Showing posts with label Gervais. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gervais. Show all posts


[Content Note: Rape jokes; disablist jokes; fat jokes; privilege.]

Shaker Rebekah forwarded me this piece about the series of adverts Ricky Gervais is doing for luxury car brand Audi, which have recently started airing in the US:

To launch its new A3 sedan, Audi of America is turning to Ricky Gervais to drive home the message that consumers should never compromise.

To hammer home the message, it cast Gervais, a comedian who is often blasted by critics for his acidic sense of humor and jokes.

Gervais is featured in an overall branding campaign called "Dues," and a separate shorter spot called "Names," as well as in a series of "Uncompromised Portraits," in which he discusses his process of telling jokes.
I've seen the "Names" spot several times, in which a little girl reads shitty tweets about Gervais, and he says they mean he's doing something right. The other two, I've only seen online, and this "Uncompromised Portrait" ad is hilariously awful:

The ad, filmed in black and white because OF COURSE IT IS, opens with piano music and text onscreen reading: "Audi A3 Presents: An uncompromised portrait. Ricky Gervais, writer, comedian, actor, etc..."

Gervais, sitting facing the camera, says: "I cherish the gasps as much as the laughs and the cheers and the rounds of applause." He makes a gasping noise. "I like that. I didn't turn up to any audience and go, 'What do you like? What shall I do? I do requests.' You know? The reaction after the Golden Globes was weird." This monologue is intercut with images of an empty theater, a man walking in the snow, a train, and other random shit because ART. "You usually have to be a mass murderer for that sort of column inches. But then, you know, by the end, they sort of got it. They went, 'Oh, okay then. He's just telling jokes.' I don't really want to do safe, homogenized stuff that everyone likes a bit, you know? I sort of like doing it my way, 'cause that's the fun. Every day should be filled with doing what you love. That's more important. It's more important than anything." Gervais grins.

Text onscreen: "Whatever you do, stay uncompromised." Audi logo.
Good fucking grief.

First of all: LOL FOREVER at the contention that people who criticized Gervais' garbage routine at the Golden Globes were somehow confused about the fact that he was telling jokes.

Secondly: LOL FOREVER at the assertion that Gervais isn't doing "safe, homogenized stuff" when he's a teller and defender of rape jokes, disablist jokes, and fat jokes (for a start), as if making fun of rape, disabled people, and fat people isn't so old it's got brontosaurus shit in the treads of its sensible shoes.

It is the height of irony that humorists who do bigoted humor are regarded as provocateurs.
I mean, sure, he's a "provocateur" if provocateur is broadly defined enough to encompass a playground antagonist who pokes other children with a stick. If anything designed to provoke any response can make one a provocateur, then give Ricky Gervais his trophy for Provocateur of the Year or whatever.

But "provocateur" really should mean something loftier—not a person who engages in the tiresome bigotry of misogyny and ableism, of racism and xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, who tells and defends rape jokes, just to elicit an entirely predictable (and legitimate) negative reaction from people getting poked with the stick, who are then immediately dismissed with charges of "humorlessness" or a lack of sophistication required to get the nuances of a joke to which the punchline is, at its essence, you are less than me.

A provocateur, if the word is have real meaning, is someone who challenges existent paradigms and marginalizing narratives, who presents a radical thought that makes people sit rather uncomfortably in their privilege and urges them to wander off the well-worn path of their socialization. It's someone who changes minds.

It isn't someone who calls people "mongs" and pretends that it's brave.
That shit's about as edgy as an abacus.

Finally: All the mirthless laughter in the multiverse at another highly privileged person sagely dispensing the advice that "every day should be filled with doing what you love" because "it's more important than anything." EVEN EATING! OR SHELTER! So go ahead and quit your job at the factory and spend your days DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, because no matter what it is that you love, you can definitely get rich doing it, if only you work hard enough!

Jesus Jones. Everything about this advert is the worst. Except for the fact that it's probably a pretty great choice for selling a luxury car to privileged dipshits who think Gervais is a hero for bravely upholding kyriarchal norms and calling it radical.

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In The News

Here is some stuff in the news today!

Professor James Franco has a new show that will air on Ovation TV whatever that is. It's called "James Franco Presents," and here is Professor James Franco making the big announcement on Instagram. What—did you think James Franco wouldn't announce his new show on Instagram in extreme close-up using the most unenthusiastic voice that be humanly mustered by the greatest actor of our generation? You're so weird.

[Content Note: Sexual harassment] Another day; another allegation of sexual harassment against Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who still refuses to resign. Although they're definitely mediating about it! Take your time! It's not like the mayor of your town compulsively assaulting women should imbue anyone with a sense of urgency or anything.

Whooooooooops! "For several years, the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans as part of a now-revised collection method, according to a 2011 secret court opinion. The redacted 85-page opinion, which was declassified by U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday, states that, based on NSA estimates, the spy agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 'wholly domestic' communications each year."

Actor Wentworth Miller discloses that he is gay and will not be attending the St. Petersburg International Film Festival because the Russian government are assholes to queer people.

[CN: Misogyny; racism] The Root's Keli Goff talks to civil rights leader Gloria Richardson about sexism during the March on Washington, the erosion of voting rights, President Obama's civil rights record, and other fascinating stuff.

Some weirdo dentist wants to clone John Lennon from his rotten tooth. Gross.

[CN: Disablism; classism; reference to joking about rape, murder, the Holocaust] In case you had a smidgeon of affinity left for Ricky Gervais (and why would you, because he is a garbage nightmare of colossal proportions), read this profile of him in the Hollywood Reporter. That oughta do it!

Here is a great story about two great dogs who rescued a woman who'd flipped her car on a quiet road. Yay!

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It's Ricky Gervais Season Again!

[Content Note: Discussion of Ricky Gervais' various bigotries and bullying.]

Ricky Gervais has been asked to host the Golden Globes again (about which he is VERY SHOCKED of course because he is trying soooooo hard to be an asshole but omg titter they keep inviting him back ANYWAY almost as if the entertainment industry actually REWARDS people for being assholes as long as they're assholes in a very particular way by which I mean the way that upholds the kyriarchy by being a jackass bully and calling it comedy or art or both), so LUCKILY we will get another season of media about how CONTROVERSIAL Ricky Gervais is leading up to his second totally boring hosting gig during which he'll say trite offensive shit and pretend it's daring and edgy.

Rolling out the red carpet on the Gervaisathon is the New York Times with this charming profile that will totally remind you what a complete wanker Ricky Gervais is in case you'd forgotten (ha ha I know you have not forgotten! it is impossible to forget because he reminds us SO OFTEN!). The whole thing must be read so you can really appreciate the entire bouquet of the fine vintage of fuckery in which Gervais is marinating, but I'll just highlight my favorite part:

To many Americans, last year's Golden Globes appearance by Gervais defined how they know him: as a self-styled provocateur who's not afraid to shock and offend in the service of humor.

I mean, sure, he's a "provocateur" if provocateur is broadly defined enough to encompass a playground antagonist who pokes other children with a stick. If anything designed to provoke any response can make one a provocateur, then give Ricky Gervais his trophy for Provocateur of the Year or whatever.

But "provocateur" really should mean something loftier—not a person who engages in the tiresome bigotry of misogyny and ableism, of racism and xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, who tells and defends rape jokes, just to elicit an entirely predictable (and legitimate) negative reaction from people getting poked with the stick, who are then immediately dismissed with charges of "humorlessness" or a lack of sophistication required to get the nuances of a joke to which the punchline is, at its essence, you are less than me.

A provocateur, if the word is have real meaning, is someone who challenges existent paradigms and marginalizing narratives, who presents a radical thought that makes people sit rather uncomfortably in their privilege and urges them to wander off the well-worn path of their socialization. It's someone who changes minds.

It isn't someone who calls people "mongs" and pretends that it's brave.

The irony of calling Ricky Gervais a "provocateur" is that he routinely insists that he is not trying to elicit reactions, but just say whatever the fuck he wants to:
Gervais spoke at greatest length about his comedy, occasionally adopting the whispery, professorial tone of someone who is certain he is saying very profound things. "I know I didn't do anything wrong," he said of the Golden Globes. "If I had done something wrong, it'd have been terrible. If I have to go, 'They're right,' that's a terrible feeling." He said the only reliable metric for success was his own satisfaction with his performance. "The only thing that matters is, did it turn out like I wanted it?"

If you're chasing after positive reviews, demographic trends or a lucrative box office, Gervais said, "you've already failed." But, he added, "if your only ambition is to get something off your chest and render it exactly as you wanted it, then you're bulletproof.”
Emphasis original. That sounds less like a provocateur and more like a sociopath, whose cavernous void of empathy allows him to substitute self-indulgent id-fulfillment for complex ethics.

Gervais is the comedic equivalent of the troll who comes into a social justice space and disgorges with a whiff of Pleistocenian air the most exhausting of ancient stereotypes, only to punctuate it with: "There, I said it!" as if zie were Spartacus throwing off the shackles off political correctness, and not just another impolite asshole who doesn't even have the decency to wipe the glyptodon scat off hir shoes before taking a privilege dump in the middle of the living room carpet.

"Women are overemotional! There, I said it!" Yep, we've never heard that one before, brave little soldier.

Gervais nonetheless actually believes himself to be some sort of prophet, some kind of revolutionary whose hackneyed observations about oppressed populations is actual genius. He's not being ironic, after all. He's really just a straight-up fucko.
What emerges from moments like these is the core of Gervais's relationship with Hollywood: he has become the entertainment industry's favorite irreverent person, because he manages to be irreverent in such a deeply reverent way.
That is to say, he holds the garbage values of the entertainment industry in high esteem, and thus has he become its favorite clown.

[Via Gabe.]

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Gervais is at it again.

[Trigger warning for disablism.]

Ricky Gervais, who has basically shrugged off all pretense of being anything but a self-important garbage nightmare at this point, continues to fantasize that he is a courageous free-speech champion because he refuses to concede that using the word "mong" is contemptible.

Ricky Gervais has been criticised by disability groups for repeated use of the word "mong" on his Twitter feed.

The comedian's recent tweets have included phrases like "Good monging everyone", "Night night monglets" and "Two mongs don't make a right".

The word is sometimes used offensively about people with Down's Syndrome.

Mencap said using it could reinforce prejudice but Gervais insists the word has changed meaning and that he never meant to refer to people with Down's.

The Office star criticised "the humourless PC brigade" on his Twitter feed and said the term is now commonly used to refer to someone who is very stupid or idiotic.

...On Sunday, he tweeted: "Well done everyone who pointed out that Mong USED to be a derogatory term for DS [Down's Syndrome], Gay USED to mean happy. Words change. Get over it."
It's so bingotastic I would swear he was doing performance art as a defensive dipfuck steeped in impenetrable privilege if I didn't know that he's actually a defensive dipfuck steeped in impenetrable privilege.

Setting aside the irony of pointing to idiotic as a justification for using disablist language, and the pitiable tedium of his reflexive accusations of humorlessness, and the audacity of his sneering admonishment that people hurt by the oppression he's facilitating should "get over it," let us examine his invocation of the evolution of the word "gay."

It's a popular comparison, one I've seen made many times before, by people arguing, as Gervais is here, that language evolves and so their use of a pejorative in a way they have redefined it is justifiable. Except:

Gay used to (primarily) mean joyful; gay now (primarily) means homosexual.

Mong used to mean a person with Down's Syndrome; mong now means a person who acts "retarded," or "idiotic," or in some way mentally deficient.

That's actually not a meaningful difference in usage. It's simply the broadening of a slur.

Gervais is simultaneously asserting that "mong" has moved on from its original meaning, while using it in a way that only makes sense if one understands its original meaning. That's not the evolution of language; that's creating just enough space so privileged shits can use marginalizing language then claim they're not perpetuating institutional marginalization.

"I'm not using it THAT way."

Fuck you.

[H/T to Shaker Jen for both the article and post title.]

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I Write More Letters

Dear Ricky Gervais:



cc. Kelly Conaboy.

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LOL Ricky Gervais Is Such an Asshole

[Trigger warning for violent imagery, including imagery of implied self-harm.]

So, awhile ago, Ricky Gervais submitted two absolutely ridiculous pictures to Rolling Stone for their cover (neither of which they used) and wrote a stupid piece about them for Huffington Post. One of the images is of Gervais dressed like a clown and sticking a gun in his mouth, and the other is of Gervais posed like Jesus, with a microphone stand filling in as the cross, wearing (I cannot even type this without laughing uproariously) a crown of thorns and jeans, with "ATHEIST" written across his chest in faux blood. He is shirtless to show off his recent weight loss, natch.

Ricky Gervais: Sexy Martyr.

It's sooooooooooooo self-indulgent and so cringingly humorless. When I first saw it, I sent it to Deeks and Spudsy and we had a good laugh (for all the wrong reasons), but I didn't think it was particularly worth a post, because who could take that shit seriously?

Well, it turns out New Humanist magazine can, and has decided to use the picture on the cover of their latest issue.

Ricky Gervais as sexy martyr on the cover of New Humanist magazine

"You have the right to be offended, and I have the right to offend you." Ooooh, what a brave teller of rape jokes and trailblazing social commentator whose "edgy" comedy consists of sneering misogyny, fat hatred, and classism. Way to stick it to The Man, Gervais. You're a real fucking hero.

Yes, Ricky Gervais has the right to offend me, but I am not offended. I am contemptuous.

I am contemptuous of anyone who uses humor to be a bully, who directs punchlines at the powerless to the further enrichment of the privileged. Comedy is a weapon, and no one knows that better than people who wield it professionally. Any professional comedian who says it doesn't matter in what direction that weapon gets pointed is full of shit.

Gervais, like most comedians, likes to dismiss his critics as humorless and/or oversensitive, but it is indicative of neither humorlessness nor oversensitivity to observe that some comedy upholds privilege and some comedy challenges it.

If Gervais wants to be an extremely privileged straight, cis, white, Western, wealthy, influential man who uses his sizable platform in service to his own privileges, that's his call. But he ought to at least have the integrity to own it.

"You have the right to assert your privilege, and I have the right to snort derisively."

Anyway! Back to that picture.


I mean, listen, no one knows better than I do that there can be a real and substantial cost to being a public atheist, no less a public atheist who challenges Christian privilege. But that image is just colossally absurd. It's vain, and it's hyperbolic, and it's tedious. And it has nothing at all to do with the actual real-life consequences that atheists can face in their real lives: Job loss, alienation from family, ostracization from community, political and cultural marginalization, etc.

It's so grossly self-centered that all I can imagine what I look at it is that Gervais really does fancy himself some sort of savior, which I suspect was not the irony that was intended.

Blah blah I continue to be unimpressed with evangelical atheists.

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TV Corner!

In his continuing bid to make me regret ever enjoying any project on which he ever worked, Ricky Gervais has yet another new show in the pipeline, the description of which is making my teeth grind:

Ricky Gervais, the creator of The Office and Extras is teaming up with former Dexter showrunner, Clyde Phillips, for a new show called Afterlife, about an atheist who dies and goes to heaven.

They are writing the pilot episode now and plan to film in early 2012, though no studio is yet attached. Gervais will take a cameo role.

...The plot has traces of Gervais' The Invention of Lying, the 2009 film that featured Gervais as a desperate underachiever who introduces the idea of God to a naive society where no one else has yet contemplated the notion of telling a falsehood.
Between a film that had an atheist introducing the notion of a god to an atheist population, and a show about "an atheist who dies and goes to heaven," I smell a future insufferably sanctimonious god-believer. Gervais reminds me of the exhausting dipfucks I knew in college who were constantly blathering on about being Marxist atheist anarchist nihilist separatists or whatever, and now drive Chevy Tahoes with fading Bush bumper stickers and decals of Calvin peeing on France.

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Quote of the Day

"Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far."—Robert Downey, Jr., at the Golden Globes last night, after host Ricky Gervais introduced him by listing many of Downey's films then adding, "But many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail," which itself followed on the heels of other jokes mocking stars for things like age, weight, and addiction.

[Ricky Gervais, Nasty Trainwreck: One, Two, Three, Four, Five.]

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WTF Ricky Gervais?

[Trigger warning.]

More Ricky Gervais FAIL.

For those who can't see/hear the video, he's recounting a "game" he invented called "Offal Jim-Jam," in which he pulls a bit of his junk through the flapfront of his pajama bottoms, then shows it to his girlfriend and asks, "Cock or balls?"

When I invented it, I was so pleased with myself. And I played it on my girlfriend, and she got it wrong! [laughs]
What a dumbass! Ha ha! Girls are so stupid.

Lest there be any doubt about the nature of this "game," note that Gervais says he "played it on" his girlfriend. Games aren't things you play on people, are they? No—I believe those are called tricks.

A sexual prank may be the sort of thing that's funny in the privacy of one's own home, between consenting partners who presumably have established boundaries about what's acceptable sexual behavior. But publicly sharing stories about exposing yourself to your partner, and exhorting audience members to do it, when we live in a rape culture where Frank the Flasher is an acceptable Halloween costume, is just fucked up.

Especially when you're including rape jokes in your stand-up material and in the new film you wrote, directed, and star in.

I love, btw, how he says you can play the game with "your mum," but leaves out "your boyfriend." Gays—nonexistent. Incest—hilarious!

And so the Ricky Gervais "Rape Is Hilarious" tour continues…

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Rape is Hilarious, Part 35

[Trigger warning.]

Really, Ricky Gervais? Really?

Ricky Gervais has hit back at critics of a controversial joke about drink-driving in his new stage act - insisting the gag is "justified comedically".

The British funnyman launched his new stand-up show, Science, in Scotland in August, but the routine caused a stir when a reviewer picked up on a punchline about the consequences of driving a car while drunk.

Now Gervais has spoken out to defend his craft - insisting that, although the joke is "a big taboo", the reviewer for U.K. newspaper The Independent misrepresented what was said and twisted its meaning.

In a posting on his blog, Gervais writes: "I do the following joke live when talking about the perils of drink-driving: 'I've done it once and I'm really ashamed of it. It was Christmas - I'd had a couple of drinks and I took the car out. But I learned my lesson. I nearly killed an old lady. In the end I didn't kill her. In the end, I just raped her.'

"The joke clearly revolves around the misdirection in the term "nearly killed", suggesting "narrowly avoided". But, as it turns out, "nearly killed" means something much, much worse. A big taboo I'll admit, but justified comedically I feel.

"This is how a journalist in The Independent recounted the joke: 'I nearly knocked this old woman over... but I didn't. I raped her.' He then went on to say how disgusting and unfunny that joke is. He's right. It is both disgusting and unfunny. But that's his joke, not mine. It's nothing like mine. It contains no joke at all. He has shown how qualified he is to talk about humour."
Okay, first of all, the headline for this item is "Gervais Defends Drink-drive Gag." Yeah, uh, I don't think the drunk-driving part is the most objectionable part of this "joke."

Secondly, if I'm understanding correctly (and whilst giving Gervais the most favorable interpretation of his defense), Gervais is attempting to justify the joke by saying he's not making fun of rape, but merely using it as an example of something "much, much worse" than narrowly avoiding being killed by a drunk driver. The comedy is in the misdirection, he insists, not in treating rape as something inherently funny.

Okay, fine, whatfuckingever. Despite the fact that I strongly disagree any comic could use rape in that way without a significant portion of the audience laughing at the idea of the theoretical rape itself (see: the rest of this series), let's just concede his point for the sake of argument.

Sure, rape itself isn't the punchline. Fine. So then I have only one question: Why don't you give a fuck about the rape survivors in your audiences, Ricky Gervais?

As I've said before (and will no doubt be obliged to say again): I will never understand why anyone wants to be the total douchebag who blindsides someone by evoking her (or his) memories of being raped, in the guise of "humor."

I can't even tell you how pissed I'd be if I paid to go see Ricky Gervais only to discover I'd laid out hard-earned money (money earned challenging the rape culture, no less!) to see a show that included this "joke," because—silly me—I don't like being slapped upside the head with rape jokes when I'm trying to have a good time.

Quite honestly, it's not even because I particularly find such "jokes" personally triggering anymore; I generally just find them pathetic and inexplicable. I'm more bothered by the fact that this kind of humor (irrespective of the comic's intentions) normalizes and effectively minimizes the severity of rape and thus perpetuates the rape culture.

And I'm bothered by the thought of a woman who's recently been raped, who's just experienced what may be the worst thing that will ever happen to her, and goes to see her favorite comedian and have a much-needed laugh—only to hear him using that horrible, life-changing thing as part of a "joke."

I still don't understand—and I don't believe I ever will—why anyone wants to be the guy who sends that shiver down her spine, who makes her eyes burn hot with tears at an unwanted memory while everyone else laughs and laughs.

Millions of people who have survived sexual trauma, particularly (but not exclusively) those who survived multiple events or whose assault was accompanied by significant non-sexual violence, have post-traumatic stress disorder. (I am one of them.) This means that many of the victims of the most brutal rapists are the most likely, when triggered, to suffer a physical reaction. It is the height of callous indifference to prioritize a "joke" over the very real possibility of causing a survivor to have a panic attack in the middle of a full auditorium, left with the decision of staying put and suffering acute anxiety or standing up and walking out, taking the risk of possibly catching the comic's attention and becoming the center of attention at the worst conceivable moment.

Isn't that just fucking hilarious?

I'd love to hear how Gervais finds that "justified comedically." I suspect the explanation would be one of the many tiresome variations of "everybody's offended by something," even though any decent person with a shred of intellectual honesty knows, whether they'll publicly admit it or not, that being involuntarily and physically triggered is not the same thing as being offended.

This is hugely disappointing. Not merely that the joke was made, but that it's being so vociferously defended. The painful irony is that Gervais' defense of his "joke" is itself dependent on acknowledging that rape is a horrendous thing, and yet he's still willing to include it, and defend its inclusion, in a punchline for a general audience, which certainly includes rape survivors, people who paid money to go out and laugh—not have the grim specter of their violation invoked for yuks.

The thing is, I'm not sure he really understands how heinous rape actually is. I don't believe any man who will cast himself as a rapist, even (and perhaps especially) for a laugh, has any clue what they're saying. If they really understood what a (conscious) person being raped felt, looking up at the person forcing himself on hir, the abject terror, feeling his hot breath on hir neck, the stomach-churning revulsion, listening to him grunting and groaning, the red hot anger, struggling and clawing and resisting and succumbing and already feeling the creeping blame, the shame cutting through me like a knife, the horror of it, the unimaginable horror, oh god I can't believe this is happening, no goddamned person would ever cast himself as a rapist for a fucking joke. Not someone who understood. Not someone who'd ever even tried to understand.

[H/T to Shaker Jen. Rape is Hilarious: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four.]

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