There’s a very nice segment from a Hollywood Reporter round table with British comedian, writer and actor Ricky Gervais, where Gervais talks about being funny.
In it, he stresses “there is nothing funnier than real life” and how, with Derek, his award-winning TV series, he wanted to go back to “ordinary people” and to get away from writing about being famous. “It’s my favorite thing. Making the ordinary extraordinary”.
He then explains, “Comedy is really a normal person trying to do something big, and they’re not equipped…….and then with the arrogance and stupidity. Thinking it’s okay, you’re either laughing with them…..(or at them)”.
Gervais goes on to say “I learnt that from Laurel and Hardy. In ‘The Office’, there were idiots. There were lots of Stans, and one Ollie. One Tim, thinking…(and he sighs deeply).”
And it becomes obvious as Gervais continues to talk, Laurel and Hardy had a huge impact on his career and on his ability to make people laugh.
Listen to Ricky Gervais talk about being funny in the snippet from The Hollywood Reporter round table. Also watch him closely as you can tell, from the lack of eye contact and his body language, for someone who is incredibly gifted, he is very very shy and quite uncomfortable when he’s talking about himself.
And, if you like to hear about Ricky Gervais and his comedy and writing process, here Gervais explains how he learned to write. It’s quite touching.