Best known for his role as David Brent in the original British version of The Office, this is Ricky Gervais first stand-up comedy tour in the US and proves once more why he is one of Britains preeminent comedians.
Gervais routine ranges from the intellectual (such as Nietzsche talking to Hitler about the Fuehrers misinterpretation of his writings) to the scatological, but the object of his comedy is always himself. Like with all great stand-up comics what you see on stage is a persona. George Stephen Wright likes to play the brain-addled metaphysic, George Carlin enjoyed being the perverted curmudgeon, and Ricky Gervais portrays himself as the pompous fool. This persona allows him to get away with outrageous, potentially insulting jokes about the obese, autistic people, and Nelson Mandela.
In some ways his stand-up persona is similar to his David Brent character except that its more purposefully mean and slightly more self-aware. Still, its great fun to watch. While I dont quite like him as much as Englands other great contemporary comedian, Eddie Izzard, Gervais is very funny and definitely plays to that type of humor.
As this is an HBO special, the audio and video quality are top notch. The special is presented in 16:9 aspect ratio with the audio in English 2.0. Nothing fancy, but then again it doesnt need to be anyway.
A Conversation with Ricky Gervais (11:03) – I love seeing interviews with writers and comedians because they typically are the most intellectual and self-reflective when it comes to talking about what they do, and Gervais has many funny and interesting things to say about his act and career. This is well worth watching.
Its easy to see why Ricky Gervais is considered one of the worlds top comedians. Hes created a great stand-up persona and his jokes work on a great many levels. While I dont think his material is quite as piercing or insightful as Eddie Izzard or George Carlin, hes still very good and well worth a watching. Recommended.
HBO Entertainment presents Ricky Gervais: Out of England The Stand-Up Special. Directed by John Mofitt. Starring Ricky Gervais. Written by Ricky Gervais. Running time: 72 minutes. Rated TV-MA. Released on DVD: March 31, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: HBO, ricky gervais, The Office