Published on April 27th, 2010 | by Andy Gaffney5
Ricky Gervais at the O2 Dublin
The very first time you see Ricky Gervais’s face at the gig, it’s on a large video screen puking semen into a toilet and then asking for more. It’s this charming image (I hope your mental pictures are sticking by the way, dear readers) that sets up Gervais’s mission statement for the rest of the night: he is going to do and say whatever he wants and there isn’t much we can do about it (not that we would want to because he’s rather funny is that Gervais fella).
The thing about Gervais is that he seems to fit into the ‘either love him or hate him’ bracket more than any other comedian in recent memory, well maybe apart from Bernard Manning, though you would have to excuse the ‘love’ part from that. I, however, see Mr. Gervais as a bit of a hero, and feel that The Office is the greatest piece of television I have ever seen. I don’t see his back catalogue as completely bullet-proof mind, otherwise this review would be fairly pointless. Recent Gervais offerings have been seriously lacking, such as the disappointing Fame tour, the film The Invention of Lying and the recent podcasts and audiobooks feeling too rigid and reliant on the mind of Karl Pilkington compared to the free-flowing brilliance of the XFM radio shows. With this, the walk to the O2 had me buzzing with excitement but also the niggling fear of ‘Oh God what if it’s not as good as it should be’? Needless to say this fear went away pretty much with the opening semen-puking scene, which is a phrase I haven’t used since I reviewed the Power Rangers Live show at the Point Theatre when I was eleven.
Gervais strolls on as cocky as you always see him to music of The Who, and onto a stage that is so well designed – in the vein of Frankenstein’s lab – that it would normally be reserved for when Bono and Co roll into town. With the opening gambit of telling us how us ‘c-words’ are incredibly lucky that a living legend shelled out the twelve grand for a helicopter, Ricky Gervais’s Science show had begun and no one was safe. The hit list included mongs (his words not mine, stop giving out will ya), Amanda Holden and of course the two things that always seem to be in his target sights – God and fat people. It’s in the destruction of these topics that Gervais shines with fantastic offerings on why the story of Noah’s Ark is impossible (and how god and Noah might have been more than just friends) and how the ‘fat girls with pretty faces’ thing never really happens. However there is a clear target throughout the evening who Gervais returns to on more than a couple of occasions, and that is pretty much the blogger, practically any blogger who has a greasy side parting it seems. However Gervais isn’t pointing at the kind of blogger who’s just writing a good natured review (and whose side parting is more floppy and wind-swept, like a modern day Jane Austin hero). Rather it’s at the people who run to the internet, print media or any soap box they can when they miss the cheeky grin at the end of the punch line just to complain for the sake of complaining.
As for the location of the gig, I still find the 02 an unusual venue for a comic simply because of the sheer scale of it, and while Gervais held perfectly through sheer bravado, its sheer size makes impossible the intimate moments of crowd interaction that are sometimes gold dust. A comic with the popularity of, say, Dara O’Briain, could probably easily sell out the 02. However his show functions on interactions, on bringing the crowd in, and this felt slightly lost in the massive venue. So apart from this feeling, and the fact that the show could have been longer, it was a fantastic night. If you were not a fan of Gervais before because of his ‘I’m better than you’ act you probably won’t have changed your mind with the fact that with near world-conquering success he has almost become a being of pure smugness. Though with the sheer level of the ‘You either love him or you hate him’ vibe that comes with Gervais, if you were not a Gervais-ite before, you probably were not there. That is a shame, as with this new level of smugness came a new level of confidence and a man who can hold a crowd the size of a small country in the palm of his hands for an hour and half. You know, what he said at the start of the gig was right – we were lucky c***’s.