Laughs »Ricky Gervais Out of England

ricky gervais hbo out of englandFilmed in Madison Square Garden, Ricky Gervais' stand up comedy special, Out of England, begins with Elvis like fanfare: his name in giant lights, pyrotechnics, a crown, and a velvet cape. It quickly turns less extravagant as his sips on a Fosters (a large can he points out, in case people watching think he's a dwarf) and begins borderline offensive jokes about cancer and obesity. He manages to never quite cross the line and I found myself laughing at things that are usually off limits.

That's part of the undeniable charm of Ricky Gervais, on one side he is witty and almost philosophical – a man intrigued by the world around him and dismayed by the idiocy within it. On the other hand, he can just seem like a complete asshole, and not just to play a part. Both personas are on display here as he jokes equally about alternatives for anal sex and the logistics of Humpty Dumpty.

Actually, his surprisingly less off color jokes, mostly to do with nursery rhymes (in a very non Andrew Dice Clay way) and animal facts were some of the best part of the show.

As a wildly successful television star (if at this point you still haven't seen the original version of The Office, I won't tell anyone if you promise to just quietly rent them immediately) he manages to make the leap to stand up pretty well. I thought it usually went the other way. If you're a fan, this special is a must see. If you're not a fan, I hope you don't offend too easily. It airs again tonight on HBO 2 at 10:00 and, if I know HBO quite a few more times after that.

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Posted on November 17, 2008

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