Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 03:24PM EST by Brad.

Added Nov 20, 2013 at 07:02PM EST by Don.

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Ricky Gervais is an English comedian and actor best known for his portrayal of the character David Brent in the British sitcom The Office. Since joining Twitter in 2011, the actor has been associated with numerous hashtag memes and controversial incidents on the social networking and microblogging site.


Early Career

In 1983, Gervais formed the New Wave pop band Seona Dancing with fellow University College London student Bill Macrae. The pair released two singles “More to Lose” and “Bitter Heart” (shown below) under the record label London Records.

After disbanding in 1984, he worked as an assistant events manager at the University of London Union, where he met friend and collaborator Stephen Merchant. In September 1998, Gervais’ made his first mainstream television appearance on a series of pilots for the show Comedy Lab. In September 2000, Gervais hosted the chat show Meet Ricky Gervais, which was poorly received and only ran until October 27th that year. From July 2001 to December 2003, Gervais played the role of the paper company regional manager David Brent on the United Kingdom version of the television sitcom The Office (shown below, left). From July 2005 to December 2007, Gervais co-starred with Merchant in the British sitcom Extras (shown below, right), centered around actors working as background extras in television and films.

From February 2010 to July 2012, HBO and Channel 4 broadcast the animated series The Ricky Gervais show (shown below, left), containing animations of audio podcasts and audiobooks featuring Gervais, Merchant and their friend and colleague Karl Pilkington. In November of 2011, Gervais and Merchant collaborated with actor Warwick Davis to create the sitcom mockumentary program Life’s Too Short (shown below, right), in which the trio play fictionalized versions of themselves.

On April 12th, 2012, the pilot episode of the British television comedy-drama series Derek aired on Channel 4, in which Gervais stars as a nursing home employee (shown below). The series began streaming on Netflix in September 2013.

Online Presence

On July 5th, 2005, Urban Dictionary user Riteous Mango submitted an entry for “Ricky Gervais,” citing the actor’s roles on the television shows The Office and Extras. On November 22nd, 2006, the Ricky Gervais Channel was launched on YouTube,[5] which highlights notable videos featuring the actor. In the first seven years, the channel received more than 22 million video views and 345,000 subscribers. On March 19th, 2010, the /r/rickygervais[6] subreddit was launched for discussions related to the English actor. On August 21st, 2012, the “Ricky Gervais in his Bath” single topic blog was created on Tumblr,[8] highlighting photographs of Gervais submerged in a bath tub (shown below).

On June 6th, YouTuber GervaisArt uploaded a remix video titled “If everybody laughed like Ricky Gervais,” highlighting the comedian’s iconic laughter by dubbing it over various video clips of laughing celebrities (shown below). In the following five months, the video gained over 770,000 views and 200 comments.

On August 4th, the official Ricky Gervais Facebook[7] page was created, receiving more than 535,000 likes in the next three months. On September 4th, Gervais participated in an “ask me anything” (AMA) post in the /r/IAmA[4]subreddit, which garnered upwards of 27,000 up votes and 6,000 comments prior to being archived. On November 15th, Gervais retweeted a photograph of Minnesota-based TV presenter Melissa Bachman smiling and posing with a dead lion, while implicitly calling her a derogatory slur with a carefully worded commentary. In the first week, the tweet gathered more than 3,300 retweets and 1,700 favorites .As of November 2013, the @rickygervais Twitter[1] feed has accumulated upwards of 5.28 million followers.


2011 Golden Globes

On January 16th, 2013, Gervais hosted the 68th Golden Glove Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Immediately after the event, YouTuber J.D. Funari uploaded Gervais’ controversial opening monologue (shown below), which received more than 8.5 million views and 17,000 comments in the first three years. The same day, Gawker[3] published an article calling the speech “extremely uncomfortable.”

Oklahoma Tornado Tweet

On May 21st, 2013, Gervais responded to a tweet from the @MTV Twitter account listing celebrities who sent prayers to the victims of the Oklahoma tornado, quipping that he felt dumb for only sending money. The same day, a screenshot of the tweet was shared on the /r/atheism subreddit, where it gained over 10,600 up votes and 500 comments within five hours.

Related Memes

I Could Eat a Knob at Knight

I Could Eat A Knob At Night is a memorable quote uttered by radio producer Karl Pilkington during an episode of The Ricky Gervais Show released via Podcast on December 19th, 2005.


#nowthatchersdead is a Twitter hashtag that can be read either as “Now Thatcher’s dead” or “Now that Cher’s dead” depending on its capitalization. The hashtag was tweeted by Gervais and several journalists on April 8th, 2013, further propagating the hoax that Cher was dead.

Melissa Bachman’s Lion Hunting Photo

On November 15th, Gervais retweeted a photograph of Minnesota-based TV presenter Melissa Bachman smiling and posing with a dead lion, referring to her with a derogatory slur. In the first week, the tweet gathered more than 3,300 retweets and 1,700 favorites.

Personal Life

Gervais was born on June 25th, 1961 in Whitley, Berkshire, England where he was raised with his two brothers Larry and Bob and sister Marsha. He is an outspoken atheist and claims to have lost his belief in Christianity when he was eight years old. Gervais is an animal lover who has condemned fox hunting and bull fighting.

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