Not one for the easily offended, but hilariously enjoyable nonetheless.
At the beginning of May, Ricky Gervais announced a last-minute stand-up show in Bournemouth, which consequently sold out in seconds. Its popularity was most certainly satisfied as on Wednesday 19th May, Gervais performed a warm-up show for his upcoming tour, ‘Super Nature’, which Netflix have already bought.
Appearing promptly at 7:30pm, Gervais’ warm-up Mark Watson began, and left the crowd roaring with laughter before the main act himself even took the stage. Watson’s humorous remarks surrounded his own personal anecdotes, and he easily resonated with the Bournemouth crowd due to his wide knowledge of the local area (he even included Pokesdown within his jokes – a brave move!). Watson received a particularly energetic response from his comments on the latecomers to the show, many of whom were filing into the hall throughout the entirety of his set, as he continually announced ‘sorry, nope, not Gervais!’. Watson was certainly an appropriate warm-up, as he left the crowd feeling in good humour and excited for Gervais’ appearance. A definite must-see if you are into stand-up, he is due to perform in New Milton on 27th June at the Forest Arts Centre.
When Gervais arrived on stage, dressed in his infamous look of a black tee and blue jeans, he was welcomed with a warm, loud mixture of cheers and claps from across the hall. His stage presence was confident, and he seemed clearly relaxed despite the simplistic stage set-up which obviously left him as the centre of attention for 4000 people.
Gervais’ stand-up is almost entirely based around personal anecdotes, many of which refer to his childhood, as he gives particular attention to his working-class roots. A repetitive theme which left the crowd laughing was his casual mention of his current ‘mansion’, and his ‘great hall’, an obvious ironic depiction of his lifestyle. Another crowd-pleaser was his mention of the ‘barbed penis’ of a cat, which, for the record, is definitely not a fact that I wish to remember…
Gervais is also often known to be rather controversial and divisive in his comedy and general social media presence. He made it clear from the very beginning of the show that the entirety of his performance would be based around irony, clearly outlining what this meant to avoid inevitable complaints from audience members. One specific moment which some might have found offensive was his mention of baby Hitler, as he displayed a picture of him on the two large screens behind him. His comment of his ‘cute’ nature as a baby could be considered widely inappropriate, however the crowd’s reaction said otherwise – the laughter and humour was undeniable, as it became clear Gervais was not in fact drawing attention to Hitler, but rather highlighting the idiocy of the people who claim that if they travelled back in time, their one act would be to kill Hitler.
I was surprised at the somewhat lack of focus on nature within the show, particularly as the title itself was ‘Super Nature’, and how Gervais is well-known for his constant animal campaigning on social media. However, despite this lack throughout the show, Gervais made a point at the end of his performance of mentioning an animal charity which some of his profits go towards, highlighting how essential the preservation of nature is for him.
Overall, Gervais’ performance was certainly an enjoyable one, and something I will remember for quite a while. Despite the vast space and rather large capacity of the hall, this comedy show felt intimate due to the collective happiness and humour shared throughout the audience as we laughed in unison at every single joke. Ranging from ‘barbed penises’ to baby Hitler, Ricky Gervais’ show had a little bit of everything, and is definitely worth the watch.
Watch the trailer for Gervais’ first Netflix stand-up special ‘Humanity’ below for a taste of what’s to come.