Ricky Gervais on the Art of Collaboration

Actor and Comedian

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.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What's your advice for successful collaboration?

Gervais:    Yeah.  It’s great to collaborate as long as I always get my own way and the people [probably] know that.  They tolerate me.  No, it’s… it’s a lonely process, writing.  I mean, I do a lot of writing by myself, my stand-ups all by myself, Flanimals.  I write the words and then it’s illustrated by my friend Rob Steen.  That’s a collaboration, obviously, “The Office” and “Extras.”  There’s a collaboration… My new film “This Side of the Truth” is a co-write and direction with Matthew Robinson.  So it depends, really.  It depends.  But yeah, it’s fun… it’s fun, you know, being with someone, me and you against the world.  That’s what’s fun about it.  You’re trying to please… please yourself.  That’s the fun.  You got to be a complete fascist.  No room for democracy.  So a collaboration is when it works, it’s amazing, it’s sublime.  And when it doesn’t, stop. 

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