Ricky Gervais

September 4, 2013

Hello, I am Ricky Gervais. Ask Me Anything.

I am a writer, director, producer, actor, and stand-up comedian. I created The Office, EXTRAS, The Ricky Gervais Show, and my latest creation is Derek, all episodes coming to Netflix September 12. Ask Me Anything. To save you some time, it's 3.5 inches long.

follow me here too, twonks

update: thank you so much for everyone who took part in this AMA. I'm sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions. I really tried. But it's now time for me to get out of the bath. Here's one last pic to tide you over until the next time.

Is there any Chance of a David Brent return in the near or distant future?

Love you by the way Ricky!

Yes. His internet series "Learn Guitar with David Brent" is currently on my YouTube channel. I'm in negotiation with major record companies to release an album of his songs. And I'm even going to tour. After that, anything could happen.

What was the inspiration behind the very first "bath pic"?

I like my baths really deep and hot. But washing everything only takes a few minutes. So I thought it would be a waste to just flush all that water away. So there was nothing else to do but take pictures of myself trying to look as horrendous as possible. Oh my, what have I started?

whats some other shows your into right now?

My favourite shows of the year are House of Cards, the Scandinavian versions of The Killing and The Bridge, and my guilty pleasure is everything MMA. Ultimate Fighter is amazing.

How does it feel to be known as "The King Of The Atheists" by people? I've heard it here on reddit.

I prefer "God of the Atheists."

Is Derek based on a life experience?

The situation certainly is. Half my family growing up were carers of some sort, mostly retirement homes (stroke, Alzheimers), and Derek is like my fictional superhero of an everyday gentle outsider. I suppose they're all little fables about kindness. And possibly, a love letter to my lovely, poor and humble family growing up.

Hello Mr. Gervais.

How did you transition from Brit phenom to American fixture? Was there a magic gnome who "discovered" you?

I guess winning the Golden Globes for The Office in 2004 against all odds started it all. When I went up to collect the first award, Clint Eastwood was overheard to say "Who the fuck is that?"

(*Haha, I so hope that's true).

Thanks for doing this Mr. Gervais,I am a huge fan.

What was it like working on that episode you were in of Louie? It seems like a really relaxed atmosphere and a fun show to work with.

Also, is Louis CK's penis really that horrible?

It was amazing fun. I discovered Louie online and cast him in The Invention of Lying. We became great friends and he returned the favour by letting me work on his first series of Louie. He said I could ad lib , so what was I meant to do but insult the big, fat, sweaty, bald, ginger slob?

[I love him]

Michael Scott and David Brent are sent back in time as Roman gladiators. Which one survives longest and why?

Brent lasts longest. Because he begs for his life, and then stabs Michael when he lets him up.

What is the worst thing you've experienced in your entire life?

Also, thank you for your comedy.

I saw Louie CK naked.

Hi Ricky.! In Series 2 of Derek, will we get to learn a bit more about Kev? He was made out to be quite an unlikeable character until the last episode when he broke down talking about Derek's kindness and about his own past. It was at that moment you felt you saw the real Kev so it would be nice to learn a bit more about him and see if he takes a few lessons in kindness from Derek.

On another note, I just want to say that Derek is absolutely beautiful. Victoria is one of my favourite characters and of course Derek is a picture of moral perfection. But my goodness… Karl… and that hair cut… Brilliant. Although his head was distracting, his acting was spectacular. Looking forward to series 2!

Yes, Kev is one of my favourite characters, and I was so glad that the audience went from being uncomfortable around him to really rooting for him at the end. He has another dramatic journey in Series 2, but you'll be pleased to know he is still a drunken, unhygienic pervert.

What's your favorite snack?

Cheese on toast has got to be right up there.

What's the most fun you've ever had in your life?

I've seen Louie CK naked.

What was the first thing you splurged on when you first hit it big with The Office? And what was the first big thing you splurged on when you realized that what you initially thought was “hitting it big” was nothing compared to when you actually hit it big?

What a disgusting question! How dare you ask what I've splurged on!

Oh sorry... I see what you mean.

I donated my money to an orphanage. (Only joking - I bought a mansion in the country. I must go there someday.)

Hello, Mr. Gervais ! I have one very important question to ask you and I would love to hear your opinion on the matter. Both evolutionists and creationists all over the globe are relentlessly arguing in their endless search for a definitive answer to this existential question. So Ricky, is wall in space ?

Hahaha! I wonder how many people get that reference. Isn't Twitter wonderful?

By nature of the fact that redditors browse this website all day, many of us are not entirely fulfilled with our careers. Your career in entertainment started later than most. Was there some major catalytic event that made you switch your career into radio/comedy/entertainment in the late 90s after 15 years following your music career?

I never had a plan. I just sort've ambled along, doing exactly what I wanted every day of my life. It turned out well. I could easily be sleeping in a ditch now. I'd say always follow your passions. Even if you fail, you've had a great time trying.

What is your favorite curse word?


Which side of the road is more fun to drive on?

That's a tough one. Can I come back to that on my next reddit AMA?

We need you back hosting the golden globes! we miss you!

Thank you. I had such a great time doing that! And I'm sure I will do it again one day.

Are you ticklish? If so where?

Yes, terribly. High ribcage, near the underarm. I go mental, like a dog chasing its tail.

Do you find it harder to work in Hollywood being an atheist?

It's honestly never been a problem. At least not to my face.

What's your favourite topping on NACHOS, other than cheese?

I am a male, so I insist on showing that I can have as much jalapenos as I want on my nachos. The next day, I am less of a man.

Jumper or sweater vest?

I'm still working on which side of the road is better to drive on, but I'll get back to you.

What is the single best or worst thing a heckler has shouted during one of your stand up sets?

Someone shouted "I love you!" and it really threw me.

How has your writing/creative process evolved from when you worked on The Office, through to Extras, Life's Too Short, and now Derek? Any big pieces of advice on things to do or avoid for an aspiring writer?

It hasn't changed at all. I have an idea, I act it out in my head, and then put it into a dictaphone, usually playing all the parts. The only thing that's changed is expectation. It was nice to come from nowhere. But you just have to put all of that out of your mind, and write like this is your first breakthrough job. And always write about what you know.

Why is atheism so important to you?

Edit: Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of yours, I love the material you do on religion, but don't you think all the preaching on twitter and similar is a bit too much sometimes? Don't you think it gets a bit boring?

I get asked about my atheism all the time. I don't know why it's so fascinating to people. But I am always honest and open about it. Not to change anyone's beliefs, but to let people know around the world who are oppressed and ashamed about not having faith that there is nothing wrong with it.

What's your favourite color? If blue, why? If not blue, why not?

Blue is certainly in the mix. Although I like some reds. I like the mix, purple, as well. And hey - doesn't matter what colour you like. It's what's inside the colour that matters.

My birthday is in a couple days. If I could get a happy birthday from you I would shit myself (in a good way)!! Love you man!

Happy Birthday!

I am not a doctor, which is probably why I have never come across the condition of 'shitting yourself in a good way' before.

Love your work, Ricky. I wish I could come up with a question for you before I head to lunch, but I am thus far drawing a blank.

Hope you have a good one, and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do an AMA!

Great question! What did you have for lunch?

What is the one question you really hope people ask you in this AMA?

I was hoping for more questions about ducks and horses.

Where is the greatest place you've ever traveled? Would you live there?

That would be London and New York. And I do.



I love you! Your laugh is more contagious than the chicken pox. What was the most amount of takes that you had to do because you couldn't stop laughing?

Seventy-four. Me and Martin Freeman doing the scene in The Office where Brent had to say "And who knows? In a few year's time, you could be in the hot seat."

I did it slightly different every time because I knew he would lose it. He was getting angrier and angrier with himself.

I cant think of anything to ask.

Thanks for joining in!

How did you become so great looking?

It's just luck.

Would you again piss in a sink out of pure laziness?

Not my sinks. They're really expensive.


Laurel & Hardy. Muhammad Ali. Bertrand Russell.

The music of Ludovico Einaudi.

The pilot of Derek winning 'best comedy film' at the New York Film Festival [short film].

That there is no god.

Did I ever tell you there is no god?

What are you wearing?


Is it a dream of yours to one day go on tour (of any scale) to sing/play guitar?

Yes but I'm getting it out of my system by doing it as David Brent.

The Invention of Lying what an awesome concept. Oh, and you have the best fucking laugh.

Thank you very much.

Ricky, my manager looks like Derek and acts like Brent. I just wanted to say I fully blame you for the fact I could never ever take him seriously again after I realised this.

You should never take your manager seriously anyway. Not yours, I mean managers in general.

I feel sorry for him now.

Is that really you posting all those tweets?


Do you still have the wheelbarrow your father traded for the go-cart?

Haha. Sadly, no.

Settle a Reading pub argument for us, Ricky. I live in Milman Road, Reading. Since you're from the area, my argument is that Andy Millman from Extras is named after this road.

Am I right? Please say yes. It'll put the value of my house up by £10k.

That is where I first heard the word, yes. I used to catch the bus there to my dentist when I was little.

Have you any tours planned? ... In particular in Ireland. Love your stand up!!

I plan to tour again as soon as possible. And yes, I'd come to Ireland. It's always been one of my favourite gigs. The thing is, stand-up keeps getting pushed back for TV and film projects, but I promise I'm working on it.

If you could work with any actor/actress, who would you like to work with?

Jack Nicholson and Ryan Gosling spring to mind.

Ricky, I'm a twitter follower and have no idea how twonks came to be. Can you give us the story?

It's a cross between "Twitter" and "gonks." It's a term of affection. I promise. You twonk.

What is your favorite kind of soap?

I honestly can't remember the last time I used soap. I use shampoo, shower gels, facial scrubs, exfoliants, and bath bombs. The only reason I ever undo a packet of soap is in a hotel, and that's to use a little bit of the packaging to black out my teeth for a bath pic.

Why haven't you recorded your laugh and made a ringtone out of it? Even if you sold it for $.10 you'd make millions!

I would feel sorry for the people who hated it having to hear it everywhere they went. Trust me, not everyone loves it as much as you.


Which is your favourite soft drink and what is the first thing you would you do if you were the King of England?

Diet Sprite. I'd probably invade a country. A smaller, weaker country. One that can't defend itself and is helpless. With lots of gold.

would you rather be a cute kitten, or a manly dog?

I actually started thinking about this one seriously.

Hello, Mr. Gervais. What do you view as your biggest accomplishment?

I fought a bear once. But it started crying, so I let it off.

Hey Ricky! My Mom and I love all the movies and shows that you've done. We especially like you in 'Ghost Town'! If you could respond to this saying hi to my Mom I'd be eternally indebted to you!

Hi Mom!

Why are you so awesome?

It would take way too much time to answer that question. I am writing a twelve-volume encyclopedia on that subject which should get close to providing an answer.

Who are your top 5 stand up comedians of all time?

Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dave Allen, and a couple of new boys heading towards that list like Louie CK and Doug Stanhope.

Is everything really funnier in the UK?

Probably not. But if you're British, you have to be able to see the funny side of everything.

How did you like being in GTA IV?

It was great. I just did some stand-up in a tight green outfit with little white dots all over me.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Daniel Day-Lewis would play me as a baby. He can do anything. Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt are fighting out for me now. And Meryl Streep will play me after the sex change. I haven't told you about that have I?

Who is your favorite MMA fighter?

Forest Griffin. Brilliant, brave, smart, funny.

Why don't you use standard tuning in your "Learn Guitar With David Brent" segments?

I'm a maverick, baby.

Hey Ricky,

I lost my virginity while watching Ghost Town. So I guess just thanks for that. I guess you really put her in the mood?


You probably haven't lost it. Check down the back of the sofa. Or behind the microwave.

I would just like to tell you that your bath pics are, in my eyes, the most divine form of art to grace mankind.

In that case, here's one just for you.

Mr. Gervais, I'm a huge fan and your one of the people who has made it easier for me to be confident in my choice not to believe in religion or faith (the invention of lying was brilliant as is all your stand up.).

So, from one heathen to another, what was it like working with the muppets?

I was like a kid in a sweet shoppe. I've loved the Muppets for thirty-five years. I watch A Muppet Christmas Carol every year, and was always jealous of Michael Caine. And I still can't quite believe that I'm the lead in a Muppet movie. Well, the human lead anyway. The frog's got top billing.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Ricky Gervais conducted on Reddit on 2013-09-04. The Reddit AMA can be found here.