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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Left islet to head east - going north is vital (9)

That is today's cryptic crossword clue. Answers on a virtual postcard please.

Big news of this week: purchasing Ricky Gervais - Politics and Love Actually on DVD. Had to buy them from Smiths, unfortunately. They were doing a 'deal' of Buy 2, Save £5. However, the original prices were £16.99 and £17.99 respectively which I think is ridiculous, so the actual deal boiled down to something resembling, "Buy 2, get the price down to something which is just slightly exorbitant rather than absolutely extortionate". I went next door to Woollies where I found the same 2 DVDs in a deal of Buy One, Get One 1/2 price. Infinitely better! But then I picked up the Love Actually DVD and it said 'Sorry, this item is temporarily out of stock'. My need for the DVD was fairly urgent so I was forced to submit to Smiths, where I restrained myself from commenting on Woolworth's superiority.

Ricky Gervais, live, is absolutely hilarious. It's funnier than The Office, although probably not as clever or well observed - The Office is a success primarily because of its cringeworthyness. Gervais has no boundaries in humour. Nazis, gays, disability and 3rd world poverty are all on the agenda, and each are tackled with seemingly no political correctness. I know people who have watched his stand-up shows and come away thinking 'he's just a complete GIT', but this is missing the point, to put it mildly. I suppose it would be very easy to miss the point if you weren't very finely tuned to this type of humour, but if you are, it is genius. Gervais effectively ridicules the very viewpoints he appears to endorse simply by his over-the-top ranting. For example:

"I've heard that people in sweat shops who only earn a few pence an hour could actually buy back something they made, if they worked for about 10,000 years. The thing is, they don't WANT to! See... LAAAZY."

Or:

*spiel about Africa gaining independence*

"But, in the 80s, we get a phonecall... Thatcher answers.
'Hellooo?'
'Hi, it's Africa here'.
'Yeah what do you want?'
'Um, well, we're all starving and that'.
'Oh... well you shoulda thought about that, before you wanted INDEPENDENCE.'

Later:

"Drought! I'll give you a drought! In the long hot summer of 1976, we had a HOSEPIPE ban in Reading!"

On first appearances it actually looks like Gervais is indeed a racist, homophobic, Jingoistic, git... but he's just taking the mick out of people who really are like that, as is shown by the cheeky smile he gives the audience from time to time in case they're starting to get worried. I suppose one could say if you don't understand irony, don't watch it. In fact don't go near it.

The man is also a superb actor. Stand-up comedians are often blessed with an ability to mime actions and facial expressions very well, and Gervais is no exception. Talking about Hitler confessing to Nietzsche that he's killed 6 million Jews based on Nietzsche's writings, he acts Hitler like a naughty schoolboy, which sounds completely vulgar and sick as I write, but is actually genius comedy. If anyone doubted that his Brent character was the result of skilful acting, they will not when they watch this.

Although some may think the issues he tackles are a little near to the bone (ahem), for many it will come as a breath of fresh air. In the PC mad world (and by that I don't mean everyone owns a computer) we live in, it's good to see someone who has no fear when it comes to talking about the hot potatoes. It's a DVD truly worth watching - better than his debut Animals show - and owning, indeed, even if you have to purchase it from W.H. Smith. And of course aside from the sick 'political humour', he's just darn good at the observational stuff. For example, when talking about the morals found in children's nursery rhymes:

"I mean, what's the moral of Humpty Dumpty? IF YOU'RE AN EGG, DON'T SIT ON A WALL?!"

So there you go. Ricky Gervais is the don. Buy it now. And buy Animals too, it's funny. And when Science comes out, buy that too. Actually I might even go and see it! OOooooh yes.

Anyway I'm bored of writing now. Must go, have busy day! Will update on real life soon.

Bec

Now playing: Eminem - Soldier (why?)

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