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February 20, 2012 1PM EST

Q&A with Ricky Gervais

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  • Q

    Thanks to Ricky Gervais for joining us today, the day after Life’s Too Short’s US premiere. Ricky, where are you talking to us from today?

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    A
    Ricky Gervais says:

    I'm sitting in my study in Hampstead with my cat Ollie, who is following me around everywhere because I just got back from a trip away.

  • Q

    Why do you think people like Nigel, Robin, and Karl put up with your "teasing" and have any of them ever gotten you back?

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    A
    Ricky Gervais says:

    Friends to me are the most important thing in the world. I think they know that deep down when I'm squeezing their head, shrieking in their or dressing them up.

  • Q

    I don't know your life story, Ricky. What was your inspiration to become a comedian?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    I suppose becoming a professional comedian sort of just happened. But humor has always been such an important part of my life. My family were funny growing up and all my friends are funny. I'm so lucky to have my favorite hobby as my job.

  • Q

    You've done a lot of work with @HBO. What's your favorite project so far?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    HBO's the best channel in the world so, I've had such a great time with all the projects. But I do have a deep affection for The Ricky Gervais show because Karl is my gift to the world. But he has got a head like a f**king orange.

  • Q

    What movie genre do you secretly want to be in?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Some sort of psyco-drama. I think I'd make a really great, evil villain. No Nudity. That would cause people not to fear me.

  • Q

    on a scale of 1 to 10, how fun is it to annoy karl and set him up in weird situations?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    No one makes me laugh harder than Karl and he's like that 24/7. We're best mates and just going shopping with him or going to lunch, it's as funny as the programs. He's the greatest comedian in the world and he doesn't know it.

  • Q

    If you could meet 1 person who is dead who would it be?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Wow, that's tough. It's really tough... Winston Churchill or Charles Darwin. That's a hell of a gang.

  • Q

    Did you always plan on doing something more than working a regular 9-5 job?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Well, my only plan was to never work 9-5. The only thing I always knew was that I had something creative in me. I never knew if it was any good or not and I didn't particularly care. I was quite happy painting, writing, composing and never showing anyone. I know how unbelievably lucky I am to have made money out of something I love. Having said that, I work a lot more than 9-5 these days but I'm embarrassed about even calling it work.

  • Q

    Are there any drastic differences between the behavior of your UK fans and your USA fans?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    UK fans are a lot more familiar. And familiarity breeds contempt haha. I don't see it myself, my fans are fantastic all around the world. And just like comedy there's good and bad, dumb and smart. But as long as they buy the DVDs I don't care if they're rude or not.

  • Q

    Will you do anything special when you reach more than 2 million followers on twitter?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Maybe I'll change my avatar as people thing it's a camp George Michael. And that's saying something. So maybe I'll go for something a bit butcher.

  • Q

    Will your cat Ollie ever make an appearance on camera? You've already had a dog appear in the season premiere of "Life's Too Short."

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    No, she's a diva. She just puts her paw up in front of the camera and says "no publicity".

  • Q

    Liam Neeson was brilliant last night. Have you ever had a guest celebrity actually make it through his or her lines on the first take without cracking up?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Yes, but if I'm in the scene I'm always the first one to mess it up anyway. But that was particularly hard. That scene alone makes up 50% of the bloopers on the future DVD. Patrick Stewart in Extras was ridiculous as well. But the record goes to my scene with Martin Freeman in the office. 74 takes.

  • Q

    Did Warwick already know he could do comedy, or were you a sort of mentor?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    He knew he wanted to do comedy and he hadn't done comedy and I remember the first few days a regular note of mine was "No, don't try and be funny. Be angry. It's funnier" because i think some of the best humor comes from characters wanting to be taken seriously. But he got better and better. He's probably my favorite person to direct of all time. It's like I can download thoughts and he would do it.

  • Q

    If there is a god and you were confronted by this being, what would you ask him/her?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Explain your mysterious ways. I can't see a pattern.

  • Q

    Any plans for another round of podcasts?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Well, hopefully the fourth season of The Ricky Gervais Show we plan to do brand new audio. So we'll be doing it especially for that. Then we may release it after the series.

  • Q

    What's your favorite American tradition?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Thanksgiving. You can't beat family and eating.

  • Q

    If you had to leave people with one life lesson, what would it be?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Make the most of it but there's no rush. You can see the future...and the future's great if you do exactly what you want in the present. And don't hurt anyone.

  • Q

    Are you easily amused or difficult to amuse?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Well...that's a difficult one because I'm easily amused if something is funny. Just like a question is easy if you know it, but I'd say on a scale of 1-10, I'm usually 9 happy and amused most of the time.

  • Q

    What's on your bucket list?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Just one major thing really...to work with animals. It's a pipe-dream but I want to own an animal sanctuary one day. I just have to amass an obscene amount of money and buy a small island and there will be a big statue of liberty with a sign that says "Bring me your huddled critters".

  • Q

    Which was your favorite scene of Life's Too Short?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    It gets better and better the more you get to know the characters. Even Warwick is redeemed, without giving too much away. Episode 6 when Warwick throws a party, it's certainly my favorite episode from beginning to end but Johnny Depp next week is quite sublime. I most enjoyed writing his awful insults toward me.

  • Q

    Will we ever get to hear more of your brilliant singing?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    I guess only ironically. It's a shame that as a failed pop-star, the greatest songs I ever wrote are jokes. "Free the Free Way" and "See His Pug Nosed Face" sung by David Bowie. And of course my lullaby with Elmo. Another highlight of my career. Oh! And I serenaded marge. Wow, I'm a really rock star! The album is out Monday.

  • Q

    Who are your three favorite American female comedians?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Kristin Wiig is the funniest woman in America right now. That is, if you don't count Sarah Palin and Nancy Grace.

  • Q

    Who was your favorite comedian growing up?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    It's always been Laurel & Hardy and Groucho Marx, then Tim Allen. So beautifully precarious. So hugable and showed that comedy is so close to tragedy.

  • Q

    What type of stuff do you like to read and does reading influence youto be so funny?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    I suppose my favorite reading material is reference. It always has been, really. It's quite strange, I perused any sort of fiction. My first love has always been science and nature and that's never really changed. But science isn't that funny. People who don't understand it or believe it are funny, but that's a whole other discussion. P.S. The Earth is not 5,000 years old.

  • Q

    With all that's going on professionally in your life, do you manage to have time for yourself?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Yeah, I mean, me and Jane get regular trips away. We sometimes combine work. We love coming to America as often as possible and when I''m writing, I probably only write from the hours of 11-3. I workout everyday and my evening usually consists of sitting on couch in my pajamas from 6PM with the cat on my lap watching trash TV.

  • Q

    How did the Liam Neeson bit come about?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Ever since The Office was aired, people would pitch me ideas. This could be people on the street without teeth or shoes or actors slightly drunk at award ceremonies. Either way, when they said "I've got a funny idea..." the blood would drain from my head. Liam Neeson captured that excruciating pain better than anyone that I could ever imagine. I particularly liked one bad review that said "Liam Neeson tried to be funny but failed". Missed the point much? Haha.

  • Q

    South Park creators say nothing should be off limits for comedy? Do you agree?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    Yea, there's nothing you shouldn't joke about but it depends on what the joke is. The subject of a joke isn't necessarily the target of the joke and comedy comes from a good or a bad place, so choose your target and subjects wisely.

  • Q

    That's it for our live chat with Ricky Gervais. Thanks again for joining us today, Ricky. Is there anything you'd like to say before we sign off?

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    Ricky Gervais says:

    I'd just like to say, thanks to everyone who joined in and especially thanks to everyone who follows me on Twitter. I can't reply to you all but I appreciate you twonks.

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