Ricky Gervais is no stranger to controversy, and his upcoming Netflix special, “Armageddon,” is causing a stir after its Christmas Day release. The 62-year-old comedian has found himself under intense scrutiny for a particular joke about terminally ill children. The offending jokes have prompted calls for him to be cancelled. However, Gervais, true to his unapologetic style, has responded with a characteristically brutal response to those demanding the removal of his controversial skit.
In a teaser clip circulating online, Gervais takes aim at critics who disapprove of his use of the term “baldy” in a segment where he discusses creating videos for sick children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The snippet sparked outrage, leading to the launch of a Change.org petition with nearly 6,000 signatures urging Netflix to delete the contentious sketch.
The comedian, known for his no-holds-barred approach, remains unfazed by the backlash. Addressing the controversy in an interview with Nihal Arthanayake on BBC Radio 5 Live, Gervais offered a candid defence, stating, “In that little sketch, I’m becoming an idiot who would say that, and I don’t do that. I even say that in the skit.”
He continued to elaborate on the nature of the offence, asserting, “But it’s a reaction. They don’t analyse it, they feel something. That’s what offense is, it’s a feeling.” Gervais dismissed the idea that he should alter his content, responding to criticism with a blunt, “Good luck. I’ll even retweet it.”
Ricky Gervais refuses to back down over criticism.
The comedian’s refusal to back down echoes his previous encounters with controversy, where he has consistently defended his comedic choices. Gervais addressed the petition directly, challenging the notion that offence should dictate his material. “That’s why ‘I’m offended’ is quite meaningless. What do you want me to change?” he questioned.
Gervais, no stranger to navigating contentious terrain, acknowledged that a fraction of his audience might not appreciate his humour. “Ninety-nine per cent of it is faux offence,” he asserted, emphasising his commitment to the majority who understand and enjoy his comedic style.
The comedian’s unapologetic stance has also drawn criticism from Scope, a charity advocating for disabled people. In response to Gervais’s explanation, Scope expressed their disapproval. They argued that Gervais’s language, even in jest, trivialises and risks normalising the abuse that disabled individuals face daily.
Despite the criticism from Scope and the petition, Gervais remains resolute, emphasising that he often plays characters in his routines. He highlighted the absurdity of interpreting jokes as windows into a comedian’s true beliefs, stating, “It’s not true. It’s a joke. No one does this with puns, do they? Two blokes didn’t really walk into a pub.”
As controversy swirls around “Armageddon,” it’s clear that Ricky Gervais is standing his ground. Love him or loathe him, the comedian’s refusal to conform to modern-day standards continues to make waves.