Ricky Gervais talks with Entertainment Weekly’s Gary Susman about “…his new season of podcasts. The Brit-com bigwig discusses his popular Internet show and his many other projects, including ”Extras” and his American stepchild, ”The Office”…“
EW.COM: How do you account for the podcast’s popularity?
RICKY GERVAIS: It’s engaging, it’s real. It’s a man who sees the world differently from us. It’s like we download his head so everyone can see it. We prod him and we shake him, and interesting trinkets fall out. It all comes from a good place, this slightly confused man who wanders around the world and sees things from a slightly different angle than the rest of us. As inarticulate as he may sound, there is a poetry to his strange words of wisdom. Often, he’s sort of right, once you know what he means. The things he takes to his bosom, and the things he rejects are often the other way around for most of us. He thinks painting is pointless and he thinks choice is confusing, and those are the things we cherish. He’s just different but very nice and honest. Even the things he says that sound heartless, they come from a good place. He’s not trying to be funny. He’s just a fascinating little creature. He’s like a fictional character. He’s the closest thing to a living Homer Simpson.
Steve and I see ourselves as carnival barkers who’ve found the most fascinating creature in the world. We really think of ourselves as some sort of Victorian entrepreneurs, bringing out the Elephant Man. I feel like Anthony Hopkins, taking out John Merrick, going, ”Look what I found.” Not only is it our own experiment, and fascinating to us, but we want the whole world to see the amazing Eighth Wonder of the World that is the mind of Karl Pilkington.
How planned, structured, and scripted are the podcasts?
It’s not scripted at all. It’s all stuff that happened to us. Karl will have a Monkey News because he looks at the Internet and finds something out about monkeys each week. So we never script anything as such, but we all come armed with what we’ve done that week.
Does a lot get edited out?
Well, we stop sometimes for a cup of tea because it gets hot in that little studio. But it’s not contrived. We don’t do anything twice. We don’t edit like that. We just get the best half hour out of the hour we’re in there. It’s pretty much as it is, really. There’s no manipulation. There’s no, ”That would be funnier if you said this.” It’s all real, just tidied up.
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