34 – Head like an Orange and some improvised comedy … now


The Ricky Gervais show was previously a series of audio podcasts that starred Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington. The podcast as of march 2011 had been downloaded more than 300 million times. This led to american network HBO commissioning an animated version of the show. However the show shouldn’t be called The Ricky Gervais Show as the majority of the show is spent delving into the mind of Karl Pilkington. Karl Pilkington is fairly strange and naive person who seems so original that many people assume he is a comedy invention of Ricky Gervais.


Karl Pilkington may be best known for An Idiot Abroad now which was filmed after these podcasts and he is actually less ignorant and more well rounded in that show. If you have seen An Idiot Abroad you might find that hard to believe but it’s true. Also like An Idiot Abroad Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant basically act high and mighty above Karl and pester and annoy him and turn him into a spectacle for the audience. A lot of the show is basically Ricky Gervais laughing hysterically at Karl’s remarks.



Ricky Gervais describes Karl as a real life Homer Simpson which is surprisingly accurate. There is even an episode of the show where Karl turns away from taking a sofa to the tip as there was a massive queue which is the same thing that happens to Homer Simpson in the Simpsons Movie with his silo of pig waste. But Karl is genuinely an interesting person to listen to despite his often ignorant tales. Also as Ricky Gervais like’s to point out on more than one occasion he has a head like an orange which is always funny to picture.


What makes the show (and An Idiot Abroad) worthwhile for me is the amazing perspective Karl Pilkington has on the world and all the topics put before him. He questions everything and often has a very blunt point of view that borders a thin line between stupidity and genius.

The animation is also of brilliant standard, to the point where Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy and American Dad called it the best animation he’d ever seen. It was in fact this comment that first got me interested in the show, as you may know from my recent blog posts I think Family Guy is great (or was great) so this comment encouraged me to give the series a chance. A clip can be seen below.

It’s the kind of show that I often don’t give my full attention to as it can sometimes feel a bit dull to watch as it’s just three people talking but because of the funny topics and the interesting dilemmas Ricky and Steve present to Karl and regular features of Monkey News and Karl’s Diary the show is still entertaining. However like I said if I watch the show it’s most often because I want some background noise when I’m trying to go to sleep or I’ll get an audio version for a long journey.

On a related note one of the funniest sketches ever written by Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant has to be from Life’s Too Short, the comedy series starring Warwick Davis. The sketch stars the three of them and Liam Neeson who approaches Ricky and Steve after deciding to go into some stand up comedy. The sketch is literally one of the funniest things I have ever seen and is almost certainly worth watching.