Last month, comic Ricky Gervais (who will be hosting the Golden Globe Awards this Sunday night) sparked a bit of controversy by posing as Jesus Christ with the word ATHEIST written on his chest on the cover of New Humanist magazine. Today we learn that Gervais is at it again with new comments that he made to Esquire magazine about the “arrogance” of celebrities (like, namely, Sandra Bullock) who thank God when they win awards. Additionally, Ricky reveals to Esquire that he is very much looking forward to hosting the Globes again this year … and he vows that he will NEVER host the Academy Awards should he ever be asked.
On his commitment as an atheist: I have no choice. I can’t help what I believe. Probably the most offensive thing I ever said was “Thank God for making me an atheist.” It was a swipe at all those people who thank God because they won an award. How arrogant is that? There’s war and famine and God’s going, “Know what Bullock? Write a speech. I’m not going to say anything, Sandra, but write a speech. That’s all I’m saying.”
On the possibility of hosting the Academy Awards: They wouldn’t let me do it my way. I don’t think they could afford to. The first time the Globes asked me, I said, “Can I say what I want?” They said, “Yeah.” Second time, I said same again. They went, “Yeah.” The Oscars would never. I just don’t think they’d ever trust me. Nor should they. If I was them, I’d say, “Well, don’t hire Gervais. You’re asking for it.” I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m a wolf in wolf’s clothing.
On comedy: The most important thing in comedy — apart from empathy, which I think is important even if disguised — is surprise. I like surprising people with the fact that something’s even a joke at all. I did a joke yesterday for the first time live. I wrote it and I got excited. I couldn’t wait to do this joke about how I had told my four-year-old niece that her mummy had died. I told them I couldn’t console her — she just wanted her mummy back. So I told her, “Your mummy’s in heaven. She’s looking down on you.” And I asked the audience, “Is that so bad?” The audience went quiet, then they went, “No.” And I said, “It was bad. Her mummy hadn’t died. She’d just gone to the shops.” I loved the fact that they’re with me and I’m nearly crying.
The full text of Ricky’s interview with Esquire magazine can be read HERE. I have to say, in regards to his Sandra Bullock comment, as much as this new comment is likely to stir new controversy … I honestly do not think he says these things just to make a thing out of it. It appears to me that he genuinely means what he says and does not intend to offend. The problem is that his beliefs, when clarified in comments like this, tend to offend those hold their religious beliefs in high regard. As I said before, I find his openness about his atheism very refreshing. Ricky may not believe in God and he very openly likes to talk about how he does not believe in God, but that has NO BEARING on anyone else’s beliefs about God. I guess I don’t understand why people get so worked up about this kind of thing. I believe in extraterrestrial life but I am not offended by others who do not believe in extraterrestrial life … even if they say, over and over again, that they do not believe in extraterrestrial life. I just hope that Ricky Gervais continues to feel open to talking about his beliefs (or disbeliefs, as it were) and I hope that others — whether they agree with him or not — wouldn’t get so upset by his comments. We’d all be much happier if we just let one another believe what they want so long as those beliefs do not adversely impact anyone else.