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August 1, 2014

Ricky Gervais Interview for 'Extras'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Sep 16th 2008 6:00AM
Ricky Gervais"I don't wake up in the morning and say things like, "Ugh, I've got to work with f---ing David Bowie again today."

Ricky Gervais doesn't really hate handicapped people. He just plays a guy who hates them on stage.

The funnyman best known as creator and star of the original British 'The Office' and the HBO hit series 'Extras' returns to HBO this fall with his latest comedy act, 'The Out of England Tour' (premiering in November). The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star is also up for three Emmys, including Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, for his 'Extras: Extra-Special Series Finale.'

Gervais talked to AOL TV about his upcoming projects, being in awe of Daniel Day-Lewis and why Steve Carell should watch his back -- literally.


Ricky Gervais Q&A

    Ricky Gervais doesn't really hate handicapped people. He just plays a guy who hates them on stage.

    The funnyman best known as creator and star of the original British 'The Office' and the HBO hit series 'Extras' returns to HBO this fall with his latest comedy act, 'The Out of England Tour' (premiering in November). The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star is also up for three Emmys, including Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, for his 'Extras: Extra-Special Series Finale.'

    Gervais talked to AOL TV about his upcoming projects, being in awe of Daniel Day-Lewis and why Steve Carell should watch his back -- literally. -- By Maggie Furlong

    C.J. LaFrance, Getty Images

    1. What can we expect from your upcoming HBO comedy special?

    I don't want to say if you're easily offended, because there's nothing ... there are buzz words that scare people. Saying things like "cancer" and "autism" and "race" and "disability" -- those are scary words, but I think people are going to be grown up about it. It's very nice that people got it. They're just things we all talk about. You know, the biggies -- Hitler [laughs], autism. The comedy staples. [Laughs] I don't know what I'd do without Hitler!

    Anwar Hussein, WireImage

    2. It sounds like you came up with a list of untouchable topics, then touched on every single one of them.

    And I did! But this is why I like an intelligent crowd, because they got it. I can justify everything I do -- I don't go out to shock and hurt and smash. I can't laugh at someone that's being nasty or picking on someone, but I think people get the joke here -- I'm the idiot and I'm getting things wrong. People know why it's funny -- I'm not getting the wrong laugh, you know? I'm not getting an audience of Nazis. I'm not getting people going, "Yeah, f--- those autistic people." [Laughs] They know the joke.

    Dave M. Benet, Getty Images

    3. You played the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held, and Madison Square Garden -- what was your favorite stop on the tour?

    Well it's no good to say I played the place where sometimes someone gets an Oscar. [Laughs] I hung out at a place where someone got a Noble Peace Prize once. [Laughs] No, of course, secretly I do like playing those iconic places, but I don't know if I had a highlight -- I couldn't choose. After I played the Kodak it was my new favorite place in the world. Then I played Madison Square Garden, and it was amazing as well. When I played Edinburgh Castle, people were outside and we were worried about it raining. Not only did it not rain, but as I came on stage, the sun dipped behind the castle and the sky was red and these Scottish pipers played me on the stage.

    Getty Images

    4. That sounds straight out of a movie!

    You know what? My life does. The last couple of years -- it's not like a career, it's like I won a competition. But I want you to know that I don't take it for granted. I'm never blasé, I don't wake up in the morning and say things like, "Ugh, I've got to work with f---ing David Bowie again today." [Laughs] I know how lucky I am -- it's mental!

    Everett Collection

    5. Do you think 'Extras' and 'The Office' will hold up through the years?

    That would be a dream. My favorite was always Laurel & Hardy and basically they did what I'm just doing today. Obviously, I'm not comparing myself to Laurel & Hardy [laughs], but I do like things that don't rely on you having watched TV or read the news that day. Boy meets girl, fame and friendship -- those things will never change. Those are the sort of things I assume will be relevant many years from now. I'd like people to say, "Ricky Gervais -- he doesn't just make you laugh, he makes you think." [Beat] He makes you think, "I wish he was funnier." [Laughs]

    Getty Images

    6. How hard was it to get all those huge stars to guest on 'Extras'?

    That's where I got the idea for 'Extras' really -- as 'The Office' was starting in America, all these incredible heroes of mine were saying their favorite show was 'The Office.' So we said, alright, put your money where your mouth is. So I called them up and said, "You like me that much? You've got to come to a place near Slough and we're gonna make you look like an idiot for no money. How would that sound?" [Laughs] How could you resist that?

    HBO

    7. What's been the biggest stand-out moment of your career so far?

    There are a couple that spring to mind -- the Golden Globes would be a huge one. I've been a fan of everything American from a really early age. To go there, and it was this little show on BBC America, and then to win ... it was ludicrous. That's when I suddenly realized, This is gravy. This doesn't happen to people like me. I can still remember how I felt then. I was slightly scared because I thought, well this has gone too far. It's got to stop! [Laughs] And now we're up again for 'Extras.' It's crazy.

    Chris Haston, NBC / WireImage

    8. You're now my favorite new blogger! When do you find the time?

    Oh, it's so much fun! It's like therapy. Doing a film blog -- how interesting is that? It's like, "Well, this is a rainy day ... " So, apart from saying things like "Worked with Rob Lowe today and I shot him in the eye," I talk about the things that happen to me, like what I did to my friend Rob. [Laughs] Blogging feels like you have a piece of the media, in a way -- it feels like it's not a negotiation. Again, the theme running through everything I do -- [is] final edit. The blog ... no one edits that blog except me ... 'The Office,' 'Extras.' I don't think I'd do well with committees.

    Jason Gemnich, WireImage

    9. You mention Gordon Ramsay a lot on your blog. Are you a huge fan?

    It's funny because I went to about three of his restaurants in a row -- the Cloud in London, the one in New York at the London Hotel and then his new one in L.A., which was great. [Laughs] I haven't got shares -- I don't even know him that well! It just happened to be a thing I did. I do like his shows, but I wouldn't invite him round to my house ... he'd probably shout at me. Wait, is this the [same blog post] where I pulled some chest hairs out of my friend Rob? [Laughs]

    STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN, AFP / Getty Images

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