Ricky Gervais on Growing Up Poor
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: Did you grow up poor
Gervais: You know, growing up… Yeah, yeah. We’re poor, in working class. My dad was a laborer. We live in a councilor state. My mom was a housewife. But I don’t really know. Everyone was in the same boat so I didn’t… I didn’t know I was poor. I didn’t know I was working class when I got to university and everyone spoke like a queen. I didn’t… I didn’t know what it was, really. And then… Yeah. But I stuck to my guns and… Bob Dylan said, a man can consider himself a success if he gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, and in between, does exactly what he wants. And I’ve always done that. I’ve always done that. I’ve never worried… When I was trying to be a pop star and no money, I never moaned about… I never borrowed money. It was my luck. I chose to do that. And I’ve always done things I wanted to do. So, yeah.
Question: Is money important?
Gervais: Yeah. Well, I’ve never… I’ve never… I’ve never craved money. I’ve never been proud of money per se. In fact, the first few years of getting a new found wealth, I felt guilty about it. And I still feel a little bit guilty because there was a [nobility] in poverty, really. And so, I’ve always thought that if I’m going to be rich and famous, then I’ve got to be proud of how [I got my] money and how I got my fame. And making… money-making, money, I’ve never understood it. You know, I’ve never understood it. I don’t play those games. I don’t play the… I don’t try and make more money. I’ve never tried to make money. I don’t know. There is some [gauche] about it, really. But I do make money and you do need to.
Has the comedian overcome wealth guilt?
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