For years, it’s been rumored that Seinfeld refuses to do college shows because he’s disgusted with the restrictions put on comedy acts by liberal institutions. But on Gervais’s show, he set the record straight. When Gervais brings up the topic, the Long Island native begs, “Please stop with that. No, it’s not true. It’s amazing the legs that [story] got…Can we please put this to rest? I never said it. Here’s what I said: A comedian told me he doesn’t want to play colleges anymore. That’s what I said, and they ran with it.”
And on PC culture in general, he continued, “The mental agility that is required to execute this job is an essential part of it. Comedians complaining, ‘I can’t do this joke now because so-and-so is going to be offended.’ That’s right. You can’t. So do another joke. Find another way around it. Use a different word. It’s like slalom skiing. You have to make the gates.”
Gervais chimed in to say there’s nothing he won’t joke about. If journalists can write about it, it’s fair game for comedians. “Well, you’re talking about it. I talked about it in the form of a joke. It was just faster, and quicker, and it made people laugh.”
But who, in particular, is laughing?
Gervais’s perspective is in line with his 2018 Netflix special Humanity, criticized for its careless, offensive material, as well as his “tell-it-like-it-is” persona. Earlier this year, comedic writer Lindy West penned a piece for The New York Times entitled The World Is Evolving, and Ricky Gervais Isn’t.
Still, Gervais says he’s paying attention now more than ever. On the issue of having confidence as a performer, he said, “Thinking back, it wasn’t a case of confidence. It was that I didn’t care if they liked me or not. I didn’t care…But now I’m getting worried because now I appreciate them more. I like people more than I ever did.” Well, that’s nice.
The full 90-minute episode of the SiriusXM show will air Tuesday, December 4 at 11:00 a.m. ET on Comedy Greats channel 94.