Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant would be incomplete without Karl Pilkington, the bread to their peanut butter and jelly, the paprika to their salt and pepper, the reluctant apothecary to their Romeo and Juliet. In this interview with the star of An Idiot Abroad, Pilkington describes the process of becoming friends with Ricky Gervais when producing his radio show:
I was making Ricky a tea, and he hit me on the head with a mobile phone. I said, “What’d you do that for?” And he said, “Ah, I just wanted to see what it sounded like.” I think that was him testing me out, really. That was him [...]
Poor Stephen Merchant. He was just trying to do the whole black-turtleneck pretending-to-understand-Sartre thing everyone does in college, and the cleaning woman had to draw attention to his comically ginormous feet. Everyone knows you can't have big feet and be an existentialist. Nietzche famously wore fuzzy yellow children's slippers, and Kierkegaard was a dainty size 7.
Here's the first trailer for the upcoming second season of An Idiot Abroad, in which Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will send poor misanthropic Karl Pilkington around the world checking off items on a bucket list he most definitely did not write. As Stephen says, "it's making Karl do things that other people want to do before they die." If it was Karl's list, it would probably just involve hanging out at home, and that would make for pretty boring television.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have yet another show coming to British television, with the latest called Life's Too Short: "As with the pilot, the series centres on Warwick Davis – whose credits include Star Wars and the Harry Potter series – and who is one of Britain's pre-eminent dwarf actors. It is an observational comedy following Warwick's day-to-day frustrations, but still managing to find the optimism and warmth in a small world where big things happen."
In which our intrepid traveler never actually swims with marine mammals. I would normally invoke the “spoiler alert” were this plot twist not so brazenly announced by both the Science Channel’s episode guide and the preview. By the end of episode, Karl indeed foregoes the standard bucket list item of swimming with dolphins for the potentially more fatal option of swimming with a Great White Shark. In reality — this is reality television after all — he is lowered into a cage where sharks can swim around him but he remains stationed in one place. Which is fitting, since the entire premise of the series revolves around adventures happening [...]
In other duos-branching-into-singlos news, Stephen Merchant is making his American standup debut next week as part of his Hello Ladies tour. And comparisons to Ricky Gervais are inevitable: "'Where Merchant excelled over his accomplice was by avoiding the sneering narcissism that has crept into Gervais’s manner since success has encompassed him,' Paul Rowland wrote in a review in The Western Mail this fall." But Merchant sounds funny on his own, too!
He lampoons his own extreme stinginess (“If you go on a Steve date, there will be no popcorn”); his extreme height (he’s 6 foot 7; “I spent a lot of my youth leaning”); and his [...]
Here's a full 23-minute preview of Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington's An Idiot Abroad, which is coming to Britain's Sky1 this fall and presumably the States at some point. If you listened to Gervais and Merchant's podcasts or watched the animated HBO show based on them, you're familiar with Karl Pilkington; he's essentially their whipping boy who they make fun of and humiliate relentlessly, with hilarious results. So of course, a show based on sending the awkward, bitter guy around the world to suffer for our enjoyment can't really go wrong. Hit the jump for the second half of the preview.
Whether Karl Pilkington is the so-called idiot Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant insist on reminding us he is, or he is a brilliant comedic performance artist is pretty irrelevant to the appeal of An Idiot Abroad at this point. Gervais and Merchant made their name and fortune on a hyper-realistic, painfully uncomfortable mockumentary sitcom, it’s only natural they have created a hyper-realistic, at times uncomfortable documentary show. Or is it scripted as well? Best not to trouble yourself over that question too much and just enjoy watching their former radio producer disdainfully grapple with his new role of globe trekker.
Last season they “forced” him to visit the Seven [...]
In this thought-provoking video, Liam Neeson pays a visit to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in Life's Too Short to declare his intentions to start doing "life comedy." He proceeds to lead the most inspiringly horrible improv class in the history of mankind. My only regret about this video is that it isn't a full hourlong special where we see Liam Neeson's standup, his "crazy characters," and his attempts at slapstick humor and parody. But we can probably relax in the knowledge that he would be equally unskilled at those. Stick to your lists, Neeson. Get outta here.
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