• Aoibheann O'Flynn

What Does Gervais Know About Cancel Culture?


"Ricky Gervais' Netflix special is nothing but cancel culture porn."


Image: Ricky Gervais / Twitter

By now you will no doubt have seen some of the backlash to comments made during Ricky Gervais’ new special, SuperNature, particularly those regarding the trans community. The viewer is expected to know that Gervais supports the LGBTQ community despite the words coming out of his mouth. You’re meant to understand that what he’s saying on stage and streaming to millions does not reflect what he actually thinks. His intention is to “shock” his audience and “bring them to new places”. If this place is somewhere where trans people are the butt of a joke, I’m afraid we’ve all been there before.


Ricky Gervais likes to think of himself as ‘edgy’ and perhaps the voice of what others are afraid to say. His obsession with cancel culture has rid him of any humour he may have possessed. I think Ryan Coogan’s article for the Independent says it best: “Ricky Gervais’ Netflix special is nothing but cancel culture porn."


Gervais likes to think of himself as cleverer than most. He explains how jokes work to his audience, pointing out that a joke he made was ironic (it wasn’t). His special seems to have been made up of a series of offensive statements with audience laughs in between. If he truly wanted to make ironic jokes, he would have given them time to breathe. What Netflix has given him is a platform to proclaim his most conservative views. Luckily for him, this seems to be the streaming platform's pièce de résistance at the moment.


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If Piers Morgan is on your side, it might be a sign that perhaps you need to re-assess. Morgan has said that the special was “laugh out loud” funny. He added, “It’s not designed to be malicious,” but that leaves us wondering why it attacks some of the most vulnerable. Why does it insist on focusing on those already being rained on, not only by life in general but also by other huge specials like Dave Chappelle’s?


With Gervais' obsession with cancel culture, there is a question of how far he will go next.


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