By Cody Myers
Ricky Gervais is best known for creating and starring in “The Office” (UK). The British sitcom was incredibly cringe-worthy and massively successful. “Humanity” is Gervais’ first stand-up comedy special in seven years.
While he has spent a lot of time away from the stage, and some believe the 56-year-old has become out of touch with a rapidly changing society, he has proven to be as sharp as ever.
Gervais digs through his archive of jokes and experiences to make an unapologetic analysis of humanity, and how there will always be someone offended by something.
Instead of going through the song and dance to apologize for offending someone, he uses his platform to educate the audience about the difference between subject and context.
Just because you reference something, doesn’t make it offensive. Gervais first addresses this through dissecting a joke he made about Caitlyn Jenner while hosting the Golden Globes in 2016.
He made a joke about a transgender person, but the joke is not making fun of her being transgender, it used stereotypes to talk about how she literally killed somebody with her car.
“Humanity” has a 72-minute run time with content as candid and troll provoking as his Twitter rants. Gervais has over 13 million followers and uses his interactions with people to fuel his routine.
Gervais has a habit of engaging with trolls while simultaneously saying, “I should have left it.” This attitude leads to many hilarious arguments from an outsider’s point of view, as well as creates a learning opportunity through humor.
This is partially due to his belief that society endorses the mantra that “My opinion is worth as much as your fact.” Gervais backs this up by referencing a tweet that received backlash.
The tweet said, “Happy Birthday Earth! 4.54 billion years old & you still look lovely.” This tweet was treated with aggression by people who believed Gervais was using this fact that science supports to push his atheist beliefs.
Despite the unwavering beliefs of Gervais and a predisposition to fueling fires with those who voice their dissenting opinions on Twitter, he gives many heartfelt remarks.
He openly talks about his relationship with Jane Fallon, whom he’s been dating since 1982, and his opinions on children, marriage and death. He talks about the impact his brother, Bob, made on him growing up, and how comedy helped him grieve the loss of their mother.
The special concludes with a celebration of life, saying that “If you can laugh in the face of adversity, you’re bulletproof.”
Fans of Ricky Gervais will love this special. He uses humor to hint at fundamental truths. Gervais, who majored in philosophy, finds successes in searching for truth and analyzing humanity. “Humanity” is perhaps Gervais’ most cohesive special from start to finish. The jokes never feel forced, and play well off of his naturally awkward down to Earth charm. Comedy is rooted in truth, and this special helps reveal the roots that made Gervais into the worldwide success he is today.
The downside of Gervais refusing to censor himself and cave to a rapidly going PC culture is that those that wish to push that agenda will most likely not enjoy this special. “Humanity” is unlikely to convert people who don’t like him into fans. Gervais, by staying true and critiquing humanity through humor is respecting the first amendments more than Americans wishing to create a bubble where nobody’s feelings are hurt.
It’s important to note that the entertainment world is in an environment where careers are ended overnight because of scandals and hate speech. Despite Gervais’ addressing controversial subjects, he is always respectful and stays on the right side of the line, despite where some may wish the line existed.
Because of this, he will continue to make the world better through his comedy. He will still be a troll-provoking vegan.