The Ricky Gervais Show
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.
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.
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.
Newlyweds Mike and Anna Hollingsworth are both animators. Over their collective fifteen years working in the industry, they have worked on shows for HBO, Disney, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Cartoon Network. Anna just worked on the first season of 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' then immediately jumped to the children's game show, 'BrainSurge,' and will return for the second season of 'Gervais.'
Here's tonight's lineup of new shows and events (all times Eastern). Check your local TV listings for additional information.
Starts at 7:00
ESPN: '2010 NFL Draft' -- Rounds 2 and 3
8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'Wife Swap'
The CW: 'Smallville'
NBC: 'Who Do You Think You Are?' -- Two Hours
Cartoon Network: 'Ben 10: Ultimate Alien' and 'Generator Rex'
Disney: 'The Suite Life on Deck'
Nick: 'Big Time Rush' and 'Victorious'
9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' -- Season (series?) finale
Animal Planet: 'I Shouldn't Be Alive'
Cartoon Network: 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'
CMT: 'Gator 911' and 'Danger Coast'
Discovery: 'Swamp Loggers'
HBO: 'The Ricky Gervais Show' and 'The Life & Times of Tim'
National Geographic: 'Dog Whisperer'
TeenNick: 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'
TLC: 'Say Yes to the Dress' -- Season premiere. Two 30-minute episodes
SyFy: 'Stargate Universe'
10:00 to 11:00
ABC: '20/20' -- Stories on false accusations
CBS: 'Miami Medical'
BBC America: 'Friday Night With Jonathan Ross' -- Idris Elba; Kiefer Sutherland; Gemma Arterton; performance by Alphabeat
CMT: 'Smoke Jumpers'
HBO: 'Real Time With Bill Maher' -- Journalist Matthew Continetti; security expert Susan Eisenhower; Rep. Alan Grayson; counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke; activist Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Discovery: 'American Loggers' -- Season finale
E! 'The Soup'
Food Network: 'Private Chefs of Beverly Hills'
Starz: 'Party Down' and 'Gravity' -- Season and series premieres, respectively
TLC: 'Four Weddings'
After the jump, the late night talk shows.
'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.
'The Ricky Gervais Show,' a cartoon version of the popular podcast featuring Gervais and his pals, debuts 9PM Friday. On it, Gervais and longtime collaborator Stephen Merchant (BBC's 'The Office' and 'Extras') chat with Karl Pilkington, a type of idiot savant who philosophizes on everything from human nature to monkeys. We did mention monkeys, didn't we?
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.
There were more than 8 million downloads of The Ricky Gervais Show podcast. The first twelve episodes were free and the second twelve had a fee. In typical Gervais fashion, he says of one of his co-hosts, "Karl never has to work again and I believe that maybe he won't."
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