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09th Jul 2021

Ricky Gervais clarifies comment that The Office would be ‘cancelled’ were it made today

Danny Jones

Gervais wants to set the record straight

Ricky Gervais is arguably one of the most well-known comedians on the planet and whether it was your cup of tea (it very much was for me) The Office is one of the most revolutionary, definitive and influential comedies of all time. Fact. Others like Spinal Tap might have done the ‘mockumentary’ format before but nothing so close to home as this.

What he, Stephen Merchant and the incredible cast did in bringing to life the mundane yet eccentric nine-to-five world of working in an office was so hyper-real that it captured the zeitgeist as well as the aesthetic of the time.

Nevertheless, walking the tightrope of irony, satire and the subject of a joke being different from the target, many people still question whether it could still be made in the same vein today – some even wonder if the US version would stand up to today’s scrutiny and ‘cancel culture’.

Speaking to the BBC, Gervais was asked this now common question and reported as saying: “I mean now it would be cancelled. I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!'” However, Gervais took to Twitter to qualify his exact words.

Gervais has always been an advocate for every word mattering in a joke and whether Frankie Boyle wants to disagree with whether he qualifies as a stand-up or not, he’s right. In this instance, it looks as though the journalist may have either tried to sum up his answer or simply misquoted him.

Other quotes from the interview saw the 60-year-old qualify that he doubts that “The Office will be criticised in the same way that, for example, Little Britain has been”.

He went on to say the “In The Office the audience are encouraged to identify not with the ignorant Brent, but with the characters Dawn and Tim, and the victims of Brent’s ill-conceived comments are never racial or gendered caricatures, rather they are ordinary, intelligent people”.

In case you didn’t realise, even after all this time, Brent is the butt of the joke. That’s why it’s so funny.