So maybe saying Ricky Gervais is the funniest guy on the planet is too obvious. Maybe I should try for a more original pick, like . . . fuck, I have no fucking clue. Which is why I am sticking with Gervais. To hell with it. He makes me laugh, which I find an important qualification for the title of funniest guy on the planet.
He is best known to us on this side of the pond for co-creating and starring in the original BBC version of The Office, which Greg Daniels remade for NBC with Steve Carrell and a cast of inspired yahoos, providing one of the funniest shows on the American telly in many years. I like the American Office a hell of a lot, but it lags quite a distance behind the original. The U.K. Office, starring Gervais as the cringe-inducing regional manager of a paper company, is in my top five best television shows, ever. If I am feeling particularly daring or drunk on any given night, I might rank it ahead of The Twilight Zone. How fucking crazy is that?
But anyway. Ricky Gervais and his co-writer/director Stephen Merchant followed up The Office with another brilliant series, Extras. Like The Office, it ran for two six-episode seasons and finished with a two-hour Christmas special. Unlike The Office, we got to watch Extras from the beginning over here in the States thanks to a partnership between the BBC and HBO. Which means we didn't have to wait for the DVDs or BBC America reruns to see scenes like the one below, in which Ricky Gervais, as struggling actor Andy Millman, tries to get his foot in the door with Patrick Stewart:
Thank you, Ricky Gervais, for teaching us to laugh about love . . . again.