From the News Of The World...
Ricky Gervais, the comedy genius behind The Office, Extras and a record-breaking string of hilarious podcasts - whose third book in the Flanimals series is out now - answers your questions.
You've worked with David Bowie, Samuel l Jackson, Jonathon Ross, Kate Winslet, Homer Simpson and Robert de Niro. Is there anyone you'd still love to work with - and has anyone turned you down?
Glen Hannah from Wolverhampton, and Jane Baker from Newark Notts
There are loads of people I'd love to work with. Al, Jack, Clint, Quentin, and anyone else who's such a legend that I don't need to give a surname.
And yes someone did turn us down. Keith Harris. Orville was well up for it but Keith didn't think it was quite for him. (See I didn't need to mention Orville's surname.)
The last series of extras was fantastic! will there be any more or will you kill it dead after 2 series like the office?
Steve Croucher, Gosport.
That's probably the end of Extras I'm afraid. Series two starts in The States on January 14th and the DVD comes out next spring. See it never really ends. We put so much into a series that we exhaust our ideas quite quickly.
We don't like to milk a project or exploit something we've created. We were offered a world tour of The Office stage show. Milking it.
We were offered a huge deal to put out a Brent doll like the one of Ray in Extras. We just think it detracts from the legacy. Also the brilliant Steve Carrell is making more money than any tour could and I don't need to get up off the sofa. Come on Carrell don't stop now.
You genius b****rd, were you surprised at how much of a hit the Office was in America?
Genius b****rd? That's how I want the Queen to address me when I get my Knighthood. Arise you genius b****rd.
I was surprised at how much The Office was a hit in Britain, never mind America. Apparently it's the most successful British comedy export of all time.(But still no knighthood). It's shown in over 80 countries and it's sold 4 million DVD's. (Not even an OBE)
On a serious note I must just say how brilliant I think the American Version is.
It's on ITV2 at the moment and on it's 50th episode in the States. We've actually written an episode for season 3 called The Convict. It looks like it's going to get syndicated and if that happens I'm going to buy Buckingham Palace and turn it into a huge Nandos. (She'll wish she'd got the sword out then.)
If you hadn't been a DJ, comedy writer, actor, broadcaster, podcaster, former pop star and best-selling children's author... what would you have done with your life?
Bronwen O'Brien, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
I'd do what every person who can't write or direct or act does. I'd become a critic.
What settlement did you make with Brainpool, the producers of the blatant German copy of The Office ("Stromberg")? Did they get away with just putting a brief "Inspired by The Office by Gervais and Merchant" in the closing credits (from Series 2 onwards) or was there an additional financial settlement?
As a Brit resident in Germany, I have never seen such blatant plagiarism. Ralf Husmann still acts as if he is some kind of genius for "creating" the series.
Huw Davies, Nuremberg, GERMANY
I can't go into details but yes there was an agreement reached and we are very happy with it. I must say I was very surprised when I saw the new unauthorised version. It's not like the Germans to just march in and take something that isn't theirs.
I love your podcasts but its obvious that Karl Pilkington is the real genius behind the shows. Have you got any plans to put him in a TV series - or are you worried that he would steal the limelight!?
Terry Wade, Shropshire.
You are absolutely right.
Karl is the funniest man I have ever met. You can ask him a question on anything and the answer will never disappoint.
Everywhere I go people ask me "Is Karl real?". I'm afraid so. He went into hospital recently and had to fill in one of those forms where you give permission for your organs to be used after you die. He ticked heart, liver, kidneys but wouldn't tick "eyes" I asked him why. He said "Because I'd hate to be a blind ghost" Unbelievable. The book (The World of Karl Pilkington) is hilarious. As for putting him in a TV show I don't think he needs my help. He's working on something for channel 4 in which he, in his own words, "investigates stuff an' that"
You've done TV, movies, podcasts, radio, books and the Simpsons. What is your proudest achievement and do you have anything left to achieve?
Lucy Brooks, Windsor.
I'm more proud of creating things than of the success that follows. I honestly wouldn't have been less proud of the Office if it hadn't got good rating or awards or whatever.
But in terms of proudest moments probably the Golden Globes or The Emmy. (The real Emmy- not the international Emmy. I've won one of those too but I don't talk about. Loads of Brits have got one of those) I do get an enormous buzz when people who I respect like Matt Groening or John Cleese, say they like my work. But as I say my proudest achievement is actually writing and directing The Office or Extras.
Please please ask this to Ricky, I'm a massive fan and read loads of interviews with him with the hope to find this out! Do you watch the excellent TV show Lost and if so did you see the episode where they mentioned a paper company in Slough as a shout out to the office?
Anna Harrison, Isle Of Wight
I was chuffed when I heard the mention in Lost. JJAbrams who created the show is a fan of The Office and slipped in a little reference for fun. We are actually planning to work together but can't say too much about that yet.
He created Alias too, in which I did a guest appearance. I played an English terrorist and they dressed me in a big jumper and cords. Everyone one else was in Armani gear. I looked like Giles Brandreth wondering around a fashion show. JJ also offered me a part in Mission Impossible III but I was doing another film.
I hope you're taking your vitamins and looking after yourself, we want you to be around a LONG time to give us more brilliant laughs. Question: Will you be coming to Canada soon, and is it true you're doing a Canadian version of the show?
Thanks, Tara ps. I hear you are half-Canadian
I am indeed taking vitamins Tara. It's so much quicker than just eating food that's good for you.
I was in Vancouver earlier in the year doing a film with Ben Stiller called A Night At The Museum. There is a Canadian version of The Office in the pipe line. It's actually a French-Canadian version called La Job.
And yes my Dad was Canadian and half of my family most of whom I've never met are dotted around Ontario.
We know what you think of Lenny Henry but which comedians do you rate? What is your favourite tv show?
I'm sure Lenny saw the funny side of it. He's one of the biggest and most popular comedians in Britain. I doubt he's bothered by a bit of ribbing from a fat bloke from Reading.
To answer your question. Most of my favourite comedy is coming out of America. Curb your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, The Daily Show. The only British thing that I was really blown away by in the last few years was Peep Show. Also The Mitchell and Webb show was the best sketch show since Big Train.
I am a huge fan of you and steve merchant and would love to write my own comedy. I am 16 years old and have started a 2 year media production course at college. Is there any advice you could give me to help me progress in the world of comedy??
Firstly there's no rush. You're 16. Purposely plan on taking at least ten years to make it. Secondly write about what you know. What can you give the world that's peculiar to you?. There's no point in doing stuff that anyone can do. Be original. Thirdly, don't do anything just for the money or the exposure. Do things that you'll be proud of. It's worth more than success and it lasts longer. And finally don't wear wigs and funny glasses and shout "Are you ďavin a laugh?"
hi ricky can u send me a copy of extras sires one plz?
jordan ward, north yorkshire
I think you used some unnecessary letters in your question. You could lose the E in extras. Xtras. See. Also instead of going to all the trouble of writing out "one," which is a mad waste of time, why not try 1.
Thanx 4 ur txt tho. Xtras dvd sires 1 on way.
Our thanks to Ricky Gervais. Who is brilliant. Fact.
For more laughs, go to Ricky's homepage.
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