LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – You knew Ricky Gervais was a genius at writing comedy ("The Office") and a superb comic actor ("Extras"), but did you know he can do stand-up with the best of them? His new HBO special "Ricky Gervais: Out of England," which debuted Saturday, makes the case loud and clear.
His humor doesn't lend itself to easy categorization, though nearly all of it is well-paced, well-aimed and well-delivered. At times, he offers clever observations. Then he slips effortlessly into self-deprecation, political incorrectness and convoluted examinations of nursery rhymes. He works in a black T-shirt on a mostly empty stage with no props and just a giant can of beer to stay lubricated.
And he's fearless. Not since Lenny Bruce has a comedian managed to get laughs with a comic take on the motivation of Adolf Hitler, but Gervais does it, makes his points and moves on. The origin of AIDS, alternatives to anal sex, favorite wars -- it's all fair game and unfailingly funny.
A lot of entertainers do charity work, but Gervais mines it for several sick jokes, all delivered with an impish smile that rules out any trace of meanness.
The production, taped in New York, offers additional proof that Gervais is that rare British talent able to charm audiences consistently on either side of the pond.
6 months ago