There is something inherently hilarious about watching Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant torture their dim-witted friend Karl Pilkington. The running mockery started on Gervais's podcasts, which were eventually animated and turned into HBO's 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' and then gloriously continued with 'An Idiot Abroad.'
The premise of the show is simple and delightful. Gervais and Merchant send Pilkington, the polar opposite of someone you might call a worldly man, on a series of adventures to distant, exotic lands. In Season 1, which scored record-high ratings for the Science Channel, Karl traveled to the 7 Wonders of the World, struggling with the food, local language and customs every step of the way.
In the trailer for 'An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List', we see Karl looking at a list of 100 Things To Do Before You Die, lamenting that he has to tackle any of them. "If I was on my deathbed, there's no way I'd want to be climbing Kilimanjaro," he says.
"It's not things to do a few minutes before you die, it's things to do in your life," retorts Gervais, chuckling.
Check out the trailer after the jump.
The fake documentary comedy was created by Gervais and frequent collaborator Stephen Merchant and stars veteran actor Warwick Davis as a version of himself.
The 'Star Wars' and 'Willow' actor will star as "a down-and-out little person desperately trying to hustle and connive his way back into the spotlight," according to HBO.
Each episode will feature cameos from famous folks including Johnny Depp and Steve Carrell. Gervais and Merchant will have minor roles on the series.
'Life's Too Short' debuts on BBC Two later in 2011. The HBO launch will be in 2012. The first season will be six episodes.
Watch a preview of 'Life's Too Short' below.
HBO announced today that it has renewed the animated 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' which features the voices of Gervais and friends Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, for a third season.
'The Ricky Gervais Show' airs Friday nights at 9PM ET, and will conclude its second season next week. The series is based on The Ricky Gervais Podcast, which passed the 300-million-download mark last month, according to HBO.
We reported earlier this week that both Ricky Gervais and Will Arnett will appear in the season 7 finale on May 19. Details of the finale have been sketchy, but Gervais let slip a few tidbits during an interview with BBC Radio 1 in the U.K.
Asked about the beard he's been sporting recently he said "I'm shaving it into a goatee because I'm popping up in the American 'The Office' ... But that was a top secret."
And, although NBC has so far refused to comment on which character will take over as full-time boss of the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin, one U.K. newspaper is reporting that it is David Brent.
First, he took over the interview when Merchant revealed he was setting off on his first solo comedy tour. "Are you headed to the States?" Cooper asked.
"Just one gig in New York," Merchant replied, only to get a very emphatic, "When," from Cooper.
"That was a bit creepy," Graham Norton told Cooper.
Thus it was a near genius idea when they approached British network Sky 1 to film a travel show with Pilkington at the center. Actually, it was Gervais and Merchant's idea. Pilkington, a proud homebody with no interest in the world outside his town, had to be talked into it.
Thus, 'An Idiot Abroad' (Sat., 10PM on Science) was born.
When I asked Stephen Merchant if he helped his friend and writing partner Ricky Gervais with some of the scathing jokes he said on the Golden Globes awardcast last week, he acknolwedged that he did, but "I'm not going to take any credit for anything, because I want to work in Hollywood again," he said with a nervous laugh.
Seriously, though, Merchant wonders why there's been so much hubub about Gervais' jokes. "If you can't make jokes about movie stars, I don't know who you can make jokes about," he told me yesterday. "It just seems like they are a perfectly legitimate, fun target, because they have won. They've won the lottery of life. They're the best looking, they're the richest, they're the most privileged. And generally speaking, in my experience, they can laugh at themselves."
Merchant and Gervais have a lot going on at the moment. In addition to their individual projects, they've got two projects on the air that revolve around their friend and podcast partner Karl Pilkington. There's the second season of HBO's 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' which started last week, which contains clips from the trio's famous podcasts rendered as cartoons.
Then there is 'An Idiot Abroad,' debuting Saturday at 10PM ET/PT on the Science Channel. In the documentary series, Pilkington is sent to exotic locations to see how a simple man from England with "interesting" observations deals with different cultures.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the pilot for BBC2 follows 'Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars' actor Davis in his day-to-day life. Gervais and Merchant appear in minor roles.
Billed as an observational comedy, the pilot also tackles the frustrations Davis faces as a little person.
It's really a different kind of show, the type of show that has to be on cable, on a channel like HBO (or Comedy Central). You certainly can't picture it on CBS, in a comedy block between 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' and 'Gary Unmarried.' I love how an animated Gervais looks like Fred Flintstone's brother.
'The Ricky Gervais Show' (Sun., 9PM ET on HBO) has jumped out of the podcast world and into the animated HBO world. Somehow, seeing these funny guys as cartoon characters is not the least bit odd. We've sort of thought of them that way all along. We're just glad they've finally owned up to their true calling.
For more on the show and his many projects, check out our interview with Gervais.
Watch the video after the jump.
Anyone who's listened to Ricky Gervais' podcasts or audiobooks knows that a) Karl Pilkington is an idiot and that b) Gervais and Stephen Merchant have made their fascination over Pilkington into gut-clutching comedy.
Why was the podcast so funny (and popular)? Because Pilkington just said stuff that was completely off-the-wall in such a straight-faced, matter-of-fact way, like when he talked about a time in history when "cavemen and dinosaurs were knocking about." These nonchalant statements made Gervais and Merchant -- especially Gervais -- convulse with laughter, which emphasized just how ridiculous Pilkington's statements really were.
So the challenge to Gervais and Merchant: How do you bring the twisted "genius" of Pilkington to television? Animation, of course! The result, 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' which premieres on HBO Friday at 9PM ET (you can register and watch the first full episode here), brings the podcast to life in a way that will satisfy both fans of the podcast and those who are hearing Ricky, Stephen and Karl for the first time.
Alex O'Loughlin fans have been begging to get him a new role on TV -- and now, he's booked it, Danno. I've got O'Loughlin's thoughts on taking the lead in the 'Hawaii 5-0' remake. Then I've got his 'Back-up Plan' costar Jennifer Lopez dishing about her stint on 'How I Met Your Mother' and going all Madonna on 'Glee.'
Plus, don't miss a hilarious reveal from no-nonsense 'No Reservations' host Anthony Bourdain, and the scoop on 'The Ricky Gervais Show' from funnyman Stephen Merchant.
Want more? Email me TV questions at TheTVShowGirl@aol.com and I'll try to get you answers on the show. -- By Maggie Furlong
Gervais' answers about the show and the Globes during his TCA session on Thursday were largely similar to what he told Nick during the conference call earlier in the month. But I just loved his infectious laugh when he was talking about Karl. He wants to make Karl famous just to tick the shy guy off, and because the show is being taken from the existing podcast recordings, the version of Karl you hear is the unvarnished one.
So, at the end of the reporters' scrum, I asked Gervais what Pilkington-ism makes him laugh the hardest. He and Merchant had some pretty funny responses:
"I want to host it a little bit more like someone from the Rat Pack would host it," he says. "You know, just off the cuff and just playing the room and having fun with the people and roasting a few of the A-listers and hopefully it'll be fun for the room and the people at home."
"I do want people to have the feeling that anything can happen," he adds. "I want to be reactive so I don't want to just go out there and read an alter cue and do a very staid joke and have that sort of polite sort of titter."
The world's most successful podcast is getting the television treatment next year starting on February 13.
So how do you turn a podcast into a TV show? That's simple. You animate it. Episodes of the podcast featuring Gervais, Stephen Merchant and the aforementioned Pilkington will be turned into cartoon creatures for the TV version. I came to the podcast very late in life and am sure that will count against me at my karma hearing in the afterlife, but this should more than make up for it.
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- The Good Wife Finale: EPs Preview a 'Satisfying' Last Call for Kalinda, Tease Alicia's 'Next Chapter'
- iZombie Renewed for Season 2 at CW
- Supergirl Lands Series Order at CBS
- Shadowhunters: Katherine McNamara Tapped to Star as Clary Fray
- Once Upon a Time Bosses Tease Secret Finale Scene, Tackle 'End Date' Topic
- More From TVLine
- Super-Fit Model, Sarah Stage, Shows Off Her Bikini Bod Just 3 Weeks After Giving Birth
- Jamie Foxx Sets Record Straight on Katie Holmes Dating Rumors
- The Mariah Carey Cooking Show We've All Been Waiting For
- That Time Joan Rivers Got Melissa in More Trouble: Read an Excerpt From 'Book of Joan'
- Melissa Rivers Reveals Why Joan Had a Lifelong Obsession With Death
- More From ET