Ricky Gervais Telegraph interview

Have a read of “Ricky Gervais: Don’t ask me the price of milk – I fly by private jet – With a new comedy series in the offing, Ricky Gervais talks about fame, fortune and fidelity – and a future without laughs.“, highly recommended. Here are some of my favourite excerpts.

* “Gervais tells me that when he wrote The Office, he wanted it to be a million people’s favourite show rather than 10 million people’s 10th favourite show.”

* “… I think you’ve got to assume that as many people are going to hate you as love you. You want a strict door policy on your pub. You want to turn people away. I remember an advert I saw when I was six or seven, where there was a pyramid of tinned salmon. A hand came along and knocked them all over except for one, and the voice-over said ‘it’s the salmon John West rejects that makes John West the best.’ It’s the things you discard that make it.””

* “He studied biology at UCL, before switching to philosophy, because, “I had two ways to go: work on my accent or play up to being, you know, the revolutionary.” The latter seemed the best option, given that he had already gone through a Marxist phase when he was about 16. “I had a poster of Che Guevara on my wall to annoy my mum, but she thought it was Robert Lindsay so that backfired.””

* “From there he went on to radio station XFM as “head of speech”, where he would meet his future co-writer Stephen Merchant. Then came The Office, followed by Extras, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

* “Once you’ve turned left, there’s no turning back, I suggest. “That’s true.” Does he always fly first class? “Well…” Crikey, is he now so famous that he doesn’t even fly commercial any more? “When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’”

Gervais realises how ridiculous all this sounds. “So now you think I have a cat as a baby and that I only ever fly by private jet,” he sighs. “Please don’t ask me how much a pint of milk is, because my answer will be something like a thousand pounds.””

* ““The other day someone said to me: ‘What happens when we lose it, when we think we’re funny and nobody else does?’ And I went, ‘Who cares?’ One of my favourite quotes, one that I sort of lived by before I had even heard it, was by Bob Dylan.” It is this: a man can consider himself a success if he wakes up in the morning, goes to sleep at night, and in between does exactly what he wants. “

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