Ricky Gervais is an English comedian, author, actor, director, producer, screenwriter and former pop musician. He achieved mainstream fame with his television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and collaborator, Stephen Merchant. Besides writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. Gervais has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including For Your Consideration, Stardust, Night at the Museum and Ghost Town.
Question: Do you write differently for British and American audiences?Gervais: No, I… I don’t change it. I mean, the difference, you know, if we’re talking about the big 2, Britain and America, sorry, rest of the world, that’s not true. That was a joke. But the difference between English or British humor and American humor, it’s usually in the production as opposed to the finish core and how it… how it comes across. But if there is a difference and… I suppose I’m not an expert, it’s all guess work but just take the… the sort of I’ve been involved with “The Office” transfer, the remake, the American remake, well, it’s different. They’re slightly smarter. They’ve got better teeth. They got more ambition. They’re slightly broader. But the big difference is the Americans are more optimistic. And that’s due to the fact that Americans are told, they can become the next president of United States. And they can. British people are told, it won’t happen to you. And they carry that. They carry that with them. We… We champion the underdog. We champion the underdog to the point where it’s not an underdog anymore and it annoys us.
Question: How did you escape mediocrity?Gervais: I, from somewhere, had this strange, unjustified belief that it will be all right. Maybe I was born American, and I always thought it’ll be all right. I just thought it’ll be fine. I always knew I do what I wanted to do and… and I was [half]. So I don’t know really. I’m not saying that I don’t have fears and anxieties and, you know, nervous about things but I always know it’ll be all right. I don’t know why. I was brought from fairy tales. I mean, I suppose, you know, I… I do like the underdog. I do like… I do like the story of “Cinderella”. I do like the story of “A Christmas Carol.” I do… I do like the “The Meek will Inherit the Earth,” you know. Actually, “The Geek will Inherit the Earth.”