Balance October 2017 - 25

T H E B I G I N T E RV I E W

R

icky Gervais is a happy chap. We
mean, absolutely in his element. As
Balance photographs him for this
very cover at a studio in Old Street
on an unusually glorious September
morning, the global comedy behemoth is having a
blast. He is a whirling dervish of laughter, energy and
positivity. Between the team at Balance, we've been
fortunate enough to conduct hundreds of interviews and
photoshoots, and it doesn't take a body-language expert
to be able to tell when someone does - or, indeed, does
not - want to be there.
But Ricky is happy. And funny. Oh, boy, is he funny.
Effortlessly, room-shakingly, naturally funny. When
Ricky isn't teasing the photographer for unfavourably
comparing him to grizzled, weathered - not to mention
dead - TV cop Taggart (the photographer, of course,
had done no such thing - Ricky had simply misheard a
direction, but you don't let that get in the way of a good
laugh), he's got everyone in stitches. This will be one
of those days where the people
present for the shoot will go
home and beam how lovely
the whole experience was.

LIFE AND DEATH

THERE'S NO BIG
PICTURE OUTSIDE THE
SELFISH GENE TO PASS
ON YOUR DNA. IT'S
JUST TO HAVE FUN AND
NOT HURT ANYONE

You could say Ricky is in a good
place. And so he should be.
He's currently on the road with
Humanity, hands-down his best
tour to date. It's a show that takes
in grand themes, such as life,
death and the current state of the
world, and is packed with terrific observational standup, including a delicious bit on friends who share baby
photos. So how has that happened? Being 15 years into
comedy, and then banging out your best work?
'I've got old people's rights,' reasons the 56-year-old,
as we settle into a nearby meeting room for a chat that runs
way over our allotted time. 'I can say what the f**k I like.
It's a bit of a joke; what is true is that because the audience
know me so well after 15 years, I can hit the ground
running, like friends do. I don't have to keep nodding and
winking and saying "this is irony". When two friends talk,
they don't say "I'm joking"; "I know you are!"'
Some comedians struggle to stay funny
RICKY'S
and relatable once they become wealthy.
FORMULA
Replace frustration with contentment,

FOR GETTING
TO THE TOP

PASSION

and it can be hard to find something to rail against. It's
something Ricky has worked hard to address. 'I've still
got to be the fool,' he explains, and adds: 'They know I'm
richer, or whatever. So I tell them it wasn't always like
that. So people think, f**k me, if that fat c**t can make it,
so can I. And I like that. What people don't realise is that
it's 90 per cent hard work, and luck.'
He adds: 'What's great about this show, compared
to the others, is that the other shows touched on my
interests and what's funny, whereas this has everything
that I'm fascinated in and find important rolled into one.
It's why are we here? What are we doing? Is it getting
better or worse? What have we done? We're all going
to die, let's have a laugh.'
Given the Grim Reaper will tap all of us on the shoulder
at some point, you'd think Ricky would just want to sit
back and enjoy his millions. However, when it comes
to his voracious work ethic, he says: 'I asked Bowie why
he still did it and he gave me a great reason, which is
what I've done intuitively and now it is the answer. He
said: "To stave off the boredom
before I die." That is the answer!'
He unleashes that trademark
Gervais laugh, and adds: 'Tick!'
More guffaws.
'All the other things - money,
awards, reviews - are nice, but in
the same way someone saying
"Good morning" is nice.
'Richard Dawkins said to me,
an atheist, that some people get
confused - they think there's no
point in living if there's no after-life.
I said I felt the opposite. So he said: "What's the reason for
you?" I said loads of things: friends, family, meaningful
relationships, a decent job, pizza, beer, laughter, worth,
all those things. He said: "I agree with all of those things,
but I'd add - to understand the world." Again, tick!
'We want to know and enjoy as much as we can, and
all those things stave off the boredom. We are here for
no other reason other than we are. So fill every day to
have fun. That's why people do crosswords - to stave
off the boredom before the cab comes. There's no big
picture outside the selfish gene to pass on your DNA.
It's just to have fun and not hurt anyone... I added "not
hurt anyone" because someone will go: "To have as much
fun as you can? Oh, well, serial killers do that." Yeah, OK!
To have as much fun and not f**king gut someone and

RESILIENCE

October 2017 BA LA N CE

FUN

HONOUR

SUCCESS

25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance October 2017

Balance October 2017 - 1
Balance October 2017 - 2
Balance October 2017 - 3
Balance October 2017 - 4
Balance October 2017 - 5
Balance October 2017 - 6
Balance October 2017 - 7
Balance October 2017 - 8
Balance October 2017 - 9
Balance October 2017 - 10
Balance October 2017 - 11
Balance October 2017 - 12
Balance October 2017 - 13
Balance October 2017 - 14
Balance October 2017 - 15
Balance October 2017 - 16
Balance October 2017 - 17
Balance October 2017 - 18
Balance October 2017 - 19
Balance October 2017 - 20
Balance October 2017 - 21
Balance October 2017 - 22
Balance October 2017 - 23
Balance October 2017 - 24
Balance October 2017 - 25
Balance October 2017 - 26
Balance October 2017 - 27
Balance October 2017 - 28
Balance October 2017 - 29
Balance October 2017 - 29
Balance October 2017 - 30
Balance October 2017 - 31
Balance October 2017 - 32
Balance October 2017 - 33
Balance October 2017 - 35
Balance October 2017 - 34
Balance October 2017 - 37
Balance October 2017 - 35
Balance October 2017 - 36
Balance October 2017 - 37
Balance October 2017 - 38
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Balance October 2017 - 40
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Balance October 2017 - 75
Balance October 2017 - 76
Balance October 2017 - 77
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