Ricky Gervais Justifies his Quips in New Netflix Special After Facing Backlash

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Photo: BBC

Ricky Gervais has let loose with a series of jokes in his new Netflix special, which gathered backlash for poking fun about “taboo subjects.” But now, the comedian has come in defense of his punchlines. 

The comedian makes several of what he calls ironic and satirical jokes about trans people, female comedians, and Aids in SuperNature

The LGBT rights group Glaad has labeled the show “dangerous,” “anti-gay,” and “anti-trans” since its release last Tuesday. 

However, in an episode of BBC One’s The One Show on Tuesday, Gervais said that comedy is for “getting us over taboo subjects.” 

“I think that’s what comedy is for, really – to get us through stuff, and I deal in taboo subjects because I want to take the audience to a place it hasn’t been before, even for a split second,” he said. “Most offense comes from when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target.” 

He added that the listeners would experience a range of emotions when hearing a slightly offensive joke.

“It starts, and they go; what’s he going to say? I tell the joke. Phew, they laugh,” he continued. “It’s like a parachute jump – it’s scary, then you land, and it’s all OK.

“I think that’s what comedy is for – getting us over taboo subjects, so they’re not scary anymore. So, I deal with everything. And I think we second guess the audience too much.” 

But Glaad took offense with his most recent stunt. Officials uploaded on the group’s Twitter handle, writing: “It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV.” 

They also added that Netflix “refuses” to implement its own policy that content “designed to incite hate or violence” is prohibited on its platform. 

He said that he temporarily takes on any standpoint to make it even funnier for each joke, and these quips do not convey his actual views.

“In real life, of course, I support trans rights,” he stated. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights.” 

“Live your best life, use your preferred pronouns, be the gender that you feel that you are,” he further said, then added a punchline about trans women. He also cited Eddie Izzard, who has outed himself as gender fluid and has requested she/her pronouns. 

Gervais stated, “it’s mad to think that joking about something means you’re anti-it.”