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Ricky Gervais - Biography

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Comedian Ricky Gervais
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Born:

June 25, 1961

Ricky Gervais Overview:

British comedian Ricky Gervais is a true Renaissance man: in addition to stand-up comedy, Gervais is a hugely successful writer, actor, director and even musician. He's the creator of two critically acclaimed TV series, The Office (the original UK version) and Extras, as well as host of the most downloaded podcast on the internet, The Ricky Gervais Podcast. Gervais is one of those once-in-a-lifetime talents: a truly brilliant humorist with the ability to turn almost everything he touches to comedy gold.

Quick Ricky Gervais Facts:

  • Ricky Gervais was born and raised in Reading, Berkshire.
  • After working in radio for several years, Gervais began performing stand-up around England in the late 1990s.
  • Gervais co-created and starred on the original UK version of The Office in 2001. The show had two series (seasons in the U.S.) and one holiday special, developing a passionate cult following and a popular American remake on NBC.
  • Gervais developed Extras, a second series for both the BBC and HBO in 2005. It ran for 12 episodes and on Christmas special.
  • Gervais began hosting The Ricky Gervais Podcast, the most downloaded podcast on the internet, in 2005.

Ricky Gervais: Stand-up Comic:

After dabbling in stand-up in the 1990s, Gervais made his official debut as a stand-up comedian at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2003, he embarked on three successful UK stand-up tours: Animals in 2003, Politics in 2004 and Fame in 2007. In 2009, he launched his fourth comedy tour, called Science.

Gervais has performed in the US several times, too. In addition to headlining the 2009 New York Comedy Festival, Gervais' concerts at Madison Square Garden both became HBO specials: Out of England in 2008 and, in 2010, Out of England 2.

Ricky Gervais on Film:

After two successful TV series, Gervais turned his attention to film. In addition to small roles in films including A Night at the Museum and A Night at the Museum 2, Gervais scored his first leading role in 2008's Ghost Town. He then co-wrote and co-directed his first feature, The Invention of Lying, in 2009. The film, which co-starred Tina Fey and Louis C.K., was a commercial failure. He then reteamed with his Office mate Stephen Merchant to write and direct the comedy-drama Cemetery Junction in 2010; the film barely received a theatrical release before going to DVD.

Ricky Gervais Awards and Honors:

  • 2003 Golden Globe: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, The Office
  • 2003 Golden Globe: Best Television Comedy, The Office
  • 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Comedy Series, The Office
  • 2007 Writers Guild Award: Best Comedy Series, The Office (U.S.)
  • 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Extras
  • 2008 Golden Globe: Best Television Comedy, Extras

Gervais has also won seven BAFTA Awards, five British Comedy Awards, the Television Critics Association Award (2004), the Peabody (2004) and the Rose d'Or (2006).

Additional Ricky Gervais Facts:

  • While still a student at University College London, Ricky Gervais formed a pop duo called Seona Dancing and was signed to London Records. Two of their singles placed on the UK Singles Chart, but failed to crack the top 40.
  • He was chosen to host the Golden Globe Awards in both 2010 and 2011.
  • Gervais is an avowed atheist and, in 2008, became an honorary member in the National Secular Society.
  • In 2002, Gervais took part in a televised charity boxing match against entrepreneur Grant Bovey; he won the match by split decision vote.
  • In 2010, HBO debuted The Ricky Gervais Show, an animated adaptation of Gervais' popular podcast series.
  • In 2006, he wrote and guest-starred in his own episode of The Simpsons.
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