Having recently watched and reviewed the great stand-up shows by Ricky Gervais, including his latest Netflix release, I’ve also gone through his animated TV series The Ricky Gervais Show on DVD yet again, as that’s consistently very funny too.
It’s based on a series of radio shows and podcasts that Ricky recorded with fellow comedian Stephen Merchant and their radio producer friend Karl Pilkington, talking about all sorts of random things. I have a large selection of their recordings in audiobook form, downloaded for free or from Audible, which are always good fun to dip into:
- XFM Seasons 1-4 (the full episodes, not the short compilations on Audible)
- Podcast Seasons 1, 2, 4 & 5 (Season 3 is unavailable)
- The Ricky Gervais Guide To…
- Other Free Podcasts
Ricky and Stephen have a lot of banter and funny stories of their own that they bring to the table in those shows, especially in the early days. But Karl increasingly becomes the main focus of their interest, as he has his own special take on the world. He was first introduced to a wider audience, beyond the XFM radio show, on some of Ricky’s stand-up DVDs, by Ricky talking about him on stage, and also chatting with Karl directly in the bonus features.
Whether it’s completely misunderstanding things that seem obvious to the rest of us, coming up with strange ideas for improving the world with his bizarre logic, having strange habits that often irritate his partner Suzanne, or his obsession with weird trivia about freaks and animals, it is amazing what Karl comes out with. It seems that he often hears about news stories and facts, or watches documentaries, without fully understanding, researching or verifying them, and then he extrapolates in his head what he believes happened. Or he incorrectly remembers some fictional story or film he came across once as a factual account. So by the time he tells Ricky and Stephen about things, they’re wildly misinterpreted, exaggerated or embellished stories that he’s convinced are correct when they’re blatant nonsense. There may be some very basic truth underpinning them somewhere, but it’s often hard to tell what it is.
The animated TV series, therefore, cherry-picks some of the best moments from their recordings. It was produced by HBO in America, and also broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, airing between 2010 and 2012. It’s very funny indeed, and I own all 3 series on DVD. It still gets shown on the TV as well, I know Comedy Central have been repeating it recently here in the UK. So here’s my review of the series, which I hope you enjoy!