Monday, February 13, 2006

The Awe-Inspiring Drivel of the Ricky Gervais Show

The Ricky Gervais Show offers the steadiest stream of belly laughs I’ve had since, well, The Office. The podcast consists of Gervais and Stephen Merchant (his co-creator from The Office and Extras) abusing their bizarre producer Karl Pilkington as he offers his bizarre observations on Chinese homeless people, elephants vs. mammoths and population control. Recurring segments include Monkey News (Karl’s “embellished” bits of monkey history and current events) and excerpts from Karl’s diary. But, really Ricky and Steve just like to make fun of Karl and his perfectly round, bald head.

But, the show is more than just drivel about monkeys (thought that is worth its weight in gold). Gervais and Merchant use the podcast format, which is closer to ham radio than structured, formal broadcast, to give listeners an inside look inside their creative process. The show has an off-the-cuff vibe, the opposite of their meticulously crafted TV work. Often they will riff on a news item a listener has emailed them, for example, a bit about a Serbian scientist who wants women to test out his sex machine. Within seconds Gervais and Merchant had crafted a brilliant comic scenario around a sex-crazed doctor who was using the machine to hide the fact that he was really having sex with his subjects. These moments have a fly-on-the-wall feel, as if you are overhearing the two of them at work brainstorming a new idea.

Sadly the first 12-episode season of the show is almost finished. But, they’ll be back with new episodes once Gervais and Merchant finish the second season of Extras. Go to Ricky’s Web site for updates.


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Mdx said...

I stumbled on the Guardian Unlimited Podcasts last night while looking for a different job actually, and have been laughing since then. Tonight I'll be downloading all 8 for safekeeping and preparing myself for the new series starting on the 28th :)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Mdx said...

I meant all 12, sorry.


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