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Ricky Gervais can’t understand why everyone thinks he’s a shock comedian

Ricky Gervais recently took a break from Twitter flame wars about atheism in order to address the “strange myth” that he leans heavily on antagonism in his act. As Gervais (correctly) recalls, he did not transgress any of the written rules of civilized society while hosting the Golden Globe Awards in 2010, 2011 or 2012. As such, according to Gervais, he can hardly be described as a “shock comedian.”

“I didn’t [say anything outrageous] at all, it was half five, it was network TV, I didn’t break any laws,” Gervais, who will be hosting the Golden Globes for a fourth time this year, told The Hollywood Reporter. “So I think it’s a strange myth that follows me around that I’m a shock comedian.”


The British writer/director/actor further explained that what some people consider “shocking” humor—like, for example, making jokes about allegedly closeted actors—is actually “swagger.” “I’ve got to go out there and pretend that I’ve got swagger,” he said. “And I’ve got to be an outsider, and I’ve got to stick it the man. I’ve got to be a court jester. I’ve got to have a go at NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press and all the billionaires.”

Have no fear, though. Gervais is not pushing buttons for his own benefit. “There’s nothing in it for them, they’re not winning awards,” he says. “So I think that that I’ve got to try to make it more of a spectator sport. But I’m not going to try to undermine the moral fabric of America! … I’d rather they laugh, but if they gasp, that’s good too.”

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