Thursday 5 December 2019

Ricky Gervais: ‘I want it my way, or not at all’

Ricky Gervais in Derek. Photo: Channel 4
Ricky Gervais in Derek. Photo: Channel 4

Outspoken comedian Ricky Gervais has defended his controversial TV career, saying "art is not a democracy."

Ricky Gervais has spoken out about his critics ahead of the first series of his TV comedy, Derek.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Gervais talks about the need to be self-indulgent in art to survive. He says, "I'm not doing it for anyone but me. You mustn't ever consider anything except your own view. I want it my way, or not at all. I say that quite unapologetically. Art is not a democracy. You have to be a complete fascist."

Derek is a comedy drama about a man with learning disabilities working in an old people’s home. Gervais maintains that the title character, a 49-year-old man, was created with love and affection. However, critics lashed out after a pilot episode that Gervais was mocking vulnerable members of society. The series will start on Channel four next week. It’s Gervais’ latest creation to follow Extras, The Office, and Life’s Too Short, a comedy about about "showbiz dwarf" Warwick Davis.

Gervais, who has been criticised for his discussion of atheism and offended Twitter users when he used the word ‘mong’, said, “People hate my mere existence. Some people hate me because I'm an atheist. What do you do? Do you go around suddenly believing in God. It's ridiculous. You can't worry about criticism. It's all about subjective."

He continued, "If I worried about all the people who don't like my work, I might as well go round to them door-to-door saying, 'I notice you haven’t bought my DVD today. Can I ask why? Is there anything I can do to help? While I'm here, do you need your windows doing?' There are seven billion people in the world – I don't need them all to like me."

Derek will air on 30 January.

Alice Vincent

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