I’m a fan of Ricky Gervais. I first caught his podcasts some number of years ago and found him highly entertaining. He’s a brilliant comic with a quick mind and a solid grasp of showmanship. He’s also a slacker of the highest order.
Before you email me with harsh words, hear me out. I’m a slacker, too, so I lay this same label on Gervais as a sign of approval and respect. To be a slacker on his level is to truly understand the differences between ‘working hard’ and ‘working smart’.
This is not to say Gervais hasn’t worked hard. Of course he has. However, most of that hard work has been focused on creating smart work. His original television series, The Office put he and frequent partner Stephen Merchant on the map. That was the hard work that setup the smart work. It put money in their pockets and their names in lights. They now had the clout to do some other things.
Acting in front of a camera, day in and day out, or for a live audiences on a worldwide comedy tour, are much harder forms of work than doing a podcast in a studio, or animating the edited podcasts years later to air on HBO. This is the type of work that appeals to Gervais. It’s always been his motto to do things not everyone can do, or why else do it? It’s no surprise his “slacker” work has been so widely and highly praised. The work is fantastic.
Successful slackers like Gervais know it’s smart to work as close to home as possible, doing as much chit-chatting as possible, and only going back on the road to perform in front of live audiences when absolutely unavoidable.
I admire Gervais sitting down to create The Ricky Gervais Show, which is funny beyond belief, and to create and produce An Idiot Abroad, which features a live Karl Pilkington traveling to the 7 wonders of the modern world.
I most recently saw him on his own show, Talking Funny, on HBO. Once again he’s sitting around, chatting it up with the fellas. This time, instead of Merchant and Pilkington at his beck and call, he’s with comedians Chris Rock, Louis CK, and the man himself, Jerry Seinfeld. They literally are sitting around a coffee table yakking it up about how awesome it is to be comedians. The only thing missing from the set was a bong and a pile of weed!
Props to slacker-turned-millionaire Ricky Gervais. Word has it HBO is set to do another episode of Talking Funny. It’s the slackers’ dream come true: pleasant, profitable work close to home.