Ricky Gervais


Ricky Gervais

Infobox actor



caption = Gervais at the 2007 BAFTAs.
birthdate = birth date and age|1961|06|25|df=yes
birthplace = Reading, England
occupation = stand-up, television, film, radio, author
nationality = British
yearsactive = 1983-present
domesticpartner = Jane Fallon
website = http://www.rickygervais.com/
emmyawards = Outstanding Comedy Series
2006 "The Office"
Outstanding Lead Actor - Comedy Series
2007 "Extras"
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series
2004 "The Office"
Best Series - Musical or Comedy
2004 "Extras"
Best Series - Musical or Comedy
2008 "The Office"
baftaawards = Best Comedy Performance
2002 "The Office"
2003 "The Office"
2004 "The Office"
2007 "Extras"
Situation Comedy Award
2002 "The Office"
2003 "The Office"
2004 "The Office"

Ricky Dene Gervais (pronounced|dʒɜːˈveɪz; born 25 June 1961) is an English actor, comedian, writer, director, producer and former pop musician from Reading, Berkshire. Gervais achieved mainstream fame with his ground-breaking television series "The Office" and the subsequent series "Extras", both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and collaborator, Stephen Merchant. Besides writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in "The Office" and Andy Millman in "Extras". Gervais has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including "For Your Consideration", "Stardust", "Night at the Museum" and "Ghost Town", in which he assumes the leading role.

Gervais has performed on three sell-out stand-up comedy tours, wrote the best-selling "Flanimals" book series, and starred with Merchant and Karl Pilkington in his podcast "The Ricky Gervais Show". He has accumulated a multitude of awards and honours throughout his career, including seven BAFTA Awards, four 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.

Early life

Gervais, along with siblings Larry, Marsha, and Bob, was raised in the suburb of Whitley in Reading, Berkshire. Gervais's father Jerry, a Franco-Ontarian, emigrated while on foreign duty during the Second World War from London, Ontario, Canada. Jerry met Gervais's mother, Eva, during a blackout, [The Independent (2005) -- "His father, Jerry, was a French-Canadian ... soldier stationed here during the war. He met Eva, the comedian's mother, during a blackout and they settled in Reading."] and both settled in Whitley.

During Xfm London's "The Ricky Gervais Show" and in further newspaper interviews with The Independent, Gervais noted that he believes his birth was unplanned due to the age difference between his youngest sibling and himself. During one interview with the Independent, Gervais tells the author that even his mother admitted his birth was unplanned. [The Independent (2005) -- "Ricky Gervais was born 44 years ago, a mistake. "My mum told me that," he says. "She went 'You was an accident'. I went 'Cheers!' Ha ha! A lot of honesty in my family"]

Gervais has stated that his upbringing and childhood were stable and trauma-free, with a high level of honesty and openness between his family members. He described it as "much like ["how"] The Waltons" made fun of each other. [Independent (2005). -- "The youngest, by some way, of four brothers, his childhood was trauma-free. Like The Waltons, he says, "If the Waltons took the piss out of each other. You had to be able to answer back." The first time he did, he got a laugh and, his family reasoned, "He'll be alright.""]

Gervais began his secondary education at Ashmead School, before moving on to University College London in 1979. While there, he studied Biology, and later changed to Philosophy, in which he received a . It was during his time at UCL that he met his long-time girlfriend, Jane Fallon.

Personal life

Gervais resides in London with his partner of 25 years, British television producer and best-selling author Jane Fallon. They have a pet cat, named Ollie (given to him by Jonathan Ross), and a salamander named Tel (now deceased). [ [http://www.rickygervais.com/gqapr06.php Ricky Gervais... Obviously ] ]

Watching wildlife programmes as a child affected Gervais's understanding of cruelty towards animals. He is supportive of a declaration for animal rights, as well as the WSPA (an animal welfare organisation), and is against fox-hunting and bull fighting. [ [http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?in_article_id=35340&in_page_id=11 60 SECONDS: Ricky Gervais | Metro.co.uk ] ] He has also written to PM Gordon Brown urging him to implement a fur-free policy at the Ministry of Defence, as Gervais is against the use of real Canadian black bear fur in the Bearskins used by the Foot Guards. [ [http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/ricky_gervais_bearskins?qp_source=pukfbmsg PETA] ]

Ricky Gervais says he was an atheist by the age of ten. [ [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-463974/Gervais-I-say-sorry-vicar-joking-mothers-funeral.html Gervais: I had to say sorry to vicar for joking at my mother's funeral] by James Tapper, Daily Mail (UK). 25 June 2007] In 2007 he told Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs, "I'm an atheist". [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/desertislanddiscs_20070624.shtml BBC Radio 4 - Factual - Desert Island Discs - Ricky Gervais] ] In June 2008 he became an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

He cannot drive, as stated in his radio show as well as in the DVD commentaries to "The Office" and "Politics". He has a second-floor office in Tottenham Court Road, London, where he records his podcasts with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. [ [http://www.rickygervais.com/pilkington_gu_guide.php Ricky Gervais... Obviously ] ]

A gang stole £200,000 from his bank account by pasting a picture of him from his "Office" DVD onto a dead man's passport and using an insider from the bank to transfer the funds. When they tried to use the money to buy gold, they were arrested. They were sentenced to between two and two and a half years in prison. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4376583.stm BBC NEWS | England | London | Gervais account fraudsters jailed ] ]

Gervais is also a friend of Jon Stewart [ [http://www.ifilm.com/video/2806025/show/17676 Honda - Comedy Central - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - Ricky Gervais Pt. 1 - SPIKE Powered By IFILM ] ] and is a frequent guest on his show, "The Daily Show".

He is also commonly a guest on the Opie & Anthony Show.Fact|date=August 2008

Career

Music

In his final year in 1983 as a student at UCL, [Thomas, S., et al. (1983).] Gervais and his friend Bill Macrae formed a pop duo, Seona Dancing (named after a friend and fellow student Seona Myerscough), and they were signed by record label London Records. London Records released two of their singles: "More to Lose" and "Bitter Heart". The singles failed to break the top 40, charting at positions 117 and 70 of the UK singles charts respectively. [The Independent (2005). -- "Aged 21, he was in a band himself, new romantics Seona Dancing. Their singles reached 117 and 70. The video for one, "Bitter Heart", was set in a blacksmith's."]

A year later, the single "More to Lose" was re-released in Manila as "Medium" by "Fade". The single gained a following by Filipino teenagers after being played by a local DJ on station DWRT-FM (99.5).

He was briefly the manager of the band Suede and a Queen tribute band.

Radio

Gervais subsequently worked as an events manager for the University of London Union (ULU), [The Observer (2005) -- "'Not at all,' he says. 'When I was working at ULU I never thought, "This is shit" or "The money is bad." I thought: "This is quite a good job." I suppose if all this had not come along I might now have been a 43-year-old entertainments manager. But that never worried me at the time."] where he continued working until he was offered, and accepted, a similar job as "head of speech" at Xfm London. [The Observer (2005) -- "Instead of a stand-up career, Gervais moved from ULU to a job as head of speech at the alternative radio station Xfm."]

Gervais, needing an assistant, interviewed the first person whose curriculum vitae he saw. The CV belonged to Stephen Merchant. During the interview at a local pub, Gervais asked Merchant to do "all the boring stuff" due to his experience in media studies while Gervais "mess ["ed"] around". Merchant agreed. [The Observer (2005). -- "Merchant was his deputy. Instead of worrying too much about being heads of speech, they mostly worked on little routines. Merchant was sometimes obliged to wheel his boss around the office in his executive chair. 'I remember going out for a drink with Steve early on,' Gervais says. 'I said to him, "You've done media studies, you can do all the boring stuff, all the filing, I'll mess around." He said: "OK." And that was that."] In 1996 he was made redundant when the station was taken over by the Capital Radio group.

Gervais was music adviser for the popular 1996-1997 BBC drama "This Life", which was being produced by his girlfriend Jane Fallon. He and Merchant also contributed sketches to BBC Radio 1's The Breezeblock in 1999 and 2000.

Following the first season of "The Office", Gervais and Merchant returned to Xfm in November 2001 for a Saturday radio show. The show ran intermittently until January 2004 with breaks of 1-3 months between new shows. This was their first time working with Karl Pilkington. Pilkington produced the shows and later collaborated with them on their series of podcasts.

Gervais then took 18 months off to work on his new television show Extras, write "Flanimals", and perform his live show "Politics".

He returned to the airwaves on 28 May 2005 to host the show once again with Pilkington and Merchant. He was also heard on BBC Radio 2 during Christmas 2005, sitting in for Jonathan Ross for two weeks.

Podcast

On 5 December 2005, "Guardian Unlimited" began offering the first of twelve free weekly podcasts featuring Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington. 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. [ [http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1703591,00.html Gervais podcast in the record books | Guardian, The (London)] ] On 20 February 2006, after the conclusion of the twelve-podcast series, it was announced that all future episodes would be available from Audible.com at a "nominal fee". Two more series of six podcasts each were released between February and September 2006.

In late 2006, three more free podcasts were released. Together called "The Podfather Trilogy," these debuted at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, respectively. 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' 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 a final set of audiobooks running over 2 hours, which was released on the 16th September.

Television

Gervais 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. He then came to much wider national attention with an obnoxious, cutting persona featured in a topical slot which replaced Ali G's segments on the satirical Channel 4 comedy programme "The 11 O'Clock Show" in early 1999 where 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.

Throughout this time Gervais also wrote for BBC sketch show "Bruiser" and "The Jim Tavare Show", and had cameo roles in Channel 4's sitcom "Spaced"; it is speculated that the cameo is indeed "The Office" character David Brent. However both series of "Spaced" finished airing before "The Office" premiered. Gervais also appeared in a few of Channel 4's 'Top 100...' list programmes, and voiced the character of Penguin in Robbie the Reindeer's "Legend of the Lost Tribe". His voice was redubbed for the US market.

On 5 January 2006, he interviewed Larry David, in a one off special, "Ricky Gervais Meets... Larry David". On 25 December and 26 December of the same year, Channel 4 aired similar specials where he interviewed the actor/comedian Christopher Guest and infamously 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."Deedes, Henry. (2007). "PANDORA: By George, we salute you for your indefatigability" Independent News and Media Limited Retrieved on 22 July 2007 from [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/pandora/article2125389.ece http://news.independent.co.uk/people/pandora/article2125389.ece] Independent News and Media Limited ]

Gervais guest-starred in an episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", which aired on 26 March 2006 in the United States, on 23 April 2006 in the United Kingdom, and on 18 July 2006 in Australia. 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, arguably due to its extensive promotion, which 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". [cite web|url=http://www.ukula.com/TorontoArticle.aspx?SectionID=3&ObjectID=1665&CityID=3|title= Interview at UKULA] Criticisms of the episode include its promotion of high definition television Fact|date=March 2008 (Sky has just launched an HD service) as well as the quality of the scriptFact|date=March 2008. Gervais is a long-standing "Simpsons" fan and presented a segment to mark the show's 20th anniversary on BBC Two's "The Culture Show" on 16 June 2007.

Gervais also guest-starred on "Alias", appearing in the third-season episode "Façade") as Daniel Ryan, an English former Royal Navy bomb disposal specialist turned rogue Irish Republican Army bomb-maker. He has said about the appearance, "I did an episode of "Alias", and I can't watch it. Me being serious. I can't watch it."

In late 2007, Gervais expressed interest in performing in the worldwide hit TV series "Heroes". The character is said to be an 'extended' temporary character, to appear in a number of episodes, as verified by Gervais himself on the Heroes-related documentary "Heroes Unmasked".Fact|date=December 2007

Gervais made a cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in a "Digital Short" where he claims that "The Office" was adapted from a Japanese program of the same name (with Steve Carell reprising his role as Michael Scott). The sketch recreates scenes from the American and British pilot episode with Japanese elements (albeit in a exaggerated way). "It's funny," Gervais laughs at the end, "because it's racist."

He has also appeared several times on "The Late Show With David Letterman".

"The Office"

In August 1999, while on a BBC production course, Stephen Merchant had to make his own short subject. He chose to make a docu-soap parody, set in an office. This sketch later formed the basis of the interview episode. [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20010824/ai_n14404548 Edinburgh Festival 2001: More than The Office comedian | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] With help from Ash Atalla, Merchant passed this tape onto to the BBC's Head of Entertainment Paul Jackson at the Edinburgh Fringe, who then passed it onto Head of Comedy Jon Plowman who eventually commissioned a full pilot script from Merchant and Gervais.

The first six-episode series of "The Office" aired in the UK in July and August 2001 to little fanfare or attention. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2002/09/18/baoff.xml - The big cheese, "The Telegraph", 18/09/2002] ] Word-of-mouth, repeats and DVDs helped spread the word, building up huge momentum and anticipation for the second series, also comprising six episodes, in September 2002. [ [http://www.offthetelly.co.uk/comedy/funnybusiness.htm FUNNY BUSINESS] ] The second series topped the BBC Two ratings, and the show then switched to BBC One in December 2003 for its final two special episodes.

"The Office" has since been remade for audiences in France, Germany, Quebec, and the United States. Gervais and Merchant are producers of the American version, and also co-wrote the episodes "The Convict" for the show's third season and "Business Ethics" for the show's fifth.

"Extras"

"Extras" debuted on the BBC on 21 July 2005; it premiered on HBO in the United States in September 2005. Written and 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' "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, 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 Winslett, Robert De Niro and Jonathan Ross.

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

On 10 June 2006, Gervais and Merchant were seen in a specially-filmed promotional sketch for Extras 2 in the middle of BBC1's World Cup football coverage. This time, Gervais did not perform his famous dance. Instead, Merchant did - a take-off of the Crouch Dance, recently popularised by England striker Peter Crouch.

Some have suggested Gervais is influenced by "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Larry Sanders Show" in making "Extras", particularly in the format of celebrities making fools of themselves or subverting their public personas, [http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2006/09/extras_work_needed_ricky.html Extras work needed, Ricky? | Organgrinder | Guardian Unlimited ] ] and the Gervais joke of someone making inappropriate remarks in front of a member of a minority. He has interviewed both Larry David and Garry Shandling, creators of these shows, on "Ricky Gervais Meets..."

Extras was awarded the Golden Globe award for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy on 14 January 2008.

tand-up comedy

Gervais made a few attempts at stand-up in the late 1990s, but his first successful show took place at the Cafe Royal, as part of 2001's Edinburgh 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. [ [http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2006/12/13/4816/what_a_sell-out What a sell-out, Huge demand for Gervais tour] ] More dates were added.

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 being the most explicit in his criticism. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/review/2654105.stm BBC News, 13 January 2003] ] After this, Gervais closed each show by calling Hislop an "ugly little pug-faced cunt." Further coverage on Newsnight Review has been overwhelmingly favourable, with the panelists playing 'themselves' in promos for the second series of "Extras". Panel regulars Germaine Greer, Mark Kermode and Mark Lawson also appeared as 'themselves' reviewing "When The Whistle Blows" in a series episode. Critic Lawson is a great admirer of Gervais and Merchant, having interviewed them extensively for television, print "Front Row" and the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

"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. [ [http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news?id=26941 Entertainment Wise] ] The story referred to a question asked of Gervais five years earlier by a reporter: what can you do to become famous? To which he replied, "Go out and kill a prostitute." He followed up with the punchline, "I won't do that bit in Ipswich," referring to the December 2006 murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich. The joke even drew criticism from the father of one of the victims, Tania Nicol: "These days they want to make a joke out of anything. I feel he’s just being uncaring, quite honestly." Gervais did not apologise, but did attempt to defend himself: "I do want people to know that that happened five years ago and is not related to anything now. That is the problem with comedy, a joke that is funny today can be a terrible faux pas tomorrow."

He has performed stand-up in the U.S. three times. He performed two warm up shows at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center and headlined David Bowie's High Line Festival in May 2007. [ [http://www.eonline.com/news/article/?uuid=6ebf9375-149d-4a10-b113-858958b80614 E! News - Bowie Takes the High Line - David Bowie | Ricky Gervais ] ]

In "Grand Theft Auto IV", Gervais can be seen at a comedy club performing a 4 minute routine. There are several different performances that can be seen, composed mostly of material from his 'Fame' tour.

Books

Flanimals

Gervais released a children's book in 2004, "Flanimals" - illustrated by his friend 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, "Day of the Bletching", came out in October 2007.

There is a wide range of Flanimals merchandise available, including dolls and gift cards. A six-part Flanimals TV series has been commissioned by ITV [ [http://www.flanimals.com/ Flanimals ] ] although Gervais had previously claimed signing a Hollywood movie deal [ [http://old.chortle.co.uk/news/nov04/flanimals.php News: Gervais signs Hollywood deal ] ] so that a franchise could be developed. "That way it stands a chance of being the next Dr. Seuss or Mr Men". [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article321354.ece Ricky Gervais: My life as a superstar - People, News - Independent.co.uk ] ]

Other books

"The Office" scripts were released in book form, with Series 1 issued in 2002, and the remaining episodes following in 2003.

In late 2006 the "Extras" scriptbook was released, as well as "The World of Karl Pilkington" presented by Gervais and Merchant. These were essentially transcripts of Xfm/podcast routines performed by the three.

Film

Gervais's film career has included small roles as the voice of a pigeon in 2005's "Valiant", as a studio executive in 2006's "For Your Consideration", as museum director Dr. McPhee in 2006's "Night at the Museum", and as "Ferdy the Fence" in the 2007 film "Stardust". His role in "Night at the Museum" has proven to be one of Gervais's most popular roles, with the movie grossing $570 million worldwide. [Green, Graeme. (2007). "60 SECONDS: Ricky Gervais" Retrieved on 22 July 2007 from [http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?in_article_id=35340&in_page_id=11 http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?in_article_id=35340&in_page_id=11] METRO Newspaper] [Green, Graeme. (2007)., -- " [Green:] After having your own Simpsons episode and working with Robert De Niro, are there any other big ambitions left to fulfil? [...] [Gervais:] I get offered 50 diversions a day. I could be the guest on every panel show or the butler in loads of films. But when The Simpsons calls or Robert De Niro calls, you say ‘yes’ to them and ‘no’ to the other 49." ]

At one point, Gervais was considered for a role in the Tom Cruise movie "", but it never came to fruition - Gervais cited reasons for this, on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross": "It was a bigger part than I first thought."

Gervais starred in "Ghost Town", which was released on 19 September 2008, and was in Lowell, MA through May 2008 filming his next project, "This Side of the Truth", starring himself, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and Jason Bateman, with appearances by Tina Fey and Jeffrey Tambor. The comedy is co-written and co-directed by Gervais and Matt Robinson.

Other appearances

On 2 July 2005, Gervais appeared at the Live 8 event held in Hyde Park, London, where he performed his famous dance. He produced a series of short films for the cause, linked acts from the studio with Jonathan Ross, and also introduced the group R.E.M.

Gervais also has a role in the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV", as himself, appearing in his role as a comedian in a comedy club, and as an interviewee on radio station "We Know The Truth". For this, a special 3-minute act was written, recorded and fully motion-captured. [British Office Star Ricky Gervais Appears In GTA IV http://kotaku.com/380990/british-office-star-ricky-gervais-appears-in-gta-iv]

Gervais wrote and starred in the Simpsons episode, Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife.

Boxing

In 2002, Gervais took part in a charity boxing match against entrepreneur Grant Bovey - known largely by the public due to his relationship with TV personality Anthea Turner. On his Saturday afternoon Radio show on Xfm London Gervais and partners Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington had discussions on both Ricky'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.

In the weeks before the event was scheduled to take place both Merchant and Pilkington voiced their doubts as to his fitness due to illness which he had sustained weeks before the event, humorously, by stating that both they and Gervais' family had written up a petition to the BBC stating "Please do not allow this man to box"."Fact|date=November 2007

Gervais was trained for the three-round contest by boxing famous 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, for Comic Relief. 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. He donated his £5,000 prize money to the training of a Macmillan nurse.

Concert for Diana and Live Earth

On 1 July 2007, Gervais performed at the Concert for Diana in Wembley Stadium, a music event celebrating the life of the late 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 "Freelove 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".

On 7 July, 2007 Gervais appeared at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London. Gervais introduced Rob Reiner appearing in the guise of spoof film director Marty Di Bergi, who in turn introduced Spinal Tap. At the start of the concert, Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, who was acting as compère for part of the event, announced that Gervais would be appearing and performing an 'extended 25-minute set', which ultimately failed to happen. It is unclear whether this was meant as a joke, perhaps referring to the time Gervais had to fill at the Concert for Diana the previous Sunday, or if it was simply cut because of time constraints, but in an off-stage segment later Moyles actually expressed disappointment that it didn't occur. Gervais himself however did reference his appearance at the Diana concert the previous week, saying, 'Now listen, we're running late, so I'm gonna be off this stage in 30 seconds, whether Elton John is fucking ready or not,' making him one of a number of people to swear on live TV at the event.

Accolades

Gervais has received many awards for his work on "The Office", most notably two Golden Globes (one for acting, one for the show itself), as well as numerous British Academy Television Awards and British Comedy Awards, amongst others. The show missed out on what was considered to be a definite Emmy Award nomination because there were not enough episodes broadcast in the U.S. before the deadline for consideration. [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0315041/news Ricky Gervais - News ] ]

Gervais received an honorary award at the annual Rose d'Or ceremony in Switzerland on 29 April 2006. The award is given to "an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the global entertainment business". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4809312.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Rose d'Or honour for TV's Gervais ] ]

On 16 September 2007, Gervais won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role of Andy Millman on "Extras". [cite news | author= | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6994527.stm | title=2007 Emmy Winners | publisher=BBC News Online | date=2007-09-17 | accessdate=2007-09-17]

Criticism and controversy

The Independent newspaper has described Gervais as "obsessed by his own celebrity," but adds, "Who wouldn't want to be Peter Lawford in a comedy Rat Pack?" in reference to "Ricky Gervais Meets..."; the article, however, also describes him as "a very funny man" who "created one of the great sitcoms". [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2152792.ece Ricky Gervais: Step into my office - People, News - Independent.co.uk ] ] 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".

In September 2005 he caused mild controversy by recording a radio advert for a prostate cancer charity which was only allowed to be broadcast from 9pm to 6am because of its content. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4298076.stm BBC NEWS | Health | Anger over cancer ad censorship ] ] However, on 3 October 2005, the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre announced that the advert could be broadcast before 9pm, but stipulated that a "squish" noise should be removed. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4305944.stm BBC NEWS | Health | U-turn on Gervais prostate advert ] ]

In February 2007, British ventriloquist Keith Harris refused an invite to appear on the second series of "Extras", claiming that Gervais "wanted me to be a racist bigot" and describing the script as "pure filth." [cite web | url = http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/article/ventriloquist%20shocked%20by%20rickys%20racist%20script_1007228 | title = RICKY GERVAIS - VENTRILOQUIST SHOCKED BY RICKY'S 'RACIST' SCRIPT | date = 1 February 2007 | accessdate = 2008-09-11] When asked about Harris' refusal on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Gervais claimed that Harris simply "didn't get it". [cite episode |title= Friday Night with Jonathan Ross|episodelink= |series= |serieslink= |credits= |network= BBC One|station= |airdate= 2009-09-08|season= |seriesno= |number= |minutes= ] Keith Chegwin, who assumed the role offered to Harris, said "the people who didn't get it probably think Johnny Depp really is a pirate." [cite news |last = Shennan |first = Paddy| url = http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_objectid=17753518&method=full&siteid=50061&headline=cheggers--i-m-not-really-that-foul-mouthed-bigot-name_page.html | title = Cheggers: I'm not really that foul-mouthed bigot | work = Liverpool Echo | date = 15 September 2006 | accessdate = 2009-09-11]

In July 2007, following Gervais' appearance at the memorial concert for Diana, 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?" [ [http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/tv/2007/07/call_me_crazy_but_has_ricky_ge.html Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - TV & radio: Call me crazy ... but has Ricky Gervais lost it? ] ] This related to his performance at the concert for Diana in which he had to fill time after a technical fault in the sound system for Elton John's performance. He was not allowed to use material from his current stand-up show 'Fame' for legal reasons, so instead performed his famous Brent Dance that the audience willed him to do and sang the song "Little Fat Man" from Extras series two (originally performed by David Bowie in the series) before being told he could hand back to the BBC. Gervais was allegedly booed off stage. [http://www.allgervais.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1186920387&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&] He tells British radio station Heart FM, "After the Diana concert there was one guy - who works for a tabloid - and he wrote that the crowd booed… they didn't boo, they loved it." "People love it when something goes wrong and I was standing there and they demanded I do 'the robot dance' and it was funny."

The following week, the Guardian noted that Gervais had responded with "an exhilaratingly foul-mouthed tirade" on his website, concluding with the words, "Yes I am resting on my laurels you cunt!", in this video Gervais mocked Jim Shelley typing the words "Resting on his laurels" as Ricky jokingly lashed out by stating he was resting on his laurels and that he was not going to make another show for television and saying "What's the point? What is there to beat?". [ [http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/tv/2007/07/ricky_gervais_resting_on_my_la.html Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - TV & radio: Ricky Gervais: 'Resting on my laurels? Yes!' ] ]

Filmography

References

Interviews

*The Independent, et al. (2005). "Ricky Gervais: My life as a superstar" [Electronic Version] Independent News Media: United Kingdom
*The Guardian Newspaper, et al. (2005). "Second Coming" Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007: United Kingdom
*Thomas, S., et al. (1983). "More to lose - everything to gain" [Electronic Version] Retrieved on 8 July 2007 from [http://www.seonadancing.com/article.jpg] New Music Express : London

External links

* [http://www.rickygervais.com RickyGervais.com] Official Site
* [http://www.allgervais.com AllGervais.com] - Ricky Gervais Resource
*imdb name|id=0315041|name=Ricky Gervais
* [http://fora.tv/fora/showthread.php?t=676 Ricky Gervais at the Oxonian Society] video
* [http://television.aol.com/tv-celebrity-interviews/ricky-gervais Ricky Gervais interview]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2007/03/30/ricky_gervais_review_280307_feature.shtml BBC interview]


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