Ricky Gervais says comments about 'The Office' and cancel culture were 'clearly a joke'

·Contributor
·3-min read
Ricky Gervais says he was joking about 'The Office' falling victim to cancel culture. (BBC)
Ricky Gervais says he was joking about 'The Office' falling victim to cancel culture. (BBC)

Ricky Gervais has claimed his comments about The Office not being made today due to cancel culture were "clearly a joke" and have been misconstrued.

"I mean now it would be cancelled," Gervais said in a BBC interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the workplace sitcom, in which he portrayed the hapless David Brent. 

He added: "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!'"

Read more: How well do you know The Office?

In a tweet on Friday afternoon, the 60-year-old actor and comedian clarified his remarks as "clearly a joke".

"Just to be clear, I did not say The Office would be cancelled if it were made today," he said. "That makes no sense. It's still around."

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First aired in 2001, The Office was created by Gervais and fellow comedian Stephen Merchant and followed the employees of paper company Wernham Hogg.

The show's mockumentary format was influential for other comedies and a successful American remake of the show, starring Steve Carell, ran for nine seasons between 2005 and 2013.

Read more: Stephen Merchant says arrogance was key to The Office success

Gervais revived David Brent for the 2016 film Life on the Road, but said he's unlikely to do so again, stating last year it would "be too sad to see David Brent pratting around at 60".

He reiterated that in the recent BBC interview, saying: "I think to try and assemble The Office again would be shameful. Why would they be there? 

"It wouldn't be pleasant to watch. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It works because it's done."

Ricky Gervais has brought his controversial hosting style to the Golden Globes on five occasions. (Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)
Ricky Gervais has brought his controversial hosting style to the Golden Globes on five occasions. (Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)

Gervais has long been a controversial figure in the comedy world, not least for his acidic jokes during his five stints as host of the Golden Globes and a notorious "dead baby" gag on his 2017 stand-up tour.

His material about transgender people has also drawn criticism, with Frankie Boyle taking aim at these routines during an appearance on Louis Theroux's podcast.

"We know Ricky Gervais. He’s a brilliant actor, he’s a brilliant writer, he’s not a f***ing stand-up comedian," Boyle said.

Read more: Gervais says lawyer checks his Golden Globes jokes

"Just because Ricky Gervais self-identifies as a stand-up comedian, am I supposed to say that he is one? It’s f***ing political correctness gone mad.”

Gervais has recently achieved success on Netflix with his sitcom After Life, which has a third series in the pipeline.

Watch: Ricky Gervais reveals why he turns down lucrative corporate gigs

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