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after life Ricky Gervais says 'I don’t care about money or awards - I want to be honest’

After Life star Ricky Gervais on how people’s feelings do come into account when he writes his work, the effects of the pandemic and why he’s happy to put the show to bed.

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Tony (Ricky Gervais) with his beloved German shepherd Brandy in After Life

Tony (Ricky Gervais) with his beloved German shepherd Brandy in After Life

Tony (Ricky Gervais) with his beloved German shepherd Brandy in After Life

Honesty is in danger of being eliminated in so many facets of the modern world, but Ricky Gervais is determined to offer a case for its defence.

With the third and final season of After Life giving this comedy giant yet another storming success on Netflix, Gervais has told Magazine+ that the threat of the ‘cancel culture’ so many in his position have fallen foul of is in his devious mind as he composes his comedy.

Yet he insists his longevity in the industry gives him a platform to express himself without fear of being cast into the waste bin.

“I want to be more honest, that’s all I care about now as I get older,” begins Gervais. “I don’t care about viewing figure, more awards or more money at this stage.

“What I want to do is write humour and ask myself whether I can say that. I get an adrenaline rush when I write something that I think is funny and then decide whether I can say it and then decide I can.

“It’s not like I go on stage or write a TV script and say the first thing that comes into my head. I do worry about the things I do and say on stage or on TV, of course I do. I care what people think, of course I do.

“Even if I don’t feel it’s upsetting someone, you wonder if people can take it when you discuss a taboo subject, but of course they can. You want the job to be perfect and bulletproof.

“We laugh at things to get over what is upsetting us in life, that’s what we all do. People like seeing things that challenge them on TV and there is no subject we cannot talk about or joke about in my eyes.

“That’s where After Life came from. People were so worried about what they couldn’t talk about and I thought what would it be like if you didn’t care what happened tomorrow?

“The comedy comes through this man called Tony who doesn’t care about who he upsets and doesn’t care about tomorrow.

“He’s as honest as it can be and that’s why people have associated with him.”

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Ricky Gervais with and his long-time partner, author Jane Fallon

Ricky Gervais with and his long-time partner, author Jane Fallon

Ricky Gervais with and his long-time partner, author Jane Fallon

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Not many comedy writers would have the genius to write a masterpiece about a grieving man who is suicidal after the death of his wife, yet Gervais has never followed convention.

This 60-year-old has pushed the boundaries and always found a way to stay on the right side of the thought police who would have delighted in halting his success story.

Underneath his inflated celebrity persona, there is a humble man who appreciates the success that came his way in the latest third of his life, as he lives a luxury life with his long-time partner Jane in the plush London outpost of Hampstead that was impossible to imagine in their first 20 years together.

His is a joyous life, yet the subject of grief is close to Ricky’s heart, as his mother Eva and father Jerry passed away before he became a global star.

During two years when we have all lived through a pandemic that has put our own mortality into the spotlight, After Life has put the subject of grief into a unique spotlight.

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Tony, played by Ricky Gervais, and Kath, played by Diane Morgan, in After Life. Morgan's surprisingly moving turn is easily the best thing about this latest run

Tony, played by Ricky Gervais, and Kath, played by Diane Morgan, in After Life. Morgan's surprisingly moving turn is easily the best thing about this latest run

Tony, played by Ricky Gervais, and Kath, played by Diane Morgan, in After Life. Morgan's surprisingly moving turn is easily the best thing about this latest run

“Personally, I have made sure that I called my family more often during the pandemic,” reflected Gervais.

“I think the next pandemic we are facing is around anxiety. People are worried about everything a lot more now and that will be a massive change in our lives now.”

After Life returned to our lives on the back on Gervais’ latest sell-out world tour and at a time when everything he touches appears to turn to gold, it seems he is happy to allow one of his biggest hits to rest in peace now.

“A show like After Life will be around forever,” he added. “It will always be on Netflix, new people will stumble across it for years to come and I don’t think I could have done a better ending. It feels just right.”

  • All episodes of After Life are available on Netflix

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