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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Ricky Gervais
Aired January 20, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: My guest tonight is somebody who's been in the center of a huge scandal rocking America this week. Some say his crime was worse than Watergate. Others go further and say it was the worst thing that's ever happened in the history of planet earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN: When you've offended the most powerful people in Hollywood, what you want to do is quickly ally yourself with a really popular and fellow Brit. And that's why I'm here with Piers Morgan. It's the right decision, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What's he done? Well, he made that outrageous, disgraceful, and unacceptable error of refusing to take seriously the rich and famous. That is no laughing matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: I'm leaving the country. Goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: Favorite intro ever.
MORGAN: You can take that smile off your face.
GERVAIS: Well, I'm -- yes.
MORGAN: Well, I thought you need some beer because, frankly, Ricky --
GERVAIS: Go on.
MORGAN: -- you've been a very naughty boy, haven't you?
GERVAIS: OK. Now it's getting creepy.
MORGAN: You know what happens to naughty boys back in Britain?
GERVAIS: Oh, this is getting weird. Larry King never did this?
MORGAN: You know what happens to naughty boys, Ricky. They get taken into darkened rooms and they get a thoroughly good spanking.
GERVAIS: OK. I'm leaving.
GERVAIS: Oh, dear.
MORGAN: Ricky Gervais, can I ask you, as a fellow Brit -- well, first of all, thank you, because until you came along, I was the most reviled Brit on TV in America. So, you comfortably exceeded all expectations in that.
GERVAIS: I always thought you'd be deported before me. So, I'm -- it's touch and go now. Isn't it?
MORGAN: How has this week been for you? How do you feel? Do you feel remotely remorseful?
GERVAIS: No. What have I done wrong?
MORGAN: You said these terrible things about these pampered prima donnas in Hollywood.
GERVAIS: Well, what did I say that was so bad?
MORGAN: Let me remind you.
MORGAN: OK. Let's play a clip.
MORGAN: This I think was the one nearest the knuckle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: Also not nominated, "I Love You Phillip Morris," and Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay, so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologist then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, obviously, I must have been the only one who didn't know on Earth what you were talking about -- or who you were talking about.
GERVAIS: Nor do I.
MORGAN: Yes, you wouldn't either.
GERVAIS: No, no. I didn't. MORGAN: You were just throwing it out there.
GERVAIS: Yes, exactly.
MORGAN: So you just conveniently came up with that line?
GERVAIS: Yes. Cheers.
MORGAN: Cheers. I'm giving you the beer, because we know how you perform after a few beers.
When you see the reaction of an audience -- it's interesting watching your face as the audience begins to gasp and groan in horror -- I would argue you seem to get a bit of a kick out of that than you do out of a joke, because --
GERVAIS: Well, I get as big a kick out of it. I also know where these beats are coming. I know when they're going to laugh, I know when they're going to gasp, I know when they're going to groan. I know -- this is considered comedy. This isn't me going out there and saying the most outrageous things I could think of. I mean, if people are offended by the things I said at that ceremony, they should never come and see my standup.
MORGAN: Well, I've seen your standup.
GERVAIS: What exactly?
MORGAN: I mean, that was a tea party compared to your standup.
GERVAIS: Well, of course. That was daytime television, you know, on network TV across America. And if your aim is to shock, you know, a Christian family in Idaho at 5:00, then that's too easy. And my main aim isn't to shock people at all.
MORGAN: What is your aim at?
GERVAIS: I want to make people laugh, and I want to do a good job, but on my terms, really. It's not a popularity contest with me.
If someone said, "Oh, you could make that joke more palatable, more people would like you," I'd go, "But that's not my joke then."
You know, I do this for me, really, and I think you've got to be true to yourself.
MORGAN: Do you clear any of the material with anyone before you say it?
GERVAIS: What, you mean officials?
MORGAN: With the Globes, for example.
GERVAIS: Oh, no, no. When they took me on -- the first year they said, "Do you want to host the Globes?" I think it's because I've done a couple of appearances at the Emmys and the Globes, and it was fun.
And they said, "Would you like to host the Globes?" And I said, "Can I say what I want?" And they said, "Yes."
MORGAN: So, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, they have no warning of what's coming?
GERVAIS: No, not at all. And to be fair to them, the first year and the second year, they kept to that. They didn't want to see it. And yes --
MORGAN: One of the leading figures from that organization came on afterwards and was vaguely condemnatory, thought you had gone over the line a few times.
GERVAIS: But what was he meant to say? You know? If someone says to him, "Do you think he went over the top?" -- he's got to be honest. And to his sensibilities, maybe I did, you know?
But he said to me beforehand he believes in freedom of speech. Also, you know, all he said was, I think, if I remember, he said, "Those attacks weren't necessarily the thoughts of" -- and they're not, you know? All he said was, "I didn't see the script," which is fine, which is absolutely true. They didn't see the script. It was nothing to do with them.
I'm sure (INAUDIBLE), they hired me for a job. And if they didn't want me, they shouldn't have hired me.
MORGAN: Someone asked me, "You know, what do you think? As a fellow Brit on TV in America, what do you think will happen to Ricky?" I said, "Well, it's a bit like inviting a hammerhead shark to dinner. I mean, when he eats all the guests, you start complaining." I mean, you've got to know what you're going to get.
GERVAIS: Well, but that's one thing. But also, as I say, I don't think I did anything wrong. I honestly -- you know, those were like giants, these people. And I'm sure they've got a sense of humor.
I'm sure Johnny Depp -- Johnny Depp is one of the most successful, richest, most loved, most handsome people on the planet. And I'm sure he's got a sense of humor. If he hasn't, all those things are wasted. But I'm sure he has.
Do you really think -- do you really think that he hasn't seen the press about "The Tourist"? Do you know? Do you really think he's hurt that I didn't like "The Tourist"?
MORGAN: Well, I like your confidence. I mean, having interviewed lots of Hollywood stars before, I think your confidence that none of them would be offended is probably stretching it a bit. I mean, they can be delicate little flowers.
GERVAIS: Well, OK. Well, if they are, I'm sorry for them being offended, but I'm not sorry for anything I said, because I'm not going to apologize for being true to my self. And no one has the right not to be offended. And don't forget, just because you're offended, it doesn't mean you're in the right. A lot of people are offended by mixed marriage. It doesn't mean they're right, you know?
MORGAN: Are there any limits in comedy?
GERVAIS: There's nothing you shouldn't joke about. It depends what the joke is.
Comedy comes from a good or a bad place, and I like to think that mine comes from a good place. You know, when you see my standup, on the face of it, I'm looking at taboo subjects, but they're to get me to a position. They're to get the audience to a place I haven't been before.
I think a comedian's job isn't just to make people laugh. I think it's to make people think. OK?
MORGAN: You take the art of comedy pretty seriously.
GERVAIS: Well, I do, because I think with comedy, you should have no prejudices. I think as soon as you have prejudices, it falls down comedically.
Comedy is an intellectual pursuit. Comedy appeals to the intellect, not to the emotional. As soon as you go emotional, it stops being funny. It starts being rallying (ph).
That's why a real racist joke isn't funny because it's not true. And someone in the audience is going, well, he's having a go at something I can't help. OK. You have a go at things people do.
If someone goes crazy and trashes a hotel room and, you know, talk about it. But you don't talk about someone because of their sexuality or the color of their skin.
MORGAN: I want to play another clip from the infamous Golden Globes night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: You know our next presenter from such films as "Hudson Hawk," "Look Who's Talking," "Mercury Rising," "Color of Night," "Fifth Element," "Hart's War." Please welcome Ashton Kutcher's dad, Bruce Willis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: See, what I loved (ph) about it -- it's actually great watching you watching this, because you were just smirking all the way through that.
GERVAIS: Yes. I knew what was coming. (LAUGHTER)
MORGAN: When I watched that, when that line came up, I just burst out laughing. I was on Twitter, and immediately just said, "All right. Already, I'm in complete hysterics here."
GERVAIS: Again, and who's going to be offended by that?
MORGAN: I don't know, Ashton Kutcher, Bruce Willis?
GERVAIS: No. They know it's a joke. They know -- again, the target there is my, I suppose, misinformation.
MORGAN: Did you speak to either of them? Bruce was there, right?
GERVAIS: Yes. No, I didn't. The people I spoke to were -- I spoke to Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. They were cool with it. You know?
Jennifer Lopez was the funniest. I was coming out, and it was halfway through the show, and I was going on stage, and they're waiting, Alex Baldwin and Jennifer Lopez. And she turns and says, "Gervais, I will kill you, man. What are you going to" -- I said, "It's fine."
She went, "Oh, man." I said -- she goes, "You're going to have a go at me?" I said, "Well, of course, I'm going to have a go at you. I'm not going to have a go at him. Look at the size of him."
GERVAIS: Right? I said, "I've got to have a go at someone. And pick the big man or the woman, I'm going to have a go at the woman."
She went, "You had a go at men out there." I said, "No. Johnny Depp, he's pretty. He's not like he's" -- so -- and she went, "Oh, man, I'm going to kill you."
And I went out there and I did the thing, which was "'Jenny from the Block." "If the block in question is the one on Rodeo Drive." And as she came around the corner she went, "OK." She was OK with it.
Again, this is it. Half the time you hear these people, they were offended, they weren't. This is -- this is the thing -- with things like some on media, you know, you on Twitter. Now, Twitter is like evolution among bacteria. It's so much faster. So one gets -- and then it spreads like a virus.
MORGAN: Well, with Twitter, the thing that was going on -- and I joined in this -- was that you had been -- you'd been shot dead halfway through the show.
GERVAIS: I didn't know about this until afterwards.
MORGAN: Because you disappeared, and it suddenly became -- somebody started this, "Where is Ricky Gervais?" GERVAIS: Yes.
MORGAN: And then it became, "Well, where is he?" And then the minutes tick by, and we kept waiting, and there's no sign of you.
GERVAIS: The most serious one that actually was a conspiracy theory that went on was that the organizers had stopped me going out.
GERVAIS: But this continued after I then came out.
GERVAIS: Which didn't make sense.
MORGAN: Well, it seemed like you came out a little coward when you came back out.
GERVAIS: No, not at all. They were all scheduled. And if they'd say, "You can't go out there," or "Tone it down," it wouldn't happen.
MORGAN: I want to play another clip now from the night, which is Robert Downey, Jr. decided to take you on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: I love this next presenter. He's so cool. He's the star of "Iron Man," "Two Girls and a Guy," "Wonder Boys." Sorry, are these porn films? "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "Bowfinger." Really? Here, "Up the Academy." Come on.
He has done all those films, but many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail.
Please welcome Robert Downey, Jr.
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR., ACTOR: Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited, with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far. Wouldn't you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, you're laughing there.
MORGAN: Was he joking?
GERVAIS: Of course he was joking.
MORGAN: How do you know? GERVAIS: Because I've met him, and he's got a great sense of humor.
MORGAN: Did you meet him afterwards?
GERVAIS: No, no, no. Beforehand.
MORGAN: So you're guessing he's joking.
GERVAIS: Well, I'm guessing that he's not bothered by anything I said. Why would he be? He's Robert Downey, Jr. He's the coolest man in the world. Why would he care?
And there was this conspiracy that the crowd was stunned into silence. Well, someone put a laugh track on them, because they're all -- they're all laughing. It's crazy.
MORGAN: Well, obviously you're into these kinds of things. Half of them are roaring with laughter.
MORGAN: -- and half of them are too shocked to say anything because they can't believe --
GERVAIS: Well, exactly.
MORGAN: -- any presenting -- no hosts do this in America.
GERVAIS: Oh, it's also the worst room for a comic, because Jerry Seinfeld said he'd never do an award show, because they're not there to be made laughed at. They're there to see if they won an award.
GERVAIS: And, of course, as it goes on, with everyone that wins, three people lost. So it's exponential that people will go --
MORGAN: You end up with two-thirds of the room are extremely unhappy.
GERVAIS: And drunk.
MORGAN: And you've got to try and make them laugh.
MORGAN: And your strategy is to try on pour on the misery.
GERVAIS: No, my strategy is to make me laugh. If there's anyone in the world like me, that's a bonus. I'm very Darwinist about this.
You do your own thing, and then you see if you survive. And I wouldn't have it any other way, because if you start second-guessing and you're trying to find people that are like you, or change it to make certain people like you, you're finished. And you're finished as a comedian more than any other thing in the world.
You know, it's not my job to worry about what people think of me. That's a job for a politician. OK?
I don't care what people think of me. I care if I've done a good job and I care if I've told the truth. That's all I care about. If it's funny, what a great bonus that is
MORGAN: When we come back, I'm going to ask you about what I think was the contentious part of your speech at the Globes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER LOPEZ, SINGER/ACTRESS: So, in his mind, it was all in good fun, and it was. But there were some awkward, you know, in the room, being in the room, it was like ek!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": I want to tell you, last night, I watched the Golden Globes, I was offended by Ricky Gervais.
STEWART: I was offended that a comedian could be that funny at an awards show. Ricky was hilarious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he was brilliant.
STEVE BUSCEMI, ACTOR: He was naughty, wasn't he? Wow. Wow. I almost cried. But he's so funny.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MORGAN: And that, in a nutshell, is the secret. I mean, some of them, I suspect, are almost crying, for the reasons we've discussed. They maybe lost out on an award, they're feeling miserable. You hammer home the nail into a coffin. But it's so darkly funny.
GERVAIS: Well, I hope that no one was truly offended. I hope -- you know, I never went out there to embarrass anyone in the room. You know, they weren't the butt of my jokes.
It was a -- it was more like a gentle ribbing or a roasting. You know, I admire most of those people in the room, and I've got nothing against, you know, Bruce Willis or Sly Stallone. I think they're great. I think they're great actors. And I was never trying to -- I'm surprised that anyone thought they would be offended. That's the strange thing. I don't know if they were, but I'm pretty sure they weren't.
No one wants to be embarrassed, but --
MORGAN: You said that people like Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson are gifts from the comedy god.
MORGAN: And I want to play you the clip of Charlie Sheen from the Globes as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: Welcome to the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards, live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking -- or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, that's a great gag.
GERVAIS: That's like a sweet old daytime television gag, you know? A guy's in the news, he got drunk, you know, and it was in the newspapers. He's not sitting at home going, "Oh, how did he find out?" Do you know what I mean? He's going, "Oh, that's the end of it."
And Mel Gibson, it was all over the news. There's no one going, "Who told Gervais?" You know?
MORGAN: But do you care -- let me ask you --
GERVAIS: And Mel is doing another film. Charlie Sheen's back at work.
MORGAN: The devil's advocate --
GERVAIS: Go on.
MORGAN: -- if you got an addiction problem, as I suspect both of those do have in some form --
MORGAN: -- and they've been going through a pretty harrowing time. Is anything like that ever off limits? Do you care about what they may be going through in their private lives?
GERVAIS: Well, I don't know if they have an addiction. I don't know --
MORGAN: If you did, would it make a difference?
GERVAIS: Also, I'm not judging them. I'm not judging them for what they did.
MORGAN: You're mocking them, aren't you?
GERVAIS: No I'm not. I'm confronting the elephant in the room. They hired me. Like I'm -- like I'm going to go out there and not talk about the issues in their industry?
Don't forget, I've got to be an outsider there. I mustn't come out there as everyone's mate and schmooze. That's nauseating. I've got to come out there and I've got to roast them.
MORGAN: Do you think you pricked the balloons of award ceremonies in America almost irreparably, where they can't go back now being too -
GERVAIS: It won't make a difference. They'll either carry on and they'll get a sense of humor about it, or they'll go back to, we want someone who says we're brilliant.
MORGAN: But the joke I thought was nearest the knuckle, simply because I know American culture quite well now, and they're a very Christian nation here in America, was what you said right at the end that almost got phased out. I just want to play this back to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: Thanks to everyone in the room for being a good sport. Thanks to NBC. Thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press. Thank you for watching at home.
And thank you to God for making me an atheist. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: What's up with that?
MORGAN: Well, if you're a believer in God, if you're a Christian, as many tens of millions in America are --
MORGAN: -- you could see you as poking fun at their religion.
GERVAIS: Not at all. How many people thank God every time? They say, "Thank God." I don't -- I don't -- I don't get offended.
MORGAN: All right. But you must be aware that a lot of people in America would potentially find that offensive.
GERVAIS: What, because I'm saying I don't believe in God?
MORGAN: Yes, because you're kind of mocking them there.
GERVAIS: No I'm not. I'm not mocking them. People's beliefs aren't my concern at all.
And I certainly don't differentiate between religions either. I look at all religions the same. Unlike religious people, I look at all religions equally.
MORGAN: You were religious until you were about 8 years old. Is that right?
GERVAIS: Yes. I was brought up Christian, yes.
MORGAN: And what happened to change your mind then?
GERVAIS: I used to go to Sunday school all the time, I believed in -- well, you've got to realize that when you're a working class kid -- I came from a very poor, working class background. My dad was a laborer and my mom was a housewife. I lived in a poorer state, like the projects.
And so, a working class mom who -- her hope isn't that you become a doctor or a lawyer or an international comedian, it's that you don't die in a bar room fight. And basically, the best way to do that is to take on Christian values, which, you know, preach morality. And -- but they haven't got the monopoly on good.
This is my point. I'm not a Christian, but I live my life in a good way. And some people say, well, who says what good is? Well, you know what? I do.
I'm good to people because it's the way I want to be treated. And I don't believe I'll be rewarded in heaven, but I do --
MORGAN: What do you think will happen to you?
GERVAIS: I'll be rewarded now.
MORGAN: But when you die, what do you think happens?
GERVAIS: People who liked me will remember me.
MORGAN: Are you a spiritual person?
GERVAIS: Well, not in that sense. I get -- I get a funny feeling when I see a friend or a mountain or an animal. It fills me with joy. My first love is science and nature. But it's explainable.
And just because I don't think that I'm going to go to heaven, I don't think my life's worthless. I don't think --
MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) atheists -- because I do believe. And I was brought up a Catholic, and I remain that, sure. But, you know, I think everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, whatever they may be. GERVAIS: Absolutely.
MORGAN: The problem for atheists, it must be so doom and gloom. When you get to, like, 70, 80, to think, well, hang on, that's it. That's the end of everything.
GERVAIS: Oh, of course. That's right. Yes.
MORGAN: You must fear your death tens time more than Christians. Why?
GERVAIS: I don't believe there's anything after.
MORGAN: Because it's the end.
GERVAIS: But you're saying you believe because the alternative is too terrible.
MORGAN: That's not why I believe, but certainly it's a very comforting thought to think that I don't think it all ends in the box under the ground.
GERVAIS: But I can't help what I believe any more than you can. And it's up to you what you believe in, you know?
And this thing about not believing in God, there are 2,798 odd (ph) gods. And so, if you're a Christian, you believe in one of them and you don't believe in all the others. So --
MORGAN: I'm going to come back in the next part with what I'm going to describe as truly horrifying photographs of you.
MORGAN: Last year, "TIME" magazine listed you under the "100 Most Influential People" as an artist.
GERVAIS: I couldn't keep a straight face.
GERVAIS: I know. I know. They couldn't find any more.
MORGAN: When you see lists like that, you must laugh, don't you?
GERVAIS: Oh, I love it. I love it. I complained. I said, "Why is Nelson Mandela above me?" I said, "He did nothing for 25 years."
MORGAN: You like to quote Oprah. You said, "If you don't know who you are by the time you're famous, it will define you." GERVAIS: No.
GERVAIS: I don't like to quote Oprah. Well, I go around (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: No, you quoted Oprah.
GERVAIS: Well, I've used that one, yes.
MORGAN: So you do quote her.
GERVAIS: That was fascinating. It was very interesting because, you know, you do want to keep a sane head. It's very, very important as a -- whatever you call me, comedian, satirist, maker of programs, because I love the minutia of human behavior. I love that, "The Office," "Extras," and I like excruciating social faux pas. And nothing gets you there like that.
It's fundamental to us. You know, no one wants to make a fool of themselves.
MORGAN: We're talking of excruciating social faux pas, and not wanting to make a fool of yourself, I'd love to show you a picture of a young Ricky -- I'm thinking your late teens.
MORGAN: Anything you want to say?
GERVAIS: Yes. Eat your heart out, Johnny Depp.
MORGAN: I mean, you're a good-looking lad, but it's pretty camp, isn't it?
GERVAIS: It's much more than camp. But it was the '80s, so that's why --
MORGAN: It's actually got worse, because I can now take you to your band, your pop band -
MORGAN: -- called Seona Dancing, which was a kind of weird variant of Wham!
MORGAN: I mean, what are you trying to be there? It's like -- yes, you look like Jude Law there.
GERVAIS: I'm trying to be -- I'm trying to be David Sylvian from Japan. I'm trying to be David Bowie.
MORGAN: And Spandau?
GERVAIS: Yes, of course.
MORGAN: Romantic kind of look.
GERVAIS: Yes. I'll tell you, we were sitting outside, eating some fish and chips, me and Bill, the other guy in the band. And so, it's not -- actually, it's on a Saturday and we're dressed like that. OK?
This police van came along and just slowed down. It was like the (INAUDILBE) and I looked out and this one policeman said, "You look like a couple of prats." Right? And drove off.
And Bill looked at me and said, "Is that an offense?"
GERVAIS: Of course, now, I've gotten to the age when I see people like that, I want to wind the window and say, you look like a couple of prats.
MORGAN: That was funny. You've gone from this svelte-like, angelic creature here -- and I want to show you a picture of you taken last week --
MORGAN: -- which you did which was --
GERVAIS: Let me explain.
MORGAN: Ellen gave you this.
GERVAIS: I can explain --
MORGAN: You need to explain this one, Gervais.
GERVAIS: I can explain everything. I want to do this show every day so I can come on and go, let me explain.
GERVAIS: This is great. This is amazing.
Right. OK. So the first time I did "Ellen," she gave me some underwear. I think she gives it to all her guests, "Ellen" underwear. And I went, "Thanks very much."
And the second time I did it, I said, "Oh, thanks for the underwear," right? And she went, "Are you wearing it now?" I said, "No, I'm not wearing it now." I went, "Oh, I think I'm wearing my Elmo pants," right?
My girlfriend -- I did a "Sesame Street" and my -- the highlight of my crew was meeting Elmo. I love that little guy. And I was -- and I showed it to them.
So, this time I went on, she showed a picture of those. She went, "I've got you some better ones," and she showed me these and said, "Will you wear them to the Golden Globes?" So, I did.
MORGAN: But you actually posted that on your own blog. And the reason you did that is, clearly, because you think you're a bit of a looker there, don't you? You're proud of yourself?
GERVAIS: I know and that -- and that's got about three or four socks down there.
And you still can't tell, can you?
MORGAN: But you used to be -- when "The Office" came out, the great thing about you was --
MORGAN: -- you were just chunky, chubby Ricky --
MORGAN: And we all felt that could be the guy off the street.
MORGAN: You were overweight.
MORGAN: You know, everything about you was physically --
GERVAIS: I do.
MORGAN: And that -- that's Joe the local.
GERVAIS: There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that at all.
MORGAN: But look at you now. You've become this kind of --
GERVAIS: Well, yes --
MORGAN: -- Hollywood glamour pinup.
GERVAIS: As if. The thing is, I've never worried about my weight, never worried about it at all.
I got fat, who cares? And I -- I -- I still don't worry about it, really. But I -- this is the thing, I got fatter and fatter from the age of about 29, when I got my first job -- Yes. I was a bit late.
GERVAIS: And -- and -- and I think I, you know, got -- just got fatter and fatter up to that --
MORGAN: What was the point when you went -- how -- how heavy were you when you went that's enough?
GERVAIS: Fourteen stone. Fourteen stone.
MORGAN: Was there a moment of kind of self-awareness where you went, OK, that's enough?
GERVAIS: I just -- I just felt like where was it going to end?
I don't -- I didn't want to blow it, actually. Life is great and I didn't want to wake up with a heart attack.
MORGAN: Did you -- did you feel, also, you've been dealt this incredible hand where suddenly, in your late 30s, "The Office" broke out as this huge --
MORGAN: I can remember the first moment I watched "The Office." I was on my own in my apartment in London. I turned on the TV, I thought it was a documentary.
GERVAIS: That was -- you were meant to, yes. Right.
MORGAN: And -- and, literally, it worked. And I began watching this thing. And I realized it was just complete comedy genius.
But were you thinking, right, I'm 38, 39, I'm -- I'm fourteen stone, I have this incredible sudden bit of luck in my career. Right, you made it; you worked hard to get it, I can't blow this; I've got to now play this game seriously?
GERVAIS: Not then, no. I didn't think it until last year. I didn't think it until last year.
GERVAIS: Yes, yes, I didn't -- I didn't ever worry about my weight. I did routines. I mean they gave me 20 minutes in every standup, you know. Now I think I've got -- I've stopped talking about my life.
MORGAN: How much have you lost?
GERVAIS: About 25 pounds.
MORGAN: And how have you done it?
GERVAIS: Working out. MORGAN: Any nip and tuck?
GERVAIS: Oh, Jesus, no. Of course not.
GERVAIS: No, nothing. Nothing.
MORGAN: They're not going to believe me.
GERVAIS: But I've -- I've -- I have those things on --
GERVAIS: -- and, no, they're things you buy. I got them from a luxury lounge.
Yes. I got them from a -- right.
MORGAN: Have you got vainer, do you think, since you've been a TV and film star?
GERVAIS: No. I've -- no. I haven't been vain since that photo, the early one, yes. And, no, I don't think I am. I think you mustn't be. If you start trying to be cool and sexy, you've lost it. You've just lost it as a -- certainly as a comedian. And you mustn't -- you mustn't ever take yourself too seriously.
You know, there was a -- there's some -- I forgot, there was a Roman emperor, apparently, who used to walk the streets. And they would all come up to him. And he hired someone to whisper in his ear, "You're just a man, you're just a man."
And I've got friends and family. They don't even -- they're not even that complimentary.
MORGAN: Oddly enough, after the break, I'm going to talk to you about some of your friends and family.
Ricky Gervais, we're going to get low down and personal.
GERVAIS: Here he goes again.
MORGAN: Ricky, one of the many surprising things about you, I think, is that you've managed throughout this extraordinary explosion of fame and fortune to keep the same woman, Jane. GERVAIS: Yes.
MORGAN: She's been in your life since you were at university, 25 years.
GERVAIS: And it's so funny because when "The Office" broke and I was sitting at home with my first two bastards, you know, and just having a glass of wine. And I went -- and I'm -- don't forget, I'm 40 now. And I said, "Why didn't I do this before?"
And she went, "Because you wouldn't have been any good."
And it's so true. You've got to have life experiences. You've got to do something. You've got to have a struggle.
And I -- I fell into this. You know, I worked in an office for seven years. That's why I -- I like to think the attention to detail in "The Office" was good. It was -- it had to be real. And it was -- it was absolutely essential to the show that people thought it was a documentary. And it was also essential to the characters that they were acting up to the camera.
Without it being a fake documentary, it's quite a boring sitcom. But as soon as you add that element of there being watched, so David really wants to become famous, which I've always been fascinated with -- I've always been fascinated with fame. I feared it.
MORGAN: Do you like being famous?
GERVAIS: No. I'm getting better with it. But it's -- one, I'm a very private person. You know, I -- I've always been a private person. It's just I've never, never really wanted to put my mark on a wall as such, certainly not for the sake of it. I've never wanted to be famous for the sake of it. I knew that was tragic.
So I thought, well, OK, you might be famous if you're -- if you're a successful comedian, you're a famous one. It's an upshot of what you do, it's not the driving force.
GERVAIS: But -- and I feared that. And I feared being lumped in with those people that will do anything to become famous, those people that live their lives like an open wound, going look at me, look at me. I didn't want to, you know. And so I thought, OK, I was ready for it.
I was worried a little bit about pressing -- the press intrusion. But I've got better with that, because I also realize now that sort of people ask for it.
MORGAN: But this week, for example, in America, it's gone crazy.
GERVAIS: I don't like it.
MORGAN: And you've had to deal with the paparazzi everywhere -- GERVAIS: Yes, but I don't like that because it makes --
MORGAN: Because I was expecting you, to be honest, to come in and be quite frivolous about what -- what --
GERVAIS: Yes --
MORGAN: -- has been going on, the fury. And actually, you -- you took it quite seriously, I can tell.
GERVAIS: Well -- well, the reason it's OK is because I'm not ashamed of anything I did. You know, I -- I've got attention for something that I'm -- I'm not ashamed of.
MORGAN: But it looks to me like it's -- not that it's rattled you a bit, but the attention has attracted --
GERVAIS: Well, no, I --
GERVAIS: -- things spin out of order. You know, it -- I know how, you know, rumors start. And I think once -- once you're trending on Twitter or everyone is writing about you, that they -- they have to come up with a new angle, so they have to push it. So --
MORGAN: And does part of you, being like, I guess, all comedians, slightly insecure -- you always are, because you're always chasing a laugh --
GERVAIS: I don't think I am insecure.
MORGAN: Not at all?
GERVAIS: No, no. But I demand --
MORGAN: Because part of you fears that --
GERVAIS: I demand the truth. You see, I don't care if you -- if you got me here and said, Ricky, I didn't find you funny, I've never found you funny, you're -- you've got an annoying face, I've never liked you, I'll go, that's fine. But if you say, and I saw you eating a squirrel in the park, I'll go no, no, no, no. No, you didn't. You didn't.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but they can't have their own facts.
MORGAN: So there's all the rumors spilling out of the globe that you've been pulled off the air and all that kind of thing.
GERVAIS: Yes. And it's not that bad. It's just not true. You know, it's nothing bad. If they -- if they say terrible things, that's when, you know, I go no, no, no. But there's so much misinformation out there. It doesn't look -- even misinformation that's -- that's good, I think, oh, they've got that wrong. You know, they could -- they could -- I -- I'd be just as annoyed if they said, Ricky Gervais is 6'3". I'd go, oh, actually, I'm 5'8" but you know --
MORGAN: Are you -- are you easy to live with?
GERVAIS: Yes, I am. Yes.
MORGAN: Would Jane say that?
GERVAIS: Yes. I hope so. I must be doing something right.
MORGAN: Well, I mean it's extraordinary, in this day and age, to be honest. You know, one in three marriages ends in divorce. You're not married, I know --
MORGAN: -- but you've been together 25 years.
GERVAIS: Yes, we are married, we're just not married in the eyes of God, you know. We're -- we -- we share everything. We --
MORGAN: Is that -- is that the reason you haven't gotten married? You just don't believe in God, so what's the point?
GERVAIS: No. No. It's just -- I can't -- I don't really see the point, really. But we are married. Every -- you know, everything is in both our names. As you say, it's more stable than most marriages.
And this thing, this certificate that says you're married in the eyes of God, you know, do they get divorced in the eyes of God, as well?
He doesn't come to the divorce, does he?
So it means -- it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything to say I promise. We have promised. We're together. We're together for 30 years. And everything's -- everything's equal. I just don't -- I just don't need that -- I don't need that confirmation, really.
MORGAN: Do you think you'll ever have kids or is it --
No. No, we -- we've made that --
MORGAN: Is that a deliberate, conscious decision?
GERVAIS: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Why? GERVAIS: Yes.
MORGAN: I'll bet you'd be a good dad, wouldn't you?
GERVAIS: I -- I -- oh, I love kids. I love all my, you know, sisters' and brothers' kids. And I play with them all day. And I say, right. I go, that's -- they're yours now. I'm off to the pub.
MORGAN: Do you feel lucky to have someone like Jane, then?
GERVAIS: Of course.
MORGAN: In a business --
GERVAIS: Well, I --
MORGAN: -- that is so riddled with --
GERVAIS: Of course.
MORGAN: -- you know, bad behavior, cheating --
GERVAIS: But --
MORGAN: -- and all the rest of it.
GERVAIS: But I like to take some of the credit, 50 percent of it.
GERVAIS: You know, you've got to try hard.
MORGAN: What -- what's been the secret? Without being cheesy about it, what has been the secret to it?
GERVAIS: There's no secret. It's obvious. It's we have things in common, a sense of humor, mutual respect, all those things. They're -- they're -- they're obvious.
MORGAN: What I noticed back stage was she still laughs at your jokes.
GERVAIS: Well, that's -- that's important, isn't it?
MORGAN: And that, after 25 years or more, is a pretty amazing achievement --
MORGAN: -- in any relationship.
GERVAIS: Well, I still laugh at hers. I mean, this is the thing.
MORGAN: What did she say to you after the Globes this year?
GERVAIS: She said I've -- I've got the fast car, here's your disguise and I've got two tickets to Cuba.
GERVAIS: I said, they can't fly to Cuba, we're in America. We're going to have to go to Europe and then on to Cuba.
MORGAN: When we come back, I want to talk to you about the American "Office" and the rumors that you may be going into the American "Office" and also about your parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oscar, you brought your Speedo, I assume.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't wear a Speedo, Michael.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you can't swim in leather pants. Ha, ha, I'm just yanking your chain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Ricky, the other hot story about you raging across the Internet tonight is that you are apparently going back into the American version of "The Office" -- not going back, but in for the first time -- as a guest. Is that true?
GERVAIS: It is true, but it was meant to be a secret one. So I read today that the producers released it. But it's -- you know, it's just -- it's sort of a pop-up.
MORGAN: What's the part you play?
GERVAIS: I just bump into Steve Carell. But it's just -- it's just a little thing that I did for Steve because he's going. So --
MORGAN: Did it feel weird? You created this whole brand.
GERVAIS: Yeah, I nearly forgot how to do it. I nearly forgot how to do David Brent, then I realized --
MORGAN: So you play David Brent?
GERVAIS: Yes, you just act like an idiot. It's easy. It's so much fun. I've never had as much fun playing a character as David Brent, because everything he does is so desperate that it's instantly funny, this man, who so desperately wants to be loved, and he mistook sort of, you know, respect for popularity, which is sort of my point about fame. So many people make that mistake, you know. So yeah.
MORGAN: When you first saw Steve Carell playing his version, did you feel like I did, ah, what a relief, he can do it?
GERVAIS: Oh yeah.
MORGAN: Because I didn't see how anyone could do --
GERVAIS: But it got better and better. It got better and better, and it is different, and it has to be different. And I remember, first of all, people were saying this won't work, because we were sort of darlings of the press. It won't work. It won't be the same.
And we said, well, no, it won't be the same, but it shouldn't be the same. Because the original version wouldn't have worked on network TV at 9:00. And you know, it's much bigger than the original version.
MORGAN: Did Steve tell you that he was leaving the American version?
GERVAIS: Yeah, well, I sent him an email saying I think you did the right thing. As a producer, I was expected to try and stop him, you know, because, you know, he is a big part of it. But you know, it can survive. Whether it should or not, I don't know.
You know, it's -- it's -- I do feel that I'm just an adviser and he's done an amazing job. He's done his time -- sounds like a prison sentence, doesn't it? And it's bigger than we ever thought it would be. It's more successful. He's bigger than I bet he ever thought he'd be. And he's done an amazing job.
MORGAN: If you could be trapped on a desert island with three other comedians in history, who would they be?
GERVAIS: Laurel and Hardy would count for two of them straight away. I think the thing is, it's weird because America is sort of my Mecca for comedy. I was brought up with --
MORGAN: If you could have one American then, who would it be?
MORGAN: The funniest man you've ever seen or woman in America.
GERVAIS: In America? At the moment, Louis C.K. for standup. Will Arnett is just always funny. I just sat down and did a special for HBO called "Talking Funny," and it's me, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Louis C.K. Just four hours of guys making each other laugh, talking about comedy. And I've never had so much fun. So those three.
MORGAN: You got your own show, "The Ricky Gervais Show," on HBO, in its second season now. Tell me about that show. I mean, it's hilarious. But I'm British, so I get all this. GERVAIS: It's another passion project. Everything I've ever done has been a labor of love. The Flanimals box (ph) that is now being made into a movie, I used to make my nephew laugh, you know? "The Office," I used to work in an office and people watch. "Extras," I was just thrown into this new life, and I made notes and poked fun at it.
And this was me in a room with Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchant, just chatting. There's nothing like it. there's nothing like making that connection. And I wanted it to be like they were eavesdropping.
As a comedian, what you try and do is be as funny on stage or on telly or in a film as you are in a pub with people you know and trust and drink with.
MORGAN: If you had five minutes left to live, what's the joke you'd tell?
GERVAIS: There's four jokes I just realized I can't tell.
MORGAN: I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, I'm going to give you a chance to think about this and we'll come back after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, that's another quote. That's another quote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you talk, your mouth comes out with stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That to me stands along with what were those things in Gremlins called --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I mean, if you sit there and try to use your brain to do it, it doesn't work the same. Just keep talking. Just keep -- keep your mouth talking, and eventually it will come out with something pretty good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Karl Pilkington is fantastic.
GERVAIS: He's a genius. He's an absolute genius.
MORGAN: Actually, he's literally a comedy genius.
(CROSS TALK) GERVAIS: He's an artist. He sees the world differently and there's no filter. He says what's on his mind. He's got these amazing theories, and he's got these wonderful little malapropisms, and -- but he's such a sweet little creature. You know, it's -- he's got that childlike quality. He's like Homer Simpson. Nothing he says is malicious. He doesn't understand the world like we do.
MORGAN: Will you be as brutal with "The Ricky Gervais Show," which airs on HBO on Fridays, I should say -- will you be as brutal with that as you have been with your other shows? It is two season and bang?
GERVAIS: No, not at all. I'd love this to run and run, because it's -- it's reportage. It's a real thing. It's just guys talking that we then edit down. And then the animation adds so much to it, because, you know, on the podcast, we did this -- three guys in a room, we used to talk about something, anything, and we took on the big issues.
We weren't talking like comedy or punk or -- we were talking about philosophy and the meaning of life and religion and, you know, all those really serious stuff that you can get, you know, teeth into. And he doesn't think he's being funny.
We're talking about the three wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus, and Karl said, were those presents for his birthday or Christmas? Which is a brilliant question, isn't it?
MORGAN: A great question.
GERVAIS: It's just a great question. And he's childlike, and he asks things about the world.
MORGAN: Let me ask you a difficult question.
GERVAIS: Go on.
MORGAN: Is it true you turned down "Mission: Impossible 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Ocean's 13?"
MORGAN: Are you mad?
GERVAIS: No. Because I was busy. I was. I think I was -- I was -- well --
MORGAN: Did you ever imagine you'd be too busy to be in three of the greatest franchises in movie history?
GERVAIS: I knew they were good. I didn't turn them down for any other reason other than --
MORGAN: But did you ever think, when you were a young Ricky Gervais, that you could ever be in that position, to turn movies down like that? GERVAIS: I never thought about I'd ever be offered a movie. But you've got to realize that I've turned about 100 movies down. It's not that I think I'm above it or they were bad. It's because I was doing other things. You know, I was -- I was writing and creating "The Office." I was writing and creating "Extras."
I still manage the estate of "The Office" and "Extras" every day, and now with the American version, it's on eighth remake --
MORGAN: How many DVDs have you sold?
GERVAIS: Probably about seven or eight million.
MORGAN: So how rich are you?
GERVAIS: Oh, come on. You know Simon Cowell.
MORGAN: I do. Are you richer than him?
MORGAN: You can't be far off.
GERVAIS: You started off so well. I preferred you when you were saying you were going to take me to a darkened room and spank me. It was less awkward.
MORGAN: What would your parents have made of your success? Because your mother died just before you hit the big time? Your dad saw a little bit of "The Office."
GERVAIS: She saw me do a bit of telly, but they were proud of me and all my family. They were no more impressed with this than they should be. They were proud of me when I grew up a nice person and didn't hurt anyone.
And I remember -- and they were honest, my family was always honest to me. And I remember when I was about 13, I've got much older brothers and sisters, and I said to my mom, why are all my brothers and sisters so much older than me? And she went, "because you were a mistake." Which is great.
MORGAN: And you've been making mistakes ever since.
GERVAIS: Exactly, yes. But I love that.
MORGAN: What were the values that they instilled in you, do you think?
GERVAIS: Work hard and pay your way. Then you can have a laugh. Then you can have a drink.
MORGAN: And do you?
GERVAIS: Yes. That's all I do.
MORGAN: Do you get to enjoy the fruits of your hard work, you think?
GERVAIS: No, I enjoy the hard work. That's what I enjoy. I enjoy this. I wake up and it's a privilege that I can have an idea. Nothing gives me an adrenaline rush like an idea. What a privilege that I can have an idea and start working on that. So no, I'd never take that for granted.
And as long as I've tried my best and I'm proud of what I did, I can't ask for anything else.
And Bob Dylan said, "A man can consider himself a success if he wakes up in the morning, goes to bed at night, and in between, did exactly what he wanted.
MORGAN: Can I rephrase that? A man is a success if he wakes up in the morning, pricks a few Hollywood ego balloons in the afternoon, and goes home and has a pint.
MORGAN: Cheers, Ricky.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, George Clooney opens up about everything, from his fight to save Sudan, to his family values, and the Malaria that he recently contracted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERVAIS: What do your parents mean to you? What values do you think they instilled in you as a young -- a young George?
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: My father taught me never to mix grain and grape at a very young age.
And that's -- and I can't tell you how important that's been over my -- over the years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And now we're going to go to "AC 360" with my colleague, Anderson Cooper. Anderson, have you ever had Malaria?