Host TV Special
2011, 2013 Life's Too Short Himself 7 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, director, executive producer
2011 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Angry Dad: The Movie"
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself Episode: "The Hero"
2012 Trust Us With Your Life Himself Episode 4
2012 69th Golden Globe Awards Host TV Special
2012 Family Guy Billy Finn (voice) Episode: "Be Careful What You Fish For"
2012–2014 Derek Derek Noakes Also creator, writer, director, executive producer
2013 Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Announcer Episode 2
2013 David Blaine: Real or Magic Himself TV Special
2015 Galavant Xanax Episode: "Dungeons and Dragon Lady"
2015 BoJack Horseman Hedgehog (voice) Episode: "Out to Sea"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice
2005 Resident Evil 4 Manic Brent
2006 Scarface: The World Is Yours Englishman
2008 Grand Theft Auto IV Himself
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Dr. McPhee

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2002 British Academy Television Awards Best Situation Comedy The Office Won
Best Comedy Performance Won
British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Actor Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Writer's Award Won
Royal Television Society Best Actor - Male Nominated
2003 British Academy Television Awards Best Situation Comedy Won
Best Comedy Performance Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Writer's Award Won
Royal Television Society Best Comedy Performance Won
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2004 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Won
British Academy Television Awards Best Situation Comedy Won
Best Comedy Performance Won
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Writers of the Year Won
Royal Television Society Best Comedy Performance Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Won
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2005 British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Extras Nominated
Best New TV Comedy Nominated
Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special The Office Christmas specials Nominated
TCA Awards TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials The Office Won
2006 Writers Guild of America Award Television: Comedy Series Nominated
Television: New Series Nominated
British Academy Television Awards Best Situation Comedy Extras Nominated
Best Writer Nominated
Banff World Television Festival Best Comedy Program Won
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Nominated
Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Comedy/Entertainment Nominated
Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival[149] Honorary Rose for Exceptional Contribution to the Global Entertainment Business Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Office Won
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Extras Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy The Office Won
Program of the Year Nominated
Satellite Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
2007 Writers Guild of America Award Television: Comedy Series Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Comedy Won
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Television Comedy/Light Entertainment Extras Nominated
British Academy Television Awards Best Situation Comedy Nominated
Best Writer Nominated
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Extras Won
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy The Office Won
Satellite Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Extras Nominated
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best DVD Release of a TV Show The Office Nominated
AFI Awards TV Program of the Year Won
2008 Golden Globe Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Extras Won
Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Comedy The Office Nominated
Extras Nominated
Banff World Television Festival Best Comedy Program Won
British Comedy Awards Best Television Comedy Actor Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Comedy/Entertainment Nominated
Writer's Award Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Outstanding Television Movie Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy The Office Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Ghost Town Won
2009 Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy The Office Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Comedy Nominated
ASTRA Awards Favourite International Personality or Actor Extras Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special Ricky Gervais: Out of England - The Stand-Up Special Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special Nominated
PRISM Awards Comedy Multi-Episode Storyline The Office Won
AFI Awards TV Program of the Year Won
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2010 Golden Globe Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Comedy Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards Peter Sellers Award for Comedy The Invention of Lying Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Outstanding Animated Program The Ricky Gervais Show Nominated
2011 Producers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Comedy The Office Nominated
TV Quick Awards Best Comedy Show The Ricky Gervais Show Nominated
The Comedy Awards Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Stand-up Special Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2 - The Stand-Up Special Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Comedy Series The Office Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Special Class Program 68th Golden Globe Awards Nominated
2012 National Television Awards Most Popular Factual Programme An Idiot Abroad Nominated
New York International Short Film Festival Best Comedy Derek Won
Shorty Award Lifetime Achievement Award The Office Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Multichannel Programme An Idiot Abroad Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Class Program 69th Golden Globe Awards Nominated
Satellite Award Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy The Office Nominated
2014 People's Choice Awards[150] Favorite Series We Miss Most Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award[151] Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Derek Nominated
2015 Golden Globe Award[152] Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award[153] Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Derek Nominated


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  • Gervais, Ricky (March 2005). Flanimals. Putnam Juvenile. ISBN 0399243976. 
  • Gervais, Ricky (March 2006). More Flanimals. Putnam Juvenile. ISBN 0399246053. 
  • Gervais, Ricky (October 2006). Flanimals of the Deep. Faber Children's Books. ISBN 0571234038. 
  • Gervais, Ricky (October 2007). Flanimals: The Day of the Bletchling. Faber Children's Books. ISBN 0571238513. 
  • Gervais, Ricky (December 2007). Flanimals: A Complete Natural History. Faber Children's Books. ISBN 0571238505. 
  • Gervais, Ricky (March 2010). Flanimals Pop-up. Candlewick. ISBN 0399246053. 
  • Gervais, Ricky; Merchant, Stephen (November 2006). Extras: The Illustrated Scripts: Series 1 & 2. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 0316030392. 
  • Gervais, Ricky; Merchant, Stephen (August 2007). The Office: The Scripts Series 1. BBC Books. ISBN 0563488476. 
  • Gervais, Ricky; Merchant, Stephen (August 2007). The Office: The Scripts Series 2. BBC Books. ISBN 0563487410. 
  • Pilkington, Karl (September 2006). Ricky Gervais presents: The World of Karl Pilkington. Hachette Books. ISBN 1401303420. 


External links[edit]