New York Comedy Festival preview with Ricky Gervais

The British comic fails to survive the apocalypse.

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Ricky Gervais, who plays Carnegie Hall on November 5 as part of the New York Comedy Festival, isn’t duplicitous like the character in his current film, The Invention of Lying. But he does fit other male stereotypes.

Whats in your rider when you tour?
Um, let’s see: a cheese sandwich with mature cheddar...

I’m sorry, what kind of cheddar?
Was it my accent? You know we did invent this language, so however I say it, that’s more likely to be correct.

Should we all be speaking Old English, then?
Yeah, put an e on the end of everything. I went past some shops in America and they put a double p and an e at the end. And, you know, “This one’s over 40 years old, this house!” Oh God, I’ve got relatives older than buildings in New York.

They all claim to be the best, too: “The best falafel in the world!” or “New York’s best T-shirts!”
Exactly. I didn’t even know there was a competition for that. Although, being male, I could give you the lists of all my best T-shirts and things like that. We take quizzes seriously as well. And we like toy guns. You see a bloke hold a toy gun, they hold it a bit more special, like we think we could survive in the streets if society went down. Whereas the truth is I’d start crying.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about how much dudes love lists and he said, “You must have seen High Fidelity”—as if I’d need Nick Hornby to tell me that!
Of course. A friend of Steve [Merchant] found this list on the printer at his office. It started off with things like “Learn French to superb level,” “Learn guitar,” “Learn to ski.” Then it said, “Take Julie on tour of Italy,” and then, “Fix Julie’s teeth.”

What?!?
Oh God! [Laughs] It was on the printer! He had obviously been making a plan for the rest of his life; his 15-year plan included marrying this girl but also getting her teeth fixed. Oh, dear.

When my friend had a baby, she couldn’t figure out whether to baptize her or not. She told me it was on her to-do list; under, “Book doctor’s appointment” and “Dry cleaning” was “Spiritualism.”
Oh, that’s great—under dry cleaning? There was this thing in the paper once, it was so unfortunate, about a kid who needed a liver transplant. The paper had put in his wish list to Santa. It was like, PlayStations and all that. And then No. 11 was “New liver.” And my friend went, “What if Santa Claus only gives you the first ten?” Like his parents were going, “You idiot! Why’d you put the liver at 11? Liver goes at No. 1.”

Ricky Gervais kicks off his Out of England II tour at Carnegie Hall Nov 5.

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