Ricky Gervais meets Garry Shandling

Wednesday 27 December (2006)

ricky gervais meets garry shandling

Last year there was a program on TV called ‘Ricky Gervais meets Larry David‘ which came as a one-off and completely out of the blue. I watched it, because I was a huge Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fan and I thought that Larry David was a comedic genius. As for Ricky Gervais… well; I liked The Office (and before it was popular to do so – honest!) but I didn’t really think Extras was very good at all, and more importantly I didn’t like Gervais himself.

It had always bugged me the way that people here in England talked about the ‘cringe factor’ in The Office as though it was something that had been invented by Ricky Gervais. After all, I had downloaded episodes of Larry David’s new post-Seinfeld show, CYE, and that was exploring social etiquette faux-pas scenarios with style over a year before The Office premiered. The Office was a good show – but it wasn’t a great show. Everyone thinks that it is, and they’re entitled to their opinion, but it really annoys me that since its success Gervais has been cast as the ‘saviour’ of British comedy. Peter Kay was funnier (and cleverer) in Phoenix Nights, but he at least didn’t let it go to his head (although, to be honest, he’s turned into a bit of a wanker over the last few years too.)

Anyway, onto the point. Garry Shandling is not one of my comedy heroes like Larry David is, but I absolutely love The Larry Sanders Show. I remember when it used to be on Channel 4 late on a friday night, but I didn’t get it because I was young. But something about it stuck with me, because a few years ago I decided (probably after hearing it name-dropped in CYE reviews) to buy a ‘best of‘ DVD, which was the only one available at the time. It was frustrating because it only had random episodes selected from all six seasons of the show, but now that I was older I got it. Earlier this year I downloaded every episode when I realised that I could (thank you broadband) and it truly is one of the greatest comedy shows of all time.

So what is important here is that I have a lot of respect for Mr. Shandling, and not so much respect for Mr. Gervais. Part of it is personality, sure – but I really think Gervais is just a flash-in-the-pan who got lucky. Because, remember – American sitcoms are not always good, and indeed a great deal of them are dire, but the ones that are good have the edge over similar British ones for one simple reason: they’re more prolific. Sure Fawlty Towers is consistently hilarious, but at the end of the day there are twelve half-hour episodes – Seinfeld clocked in at over one hundred and fifty episodes, so even though they were only twenty-two minutes long, it’s a greater amount of consistently good comedy. Similarly with CYE – Larry David has given us over fifty episodes, in comparison to Gervais’ twelve episodes of The Office.

But for good or ill, Gervais is now the most famous English comedian in America, and he’s friends with Ben Stiller and David Letterman so he will only continue to be successful there. That is a fact; I accept it, I live with it. But for some reason, he seems to think he’s now the apostle of comedy – he’s ‘enlightened’ us over here in England, and now he wants to rub his American ‘heroes’ in our faces as if we weren’t aware they existed already. So the ‘Ricky Gervais meets…’ concept has been expanded, and now we have ‘… Garry Shandling’ (he also met Christopher Guest but it was such a sickening display of arse-kissing that I turned it off.)

This alone bugs me – the Larry David thing was a one-off, so I could have let it slide; but now he’s meeting a whole troupe of his heroes – on camera? What? If I suddenly became successful as say a film director, I’d definately want to use my success to start meeting people like Luc Besson and Johnny Depp etc., because they’re people I really respect – but I’d want to do it in a very subtle way! I wouldn’t film myself strolling up to Deppo and saying “Hey man! You’re were so fucking amazing as Raoul Duke!”

But maybe that’s just me.

So anyway, (finally) I watch Gervais meet Shandling. And to my complete surprise and absolute joy, Shandling seemed to completely agree with pretty much everything I’ve just said here. It was weird, actually – he came across as frankly rude at times, but it was hilarious watching Gervais try to cope with it. Whilst Gervais merely did his whiny annoying laugh every time Shandling made a joke (and he made several; whilst debatably rude he was certainly witty) and spent a great deal of time singing the praises of Shandling’s comedy, Shandling refused to tread the same path in return. He brought Gervais up on some aspects of Extras and basically said, “Why are you making comedy about this? Why do you think it’s funny to explore these agonising social situations?” Interestingly, Gervais didn’t try to defend his work, even when Shandling suggested it was childish to joke about people with disabilities (they showed a clip from Extras with a lady who had cerebal palsy, where Gervais jokes that she looked drunk or ‘mental’ and then squirmed around as he realised she had a disability.)

Another hilarious moment was when Shandling explained why he had done so many varied things throughout his career – writer for a straight sitcom, standup, his own sitcom, then the subversive Larry Sanders Show – basically, that it was easy to be successful by doing the same thing over and over but it’s only funny so many times. Basically, saying to Gervais: enough with the cringe-comedy already man. Try something new – start proving your worth as the new chairman of English funny.

It just looked to me like Shandling had Gervais and his show; the entire concept, pegged immediately and then refused to play ball. And it’ll probably not do his reputation any favours at all in the English press – but fuck that. Good for him! I respect him more than I did before, and I suspect Gervais will be a little more careful about choosing which ‘hero’ to ‘interview’ next, because I don’t think he could handle another one of them very skillfully saying (without actually saying it) “You’re not as good as me.”

Heh, sorry about the length… I got carried away I guess. Another two cents deposited.


134 Responses to “Ricky Gervais meets Garry Shandling”

  1. Sally Says:

    Hehe you silly. An entertaining read I must say 🙂 x

  2. Toongoon Says:

    I agree 100% with everything you said about Gervais/Shandling, there are a couple of things I’d like to point out.

    Firstly, this was shot at the same time as the Larry David one, it was supposed to air back in June but it got shelved, it was then sneaked out without any promotion, I wonder why?

    Secondly, the show was deliberately edited to show Shandling in an odd way. For instance, Shandling did not get up mid-interview and go and make himself a coffee, what they did was use the same footage of him getting up to answer the phone (with Gervais dubbed over instead of hearing the phone ring). It is unbelievably obvious as when Shandling cools his coffee with a water bottle he places the bottle in view of the camera that is on him, anytime you see a shot of Shandling’s head and the water bottle is behind him in vision then that occured AFTER he made the coffee and seeing as it is there in the b/g when he supposedly gets up mid interview, it’s obviously a manipulation (not to mention that he grabs the seat the same way etc.). My guess is the interview finished after the coffee but as it plays out you’d think they had a cosy chat about the LS show but that happened BEFORE he made the coffee. The manic laughter from Gervais was creepy to say the least.

    Gervais has a lot to answer for, there are other bad edits throughout – the continuity gives it away everytime. If Gervais wants people to think more of him perhaps he should consider releasing the un-edited version. The final shot of Gervais in the b/g looking utterly lost while Shandling tells the producer “he did his best” was priceless

  3. stan Says:

    Thanks for the comment – I’m downloading the show as we speak (someone recorded over my VHS copy) and I’ll definately check the dodgy editing out. I did notice that when Gervais said like “hey let’s go to the garden” and walked off without checking to see if Shandling was following him they made it look like it was all a joke, when Shandling appeared genuinely bemused and Gervais also seemed a little perturbed.

    And it’s a good point about the lack of advertising – they promoted the hell out of the Larry David interview, despite the fact that the majority of the British viewing public don’t know who he even is, and I saw more than one advert for Christopher ‘Spinal Tap’ Guest. I only even noticed the Shandling episode by chance when I glanced at the paper, although I had been waiting for it to turn up after reading on Wikipedia that it had been filmed and was in the pipeline a few weeks ago.

  4. Toongoon Says:

    I’m in Canada and if Gervais thought he was well known in the US (the phone caller who hadn’t heard of him was just shocking behaviour from him!) then he should steer clear of Canada as it would be very much Ricky WHO? To be honest I only know about him because I stay in touch with UK TV

    These are the times from the torrent I downloaded, these are my fav edits!

    In the garden @ 23:18 just after Shandling says he was raised Jewish it cuts to Shandling saying “wha…you know,good one on you, are you happy now?” – what did Gervais say that he thought was funny but Gary didn’t???

    and the coffee interuption that never was is @27:24
    its the exact same footage as when he answers the phone @41:56

  5. Toongoon Says:

    Original promo….

  6. stan Says:

    Ahhaahaha! I just watched it again and I realised the genius of what Shandling was doing. Gervais’ argument is that: uncomfortable situations = funny; Shandling is putting Gervais in an uncomfortable situation and trying to make him realise not always.

    Or maybe I’m looking too deeply into this.

    • sean Says:

      I Gervais’s defense, he did say that uncomfortable situations are funny, in retrospect. There is obviously a difference here, otherwise, you wouldn’t call it an uncomfortable situation, you’d call it a funny situation. It’s the analysis of the situation that you find the humor in.

  7. Toongoon Says:

    Not nearly as deep as the folks over here…..


    Now there is some serious analysis of the show!!

  8. nick Says:

    It was a very odd interview, Shandling seemed determined to excercise his power but the ‘not playing ball in an interview’ trick is an old trick. Most of what Shandling said when in that mode wasn’t funny, just dull and there was an awful lot of psycho-babble coming out of Shandling that seemed to be genuinely felt but embarrasing to at least one viewer. The best moments were when Shandling forgot to be an a**hole and talked normally and interestingly, then the shutters would go up again and it was back to Mr Unpleasant. The fact that Larry David didn’t do any of this to Gervais I find telling. Maybe Shandling simply can’t work without a script these days. Still at the end of the day Gervais let the interview go out and he think he was right to. Shandling lost the battle imho, he wasn’t being a genius he was just assuming his fans would give him the benefit of the doubt.

  9. Vincent Says:

    Jesus, what are you all talking about? It’s like I watched an entirely different show. for my money, you’re all displaying a the kind of typical success-hating UK attitude that lead to my moving to another country.

    I just watched about 10 minutes of this on YouTube (somebody tell me where to download the whole thing please) and dear God, what a disappointment. Shandling came across as a nightmare from the second he met Gervais. I was so excited about two of my favourite comedic writer/performers meeting but the creeping horror of realising that he wasn’t skitting on behaving badly, but was actually just that rude? Awful.

    I hate to insult Garry Shandling because ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ is comedy gold but honestly, I just couldn’t stand the guy. Every attempt by Gervais at humour was shot down because Shandling was too insecure to be one-upped.

    Shandling tried to constantly gain control of the interview by firing back semi-accusatory questions instead of answering them himself. He played the race card and passive-aggressively accused Gervais of anti-Semitism. When that didn’t work, he went for a walk, refused to follow Gervais to properly-lit areas and even took a phone call. Jesus, talk about not meeting your heroes lest they disappoint. I was absolutely fucking gutted to see what he seems to be like as a human being.

    You guys seem to have an anti-Gervais agenda and I can only assume it’s because you can’t tell when he’s riffing on being an arrogant tit and when he’s being genuine.

    • Cat Says:

      Yes! I agree with you. I’m American & Jewish. I love Shandling, but he was just plain rude and condescending! I’m hoping that it was a joke — but if not, Shandling has got major issues! I thought Gervais handled himself exceptionally well. Shandling should take some meds and apologize to Gervais. (How could Gervais not know Shandling was Jewish? This part makes me think it was all a joke – in which case Shandling should come clean so we don’t continue to think he is an jerk.)

    • Stacy Says:

      Let’s not forget him not offering coffee. That one really got to Gervais haha

  10. Brian Clover Says:

    Well something happened, and we didn’t get to see it. Looking back there’s a lot of padding in the show but Ricky’s ‘pre-interview’ reflection on the drive it -‘WIll he be funny?’ – looks like it was added afterwards. And was his throw away line about all the suits he’d used for awards ceremonies meant to be funny, or bigging himself up?
    Anyway, funnier than any episode of Extras and worth it just for Garry’s zebra gag.

    • sean Says:

      I think the “suits” comment was meant to be him playing an egotistical role, which many people confuse as him just being himself.

  11. Vincent Says:

    The zebra gag was great but Ricky was so desperate for something that he could use by then that he over-laughed and made it awkward.

    Also, I think that the getting up and sitting down shots either side of the ‘making a coffee’ bit is not as sinister as some of you seem to think. I imagine that they swung the camera round to show that this dick had actually got up for a coffee but didn’t have anything of him getting up or down again so they edited back in the footage they already had.

    I agree that ther’s a lot of padding, but they didn’t really have much choice due to Shandling being such a kook. I am just so dissapointed in him.

    By the way, I still can’t believe it that some people don’t know when Ricky Gervais is joking and pretending to be an arrogant twat. How can you be that naive that you think it’s for real? His whole comic persona is based on parodying himself as a crass arrogant idiot a lá David Brent.

  12. stan Says:

    Vincent says:
    By the way, I still can’t believe it that some people don’t know when Ricky Gervais is joking and pretending to be an arrogant twat. How can you be that naive that you think it’s for real? His whole comic persona is based on parodying himself as a crass arrogant idiot a lá David Brent.

    It doesn’t matter that he’s putting an act on, I just don’t think he’s particularly funny. I would probably like Gervais more if it wasn’t rammed down my face all the time that he’s the funniest guy on the planet when he’s really just another funny guy from England.

    Vincent says:
    Jesus, what are you all talking about? It’s like I watched an entirely different show. for my money, you’re all displaying a the kind of typical success-hating UK attitude that lead to my moving to another country.

    That kind of annoys me, because it’s not his success which bothers me so much as the fact that it’s not that deserved. There’s a lot of British comedy that’s genuinely original and highly entertaining (more so than Extras and The Office) that gets shoved into midnight slots on BBC-fucking-3 – The Mighty Boosh being the most obvious example.

  13. Brian Clover Says:

    Here’s my theory: Ricky is very proud of ‘Extras’. He sent a DVD to Garry, expecting the Master’s approval. Far from endorsing it, Garry didn’t like it at all, possibly hated it. Ricky picked up on this in advance, or at the session. Cue: mayhem. Ricky, rejected by father figure, boasts about awards ceremonies to re-inflate ego. Garry, possibly well-intentioned, patronises him with zen-like warnings against complacency.
    No idea about the coffee business, though.

  14. Vincent Says:

    Just saw the whole program as opposed to the edited 10 minutes I saw first. TOTALLY different show. Garry was actually just a slightly neurotic but inquisitive comedy genius and Ricky was a little cowed by being in the presence of true comedic genius – and the personality foibles that must go hand in hand with that type of gift.

  15. Luke Says:

    When analyzing the Garry Shandling interview and when comparing it to the Larry David one, remember that Gervais already knew David, whereas he had never met Shandling before. I think that’s why there was awkwardness. Shandling was expecting to be interviewed, but Gervais treated it like a ‘get to know each other’ sort of thing.. (Which may have looked like self aggrandizement)

  16. MOSHI Says:

    That last comment hits the nail on the head for me. I don’t think Gervais really ingratiates himself to his heroes and perhaps his humour, which works in the right context, is just lost when the environment is wrong. Thats how I percived the interview.

  17. emmarose Says:

    when i first watched the entire thing (and i sure didn’t recognize edits/cutting at all), i thought ricky was wonderful and garry was the antichrist. i thought he was HORRIBLE to ricky. but then i watched it again and i watched the christopher guest and *oh my!!* i started to become more anti-Ricky. garry was just being garry i assume and was trying to not allow the interview to be “you,re so wonderful..No…you’re so wonderful!” back and forth. he actually wanted to probe ricky’s head a little. also, garry was clearly offended by ricky’s complacency in satirizing nazi/holocaust humor and humor about people with special needs. he saw that humor as cheap and a low blow. although i still feel garry was much too harsh and a little bizarre acting, i left the interview having more respect for garry than ricky. garry is who he is and is a much more sophiticated learned comedian/writer/performer than ricky and simply wouldn’t let ricky be so complacent in his “brilliance” or perhaps ricky’s (ahem) “mediocrity”. i love the office and extras, but i guess garry is not to be messed with and larry david and guest were just more lenient in their interviews as they could have probably tore gervais to shred had they wanted to as well. still, i think shandling could have gone easier on gervais. i mean it’s a freaking interview, not a united nations meeting.

  18. Callum M Says:

    emmarose Says:

    January 19th, 2007 at 18:00
    “i guess garry is not to be messed with and larry david and guest were just more lenient in their interviews as they could have probably tore gervais to shred had they wanted to as well”
    Ha ha ha ha, I am certain it would have been very easy for Ricky to mock Shandling for his arrogance after all he has been ripping into people for years himself on his radio show, Gervais has manners and respect though…..

  19. Josh Says:

    I spent about half a day watching various videos of Gervais from the internet and what really lost my respect for him was a clip from Letterman where not 2 minutes into the interview he informs everyone that podcasts of the Ricky Gervais show are the “most downloaded in the world.” I think there is more David Brent in Gervais than he would like to admit, unfortunately. That made the “interview” with shandling more comprehensible to me in that Gervais’s Brent-like qualities of vanity and self-absorption were offensive to the probably oversensitive Shandling. Also, Gervais did not handle himself like a well-mannered guest, but more like the infantile and self-consumed Brent, peering in Shandling’s fridge, leading him through Shandling’s own house, et cetera. The character of David Brent was hilarious but his creator and animator contains that grain of social ineptitude that makes Brent so funny.

  20. scott Says:


    I went and watched that letterman clip. It is truly amazing to me that you don’t see the joke in his “most downloaded clip in the world.” It’s mock-arrogance. That’s why everyone laughs when he does it… and why he smiles right after… to read that as him being truly arrogant is crazy.

    I mean don’t get me wrong… I am sure he thought it was cool that it was downloaded a lot… and is even proud… as we all would be… but when he pretends to be arrogant about it… that is not really much different than when people have false-humility… you know when someone refers to a huge accomplishment as “oh, it was nothing”…

    it’s certainly not social-ineptitude… to read it as such is social-ineptitude to me… you are taking him literally and it is slightly more sophisticated than that….

  21. Ford Says:

    Hmm..I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m a big Gervais fan…love the mock-arrogance that he does.

    Initially I thought Shandling was just being a supreme arse clown….but the conversation they have (instigated by Shandling) about the humour that comes out of an awkward moment when viewed later…and the ‘post-modernism’ of Shandlings first sitcom…made me think the entire interview was an exercise in post-mordern interviewing.

    Meh. I preferred the Larry David interview.

  22. linus Says:

    how come no one is talking about gary shandlings extrordinarily bad plastic surgery? his face didn’t move at all. i can’t blame ricky gervais for a bad interview because once you look at that disfigured face, it becomes really hard to think of anything else. what a gong show.

  23. Craig Wilson Says:

    I think The Larry Sanders Show was on late-night BBC2. I watched it on a black and white tv every week with the sound turned down so that my parents didn’t know I was awake. I too bought the ‘Best of’ collection which I thought was poor as they missed a lot of good episodes including the Ben Stiller episode. I have too since downloaded all the episodes as word is they will only be releasing one more ‘Best of’ and then will call it a day which is very disappointing especially when you see that all of Joey has been released on DVD!
    End of the day, this was a great show, alongside Arrested Development I wish they would have made more

  24. stan Says:

    You may be right Craig, although I seem to remember it was on Channel 4 – but it was a long time ago 🙂

    The DVDs are in fact being released (season one is already out on R1) but there are problems to do with copyright. Basically, as far as I understand it, the musical guests on the show are performing music which is copyright of their respective record labels. The show had the rights to that music for broadcast purposes, but not for retail – so there’s a lot of behind the scenes haggling in order to legally get the DVDs going.

  25. Will Says:

    Ricky Gervais is David Brent
    Garry Shadling is Garry Shandling
    Ricky Gervais put Himself in the Larry Sanders Show

  26. Andrew Says:

    When I first watched the interview (through my fingers) I was devastated; ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ is my favourite TV programme and here was its creator coming across as a total tit. Shandling looked like the Bride of Wildenstein, was cantankerous, rude, self-righteous and his pseudo-intellectualism and dime-store psychology sounded like another Hollywood casualty; retirement and archaism initiating absolute mentalism.

    However, when I watched it again I felt a little more empathy. Gervais is very brazen from the start and I think Shandling is taken aback. He obviously is expecting an in-depth interview as opposed to the love-in Gervais has planned (and which Christopher Guest so willingly offered). I suspect Shandling was not a fan (certainly of ‘Extras’) and felt annoyed at Gervais’ habit of turning the interview into a review of his own career and of his constant search for Shandling’s approval (“ooh, Daddy, look what I made!”) However, Shandling could have been a little less guarded and there are moments when he seems like a lost old man, searching for an auto-cue.

    Gervais comes across as a fatuous arse (and his laugh sounds like a duck being raped) . Shandling, in turn, comes across as a Hollywood twat. Poor show, boys…

    Oh, and it’s obvious Gervais knew Shandling was Jewish, that’s why he brought up Jewish humour, then he has the gall to act like he wasn’t asking just because Shandling was a Jew, offering that bogus ‘I didn’t know nuffin‘, guv‘ expression. What a tit.

  27. Andrew Says:

    I’ve got myself all worked up. I’m going to have to go for a beer. Or a wank.

  28. Will Says:

    thought id mention, found it funny when Garry brought the boxing shorts out, when he went to get Ricky a jacket, almost to say, I box, so watch it! maybe its me but , thats how it appeared.

  29. Frits Says:

    I really enjoyed this “interview”, it was quite funny.

    P.S. Why isn’t Garry Shandling making another series?

  30. Dave Jones Says:

    I think Garry Shandling tries to create a battle of wits within the interview and possibly does try to demonstrate that ‘uncomfortable’ viewing is not always funny in riposte to recurring themes of uncomfortable situations in Gervais’ and Merchant’s work. However, I’m not entirely convinced with this argument for the simple reason that you have to base the argument on the premise that Ricky Gervais is unaware that uncomfortable situations are not always funny, and that Shandling would not be aware that Gervais knows this. Whether or not you agree with the choice of uncomfortable situations created by Gervais and Merchant in The Office and Extras I believe that Gervais and Merchant to their minds at least would feel they could justify the inclusion of each scene. Whether or not you find it funny is down to your own personal preference. If anything I think Shandling is possibly being a little pretentious – if only for the reason he keeps you guessing at whether he is parodying Gervais or representing himself in a true light. I think the awkwardness is generated from the possibility that Gervais didn’t expect him to do so in such a concentrated form. It’s a bit like two boxers meeting outside the ring and all one of them wants to do is demonstrate his boxing skills by hitting the other guy in the face – whereas the guy getting hit just wants to discuss boxing, but relents to the onslaught by throwing a couple of jabs himself. I can see why they put it back, and why it received some negative publicity. The potential for a great interview was there but the dynamic between interviewer and interviewee didn’t equate to great viewing as the interviewee is striving to gain control of the interview and turn the interviewer into the interviewee. I think Shandling responding to Gervais telling him not to wash his contact lenses over the sink of “What, are you controlling?” is indicative of Shandling’s desire to be the one in control. But as Shandling does say at the beginning “This is uncomfortable” – yes, it is – it’s meant to be. They are after all merely playing characters.

  31. Duncan Says:

    I think the fact that there is this level of debate about this program is very interesting. I think it’s also worthwhile considering from what perspective people are coming to this show from. I certainly like Ricky Gervais and his work but also find his (admittedly diffused by how self-conscious and ‘ironic’ it is) pointed arrogance a little wearing. I have never seen anything of Garry Shandling’s work but didn’t take that as a means to stop me enjoying it (I own all of the Curb…thanks to the interview and excerpts that were the previous programme). Garry Shandling obviously has a MASSIVE agenda with being interviewed. That’s fine, make that clear (as Larry David did, albeit with far more grace and tact) but don’t do an interview if you’re basically going to make it an excuse for character assassination. There is certainly an element of ‘not playing the game’ – and those who admire him for this are probably slightly tired of Ricky Gervais’ sicophantic behaviour to his other interviewees. However, if Garry’s aim was to point out the arrogance of Ricky’s position as a comedian (e.g. his passive-aggresive manner of raising his ‘light’ treatment of nazism) then he has only made himself the hypocrite. He strikes me as a man who has enjoyed moderate and undeserved success all his career and now, struck, perhaps justly, at the ease of Gervais’ position, decides to bring his misanthropic, neurotic position into a public situation. I admit, they’re having an interview for TV, it’s not a normal, comfortable situation, but Garry is plain rude. I don’t think any sort of post-modern ‘interview as fiction’ ideas cuts through this. If he hates being interviewed, DON’T DO ONE. If you hate Ricky Gervais, beat him up in a pub car park, don’t bring your own seething problems to bear in a public arena. In many ways I think none of you consider that Ricky was dealing with some serious disappointment, as well as a difficult situation. His hero is not only obstreperous and outside of his expectations, he’s also really rude. Although some people find the way he dealt with Garry’s recaltricance annoying, it shows a certain perseverance that I don’t think his behaviour really deserved. Sorry this is so long, but the whole thing really enraged me. The irony is, in this country, Garry is nothing and Gervais is everything, rather than from his perspective of the Big Time Hollywood TV Star giving him an opportunity to have some scraps from the table. As a result, he just seems like a has been asshole.

  32. Andrew Says:

    Does anyone know if either Gervais or Shandling have said anything about the interview since it was recorded?

  33. jables Says:

    it was a set up… the guy who said “Ahhaahaha! I just watched it again and I realised the genius of what Shandling was doing. Gervais’ argument is that: uncomfortable situations = funny; Shandling is putting Gervais in an uncomfortable situation and trying to make him realise not always.”

    thats totally right, only they planned that… together…

    there is a interview it was on radio

    btw gervais is a good guy funny and witty

    peter kay…

    loud mouthed fat moron

  34. Joe Says:

    jables, did you hear any of them saying it was planned? I find it very hard to believe, unless they are both such good actors (which they’re not!). I agree that Garry’s behaviour was planned, but only by himself, Ricky had nothing to do with that (unfortunately).

  35. Tom Says:

    I understand what Ricky means by awkward situations having comedic value. His humour highlights it perfectly in his TV shows. Foolish and immature characters such as David Brent create uncomfortable situations unwittingly which lays foundations for the humour. However, there is a difference between this and someone like Shandling doing it on purpose. The humour is drawn from the character being oblivious to the situation they have created, not someone in REAL LIFE doing it for the sole purpose of feeding their own ego and supplementing their insecurities. Shandling wasn’t making a point at all, all he was doing was being severely condescending and arrogant, purely due to the fact that he knows his comedic talent is dwarfed by Gervais’.

  36. Fc1 Says:

    tom – i think you have a very good point.

  37. Shandling is a notoriously difficult personality to interview but Gervais nonetheless endeavored, citing Shandling as one of his all time comedy heros. The result was an uncomfortable interview, in which Shandling presented himself as fairly pompous and egotistical, leaving Gervais very little room to interview him in his normal comedic fashion. The overall tone, therefore, was extremely awkward, with Gervais mainly unsure whether Shandling’s act was just a facade for the camera or not. In the mistaken(?) belief that it was, Gervais would retort and zip oneliners back at Shandling. Seemingly this made Shandling more threatened and uncomfortable, leading to the infamous scene in which Shandling stands up and out of shot during the interview, to make himself a cup of coffee. He continues to talk to Gervais from just behind him then sits back down minutes later with just one cup for himself. Gervais looks at the camera with genuine astonishment and and utters “Fucking rude”. Shandling then asks if he wanted one and a slightly indignant Gervais replies “It would have been nice”. – Many people suggest that, as both actors are known for their awkward comedic sensibilities that this interview itself was a hoax. The “coffee incident” for example happens as the two talk about uncomfortable moments in comedy. Gervais has not spoken publicly about it since the interview, but Channel Four confirm [citation needed] that the showing of it was delayed by 6 months. Some speculate this was because both parties were unhappy with the result of the interview. The interview remains fascinating viewing, as either an elabourate hoax or the epitome of car crash tv.

    Gervais has never compromised his fame and has never armed himself with ego or tempremant instead he has always remained focused and his work ethic should be admired.

    Shandling, depsite his obvious talent is an american and i therefore rest my case! Bloody yanks.
    Power, fame and belief in your own hype corrupts and rots the talent in your brain cells.

    I don’t think this was a purposeful awkward routine – Shandling just proved huimself to be, well, a bit of a tosser. Which is a shame because he’s ever so talented.

    Ricky gervais plays on being cocky and its all done tongue in cheek. He’s never been anything but clever with the way he presents himself. if you don’t get that then thats your fault for taking life too seriously. Another difference is that Shandling sees everything through the perspective that he is one of the greatest comedy people ever, living as he does in his mansion having been over paid most of his life thinking more people admire him than they actually do. And although Gervais is straight to the point all the time, he’s never NASTY
    He’s a kid in a huge comedy candy store – a geek of all things comedy (like myself, hey, ricky, lets talk) – and you can tell he just absolutely loves doing a job he’s probably always dreamt of doing.

    For the americans i feel sometimes if you’re of the comedy of embrassment persuasion – they feel olbiged to carry this self-doubting awkwardness about them, championing their own poor/jewish/repressed upbringing! And that slowly becomes the emblem of pride to wear.

    Whereas Gervais and Merchant have never done naything more than offer their own observations on experiences we all have and scripted it brilliantly. Its a testament to their comedy skills that for me puts them in a different league to Garry Shandling and anyone else who is talented but corrupted by a sinister desire to be respected

    Shandling grow up.

  38. Mark Says:

    Here here. Ricky Gervais might not be a trailblazer, but he’s very good at what he does and is in no way a hack. Shandling just acted like the kid who gets arsey because his favourite underground band is breaking out into the mainstream. They both rock but I just felt so disappointed that gary shandling had to be so petulent about it all. Even if ricky gervais sucked (which he doesn’t), I would still object to being treated the way that Shandling treats him in this interview.

  39. Emma Says:

    Hi, does anyone know where I might download the Shandling interview online with Gervais, or a site where I can watch it? Thanks so much.

  40. Maria Says:

    I agree with Vincent.

    “I can only assume it’s because you can’t tell when he’s riffing on being an arrogant tit and when he’s being genuine.”

    Nothing much can be done about that. Either your antennas are switched on or they’re not.

    That aside….

    Have you ever *seen* how interviews are conducted in the U.S.? Of course Shandling was out of his depth. An interviewer in the U.S. will never allow the interview to wander into the realm of real conversation e.g. what makes eskimos live in the North Pole. Shandling assumed there was disrespect or some kind of agenda behind Gervais’ conversational style because he’s never been exposed to this style.

    Not to get too political here, but this reminds me of the reaction to the Carole Coleman interview with George Bush (Bush complained personally to the Irish Govt. about the lack of regulation of state-owned media in Ireland following the interview) or Meg Ryan’s reaction to the Michael Parkinson interview (get both interviews on YouTube).

    The two cultures define interaction and the purpose of an interview differently on a fundamental level, which gives rise to the emotions which cause this kind of friction to begin with. An interview with a star in the U.S. is about stroking egos. It is *not* about getting to know something new about a person.

    I experienced many Schandling-Gervais moments in real life while living in the U.S. Heated discussion/debate is not encouraged. Why be “mean” when you can be “nice”?

    End of Rant. 🙂

  41. Susie McNeil Says:

    I had to watch this twice as well. First impression is that Garry is the problem, but a second pass reveals clearly that Ricky is. I think Brian Clover is right. Garry didn’t like The Extras and thought the humour had a lot of cheap shots. Then Ricky shows up at his home acting like he owns the place, riffling through his fridge, clearly full of himself. Ricky in disbelief that the person on the phone never heard of him is very telling, and it doesn’t look like he’s being facetious. It’s all made obvious later when Garry practically lectures Ricky about the importance of humility (in reference to the Shandling episode where Hank is liked when humble, disliked when arrogant). Then I re-watched the Larry David interview and I realized how Ricky seemed so self important, no humility in from of Larry at all. Ricky needs to deflate his head. Overall, despite the discomfort, the Garry interview is very interesting, as a physiological study at least.

  42. K Says:

    I hear that Gervais is interviewing Axl Rose next week…

    I can’t wait…

  43. Dan Says:

    The Gervais/Shandling interview is available in its entirety here:


    And contrary to the original post, the Larry Sanders Show was broadcast on BBC2 in the mid-90s, not Channel 4. It was shown alongside Seinfeld, immediately after Newsnight.

  44. Tom Says:

    The interview was a tough one to call.

    Firstly, Shandling (seemingly) not showing up on time is a bit Hollywood for me, and i think for Gervais too. Hence rifling through his fridge – passive-aggressive behaviour a la Brent.

    Shandling never let the interview flow naturally. He was very good at putting Gervais off his stride and wasn’t prepared to condescend to Gervais’ level. It seemed to be a case of who’s first to blink, definately gervais.

    Shandling is clever with a very sharp wit but ultimately it’s quite nasty. He had to show he was smarter. Gervais, in my opinion, genuinely wanted to meet one of his comedy heroes and not try to dazzle him with British humour.

    Overall, Shandling’s probing off Gervais was far more revealing (of himself too) yet when Gervais let Shandling talk about LS, oddly it was the most boring part: dull, almost pompous, armchair-psychology stuff.

    As you say, fascinating watching.

  45. D'Arcy Says:

    If you actually think Gervais is taking cheap shots at people with disabilities or victims of the Holocaust, quite frankly, you have a lot to learn. Nowhere is he actually acheiving laughs at their expense, but at people who say the wrong things and come across the wrong way in such taboo situations. Gervais and Larry David are both comic gods, and last I checked Curb Your Enthusiasm has plenty of laughs in and around disabilities (INCLUDING wheel chairs and Holocaust survivors). To condemn either Ricky or Larry is wrong, and to condemn the former and not the latter is both hypocritical and wrong. And all the Ricky hate is tacky as hell on here. It sounds like a bit of jealousy, resentment, and ignorance from a gaggle of lads that have either forgotten what comedy is all about, or never knew anything in the first place.

  46. JRM Says:

    It was uncomfortable from the start, but I assumed this was planned. The particular moment that made me start to think Gervais and Shandling were not acting uncomfortable was when (a little bit after Shandling brought the jacket out) Gervais reached over and put his hand on the arm of Shandling’s chair, then Shandling made a move to pound Gervais’ hand with his fist??!! Did anyone else notice this? It was such an odd moment, and certainly didn’t look like “acting”.

  47. Matt Guy Says:

    I am a huge Ricky fan, and I also love The Larry Sanders show, but can I just say that in this interview Shandling acted like a complete dick! You are all reading too much into it, the fact is Ricky wanted to meet him as he was one of his heroes and he was making a couple of shows for what would have been a series, but Shandling couldn’t be assed, he wouldn’t just answer questions and have a civilised conversation. You say that the succsess has gone to Ricky’s head, but it hasn’t, not as much as it seems, that is just a personna. Shandling on the other hand is so cocky that he thinks he can do whatever he wants in an interview situation. The looks on Ricky’s face throughout aren’t out of perplexity, they are out of dissapointment that this is how he is being treated by one of his heroes.

  48. Matt Guy Says:

    Also, I totally agree with D’Arcy, the humour comes from the uncomfortable situation created and how we react to it, at no point does he simply take cheap shots at disabled people.

  49. Anymodal Says:

    I think what gave away that their types of humor weren’t compatible when ricky went ‘yeh I have some suits for award ceremonies…. ’cause I’ve gone to loads of award ceremonies’ in that moment, shandling just has the worst expression on his face.

    all in all, I think ricky genuinely didn’t know when shandling was being funny and vice versa and while ricky felt lost and embarrased, shandling was thinking that gervais was an absolute asshole.

    I’ve listened to Gervais and Merchant’s Xfm radio shows, and those show ricky in is normal person ‘persona’, as opposed to the one he adopts in interviews. you can appreciate that he’s a very normal bloke , as opposed to the general public’s opinion of him being an aggrandized prick.

  50. Mike Says:

    I’ve watched the interview a number of times and am a big fan of both Shandling and Gervais.

    Clearly there are some comedy moments that people misinterpret as real. When Shandling accuses Gervais of being anti-semitic, Gervais outwits him by saying “You’re not Jewish are you?” and Shandling breaks, smiling and says, “good one on you, are you happy now? Good, because make sure you cut where it looks like you won”

    You won. It’s a game, a kind of tug of war for the awkward comedy. But because Shandling doesn’t really open up and deflects personal questions it doesn’t come across as light hearted as it is. I think Shandling really is uncomfortable being interviewed (does anyone have any other videos of him being interviewed?) and consequently tries to take control by asking Gervais probing questions about what motivates him. Because Shandling doesn’t keep the mood light as Gervais does in his other interviews, Shandling comes across as a bit of a dick.

    Not following Gervais out to the garden was funny the first time, but not the second, and telling him to ‘get out of his head’ and ‘not think so much’ came across as arrogant.

    I think Shandling was being rude (purposefully or not) when he hot up to make the coffee, but Gervais treated it like another part of the tug of war and made light of it by saying “fucking hell” etc. You wouldn’t make jokes like that if (all of) the awkwardness was genuine.

    I agree that Shandling probably didn’t like Extras that much as it is telling when he says, “Why do you choose to explore those uncomfortable moments? Because it’s funny, is that your sense of humour?”.

    Perhaps Shandling was hoping for some deeper metaphor or insight into human behaviour which he believes the Larry Sanders Show encapsulated.

    Is Gervais a little big headed and sycophantic (check out the Christopher Guest interview…)sure, even accounting for his false persona but who wouldn’t be?

    Gervais disbelief comes at the phone caller not knowing who he is comes across as quite arrogant but remember, he thinks this is part of Shandling’s tug of war.

    “This is live.”
    “Well if I knew that at the start of the interview, I still don’t think I would have tried harder.”
    Jokes Shandling, but there’s a nugget of truth there, he isn’t a great interviewee but I think that’s because he’s insecure not a prick with an agenda, therefore it’s forgivable.

  51. Tommy Mack Says:

    You got some of your facts totally wrong there, eg. Larry sanders was never shown on channel 4 on a Friday or any other day, late or otherwise.

  52. MIckey Says:

    Ricky Gervais? The Future of British Comedy? What a dick. Pardon my English, but what the hell is a man like that doing interviews with the likes of Garry Shandling. Nice Idea on paper and yes the office works as does extras. But do eithert have the comedic depth of say the Larry Sanders or It’s Garry Shandling Show?

    And what about the Interview, Oh you look like one of the banana splits, hey let’s print out a picture. Here you look like a big fuzzy animal. Just flown X thousand miles to spend five minutes of a 44 min interview to tell you that, oh and your my heroe.

    No ladies and gentlemen, the Interview [if you can call it one] was pretty much the wosre i’ve seen. Dissapointed i can’t tell you.

    Everything about it was wrong and as Ricky was the Interviewer, it’s down to him. Simple as that. If you can bare to, pls watch it again and listen to questions asked by Ricky????? Or his observations, was like watching a 10 year old, out of his depth with no understanding of his own comedic method, was alamost waiting for him to put his hand under his arm and start making fart effects..

    I think what Garry Shandling tried to do is talk comedy and be himself, Ricky simply couldn’t follow him and frankly got what he had coming. [Maybe he should have done his research on his so called hero] Anyways…..

    Anyone who knows something about GS knows that his own series are based on his own experience, a lot of te etime, him playing essentially himself, for me that came through on the interview and i simply had to stand and applaud the man.

    His Genius is as strong as ever. Ricky however needs a reality check, the saviour of British Comedy I think not.

    Oh and one last thing, just downloaded Letterman meets Garry Shandling, watch it if you can. Interview is as trippy as seeing Garry Shandling hosting Johnny Carson on an almost identical set to the one the Larry Sanders Show pinched and used. Letterman meeting the man who turned down his job [and boy is he funnier]! Frikking Genius. The main article nails it!

  53. simon Says:

    Who is interviewing who?

    I really dig both these guys’ work, but wow, this sure is awkward!

    As Ricky says, uncomfortable situations are funny “afterwards”, not at the time – exactly what we see here.

    It’s great,
    Garry creates the situations for Ricky in which he usually shines, but Ricky seems put off.

    Garry keeps trying to give Ricky a situation where he can make the punchline, which is what a good interviewer will do for a comedian interviewee, but Ricky passes it back instead of hitting it… as he should, Ricky is trying to be the interviewer.
    (For example the beginning of Part2 on YouTube, when they first sit down outside, From Garry asking Ricky if he’d like to go fo a swim, and then Garry asking what the current exchange rate is for the 40 pounds he offer Garry to do the inteview in the pool.)

    Who is interviewing who?

  54. Camille Says:

    This interview left me with a really uncomfortable feeling. Was that intentional? It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Ricky came across as energetic, funny, light and in the moment. Garry was playing the role of the dust covered has been, living in the past.

    Depressing and awkward… Fascinating to watch though. Much like the work of these two men. Hmmm. Coincidence?

  55. William Connelly Says:

    I think there is a possibily that this was all a set up. As it is quite an awkward thing to watch. But I think the arrangement would have been “make it awkward, play along”. There is the moment after Garry stands up and accuses Ricky of not having Jews in his show because he feels uncomfortable around them (obviously it’s not true because Ben Stiller is on it) and Garry says “Good one on you. Are you happy now? Make sure you cut where it makes you look like you won”. I think it pretty much points to what is was going on. And the boxing shorts to me is all part of the joke. Moving inside was where the awkwardness is a little toned down a bit. After the discussion of “awkward comedy” Garry says “what we proved doesn’t need to be proved anymore. And is indulgent, that comedy comes from tragedy and suffering.” The coffee thing was another play on this, Garry is aware it’s rude. But I must say Garry wasn’t on his toes and does mention that he [being shown live at 2am in England] “If I knew that at the beginning I don’t think I would have tried any harder”. Let’s face it he wasn’t very funny. And besides the botox my guess is he’s on prescribed drugs like all the other Americans in the Prozac nation. Lets face it they all have psychiatrists to deal with the drugs they get prescribed that make them go nutty. At the end Garry says “Sorry did the best I could”, which sums it up nicely.

  56. Neil. S. Says:

    I have only seen the interview once so will not attempt to enter into a debate with those who have analysed it many times. All i will say is that the people who think Gervais’ is a funnier guy than Shandling obviously havent seen much of the Larry Sanders show. Gervais is a very funny guy, Shandling is a genius.

    He is also a neurotic, awkward, reclusive bloke who has a great contempt for the whole celebrity culture and makes no secret of it (e.g. the line in Larry Sanders “charirty begins at home, except in Hollywood where it begins at 7 o’clock sharp in every fucking hotel ballroom in town.”)

    Gervais, meanwhile seems to have whole heartedly embraced it and become a mainstay of chat shows (Jonathon Ross, Richard & Judy etc.) as well doing “the brent dance” at every opportunity and having huge posters of himself everywhere, admittedly probably not directly down to him but Shandling would never have had that (probably ‘cos he’s too neurotic.)

    I think Shandling probably took a dislike to Gervais for these reasons and combined with the fact that he doesnt like talking about himself he decided to make it a difficult awkward interview, purely because he could.

    Someone hit the nail on the head earlier when they said Gervais has more Brent in him than he would like to admint and the same is true of Shandling/Sanders. This was essentially David Brent Interviewing Larry Sanders.

  57. Sara Says:

    Sounds like some fat headed american can’t handle the british upping you on one hey Mr. Gervais is a champion 12 episodes or not.. Its not quantity its quality! Shandling shows he’s more of a self infatuated twat than Gervais. Your point is really just contradictory.

  58. Andrew Says:

    Your comparison of British and American comedies is hilarious in itself. Anyone with eyes and ears can see that English shows have long had the edge over American ones, and part of the reason is that there are less of them. The fact that American comedies are more prolific is not a strength. I would suggest that Seinfeld and other such shows would have been far better were there less of them.

  59. Fran Says:

    I’m sorry, but the truth is The Office was funnier, better acted and more tender than any of Shandlings smug out put. The fact is he was horrible to Gervais. You don’t do that to a fan, whether they’re an internationally renowned comedian or a ten year old, he humiliated him. Gervais didn’t do this show to rub anything in anyones face as the original poster suggested, he did it because he thought it would make a good show and he’s in the business of making good shows. There’s no evidence to suspect otherwise. I absolutely agree with whoever said that some of these posters had a classically British contempt for success. I also find the suggestion that great American comedies are better than great English comedies because they run for longer nonsensical. That makes no difference to how well written a show is. I personally love the fact that in English shows end when they should. They’re not bled dry until they stop making money.

  60. Hanna W Says:

    Well firstly I would say that the interview had me feeling uncomfortable for the reason that I could not decide if the whole thing was pre arranged or Garry really was being a prick.

    I really really hope it was a setup as if it was genuine my previous respect for Garry has been a little misguided.

    The American humour versus English humour argument is a little infantile as the problem (if there is one) is more a question of good manners.

    Re the American shows being more prolific I would say that a lot of Engish humour is written by a very small team (Cleese and Booth, Gervais and Merchant ) while the Simpsons etc have a writing team the size of a small middle eastern country’s army.

    Being Australian I feel I can be impartial on B vs A humour. I have loved shows from both countries.

    I still love Garry’s work. Good on Ricky for not following suit and trying to keep the mood light.


  61. Gibson Says:

    The interview was hilarious! One of the best interviews I’ve ever seen – Shandling wasn’t being horrible to Gervais, he was just playing to his strengths. Gervais is most humorous when he’s doing his uncomfortable/embarassing thing, and Shandling, being an entertainer and comedian, just worked that thread.

    Lets not forget that Shandling is also a master of uncomfortable humor – doesn’t anyone remember the David Duchovny episode? They were both trying to outdo each other’s uncomfortable factor.

    Shandling says in the interview that he’s seen Extras and has seen the Office, so its not like he’s unfamiliar with the cruel/embarassing humor of Gervais. He was prepared, and he’s always got that little smirk on his face – so to say that the interview went horribly is partly right. I’m pretty sure it was suppose to go that way – talk about memorable!

    Who wants to see a boring question/answer interview? This is gold!

  62. Ian Milheim Says:

    I honestly felt as though the interview was turned into a comedic awkward situation with a fair amount of wit, each playing into eachother’s gags for the most part, as they were each quite familiar with each other’s work.
    I really thought the interview didn’t go that badly for either of them. I laughed pretty consistantly as they set each other up and then proceeded to lose their arguements.

  63. Ian Milheim Says:

    As many other comments have commented, I thought it was an intentional gag in and of itself. Which makes my opinion both redundant and a year and a half late, but the way I see it, if someone else where to have read the Emancipation Proclamation 5 years after the end of the civil war, I might have listened.

  64. Zorg Says:

    I agree there is little lasting depth to Ricky Gervais’ comedy, but I honestly don’t believe he pretends there is.

    I absolutely loved The Office and admire their insistence – despite the obvious lure of cashing in – that two series is enough. I think it’s a rule that can be applied to sitcoms, beyond two series and it becomes a soap. Even the great Blackadder was playing to the crowd by the end, with everyone waiting to hear ‘I have a cunning plan…’. Americans seem much more comfortable with their comedies becoming soap operas, though the obvious exceptions are Seinfeld and Larry Sanders which you are right to say were consistently brilliant.

    I also agree that Extras is very poor. I even argued with friends about the ‘disabled girl’ joke – it doesn’t make sense. Who, in 2006/7, honestly sees a disabled person and thinks that person is drunk? Nobody. It encapsulated the entire series for me: if it makes you cringe it must be funny. Er, no actually Ricky. The characters in The Office were brilliant because you know them – I have honestly worked in offices with Gareths, Tims and even David Brents. It was spot on. Extras just seems to be some random celebrity wankfest with the same joke every week. I imagine them with two boxes marked ‘Controversial Subject’ and ‘Celebrity’. They pull out a piece of paper and say ‘right, it’s Tom Cruise and child abuse this week’. Boring.

  65. Neil.B. Says:

    I’ve seen this a few times, entirely fascinated by it, and the more I watch it, the more I am convinced its all set-up.

    Firstly, in Ricky’s other interviews, he finds talking about his own shows rather embarassing and yet he questions Garry “What’s the best scene?” in Extras, which leads to the whole Holocaust/cheap laughs debate.

    The “Are you controlling me?” and “You’re a naughty little boy” comments when he’s putting in his contact lenses at the beginning, the whole coffee things and the moment he tries to whack Ricky’s hand (!) are simply all too awkward to be true, surely?

    I get the feeling Shandling attempts to make it look as though he’s “above” Gervais’ comedy – ignoring his sarcastic remarks – “You can’t say zebra.”

  66. tboz Says:

    LMAO…..you all obviously fell for it……. IT WAS A SETUP..get it???? a simplistic setup. BY BOTH PARTIES, ya know, considering they are both, 2 of the greatest minds in comedy today. They were playin with each other tryin to throw the other one off. Considering Shandling is american and i dont like american comedy but Shandlings Dead-pan antics are typical of a comedy duo on tv…..Hale and Pace or Morcombe and Wise, and absolutely perfect for the interview. Ever heard of sueing someone over slander? For Gods sake, americans will sue after gettin hit with a snowball!!!!! Why didn’t he sue Gervais for defamation of character or somethin else obsurd? Wakey Wakey people, you have just seen two great minds playin off each others own stubborness and you all think its for real! And ricky has no depth???? you r kiddin aren’t ya… a lot more depth than the likes of Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock! Their jokes are timebased jokes….as in war on iraq or, well anythin in the news thats relevant.(i know they’re both American but thats typical Yank Comedy,NO DEPTH). Billy connolly, John Cleese and ricky included do jokes (not all the time tho) that can be told in 10 15 20 years time!….Stop whining, rewatch it and take it for what it is, An UNCOMFORTABLE situation during an interview that makes the viewer go ” wat would i do?”……….Ricky’s Speciality…….thats enough….Well said Zorg

  67. kalamari Says:

    The author is mistaking prolificism for success. Seinfeld was a completely different show to, say, The Office – the whole setup leant favourably to multiple series, wheras The Office was more about getting laughs from quick character building, something that would have faded fast had third, fourth etc series been made.

    Anyway I found the show fascinating – it is hard to tell whether it is setup or whether one or both is being serious! Does Garry Shandling hate Gervais and his comedy? Or did he in fact praise it all the more by being in on the cringe? Makes for great TV!

  68. Wang Says:

    I think Garry Shandling is a gigantic asshole in real life. That’s what I’ve heard.

  69. Michael Says:

    I saw some bits of the interview.. not very entertaining, true, but mainly because Shandling was being pretty rude.
    What are you on about Gervais being this egotistic asshole that you describe? He co-created his series, won his awards, what’s wrong with that?
    The guy is funny. You don’t like him? Your opinion. I don’t know him personally, maybe wouldn’t even want to, a lot of people who know him say he’s pretty annoying, could be, but who cares?
    You’re saying the Fawlty Towers approach to “how long a series should be” is wrong, well guess what? For Fawlty Towers it worked (the fact that it’s one of the best sit-coms in the history of television proves it). For the Office it worked. For Extras it worked. Quality over quantity.
    I think you are one of those persons who “just don’t get it”, and feel this urge to slag him off. Well, don’t, because Ricky doesn’t want you to laugh, he doesn’t want everyone to laugh, I certainly don’t want you to laugh. Enjoy another 24-episode series of your politically correct jewish humour, and why don’t you fucking buy DVDs if they are so good, eh?

  70. Nada Says:

    Oh, please. Shandling is such a pompous, bitter ass. Maybe it’s his failed career, maybe it’s all the plastic sugery that left him looking no less like a cartoon trout, maybe it’s his tiny penis. Who knows, but he’s so very much less interesting and so very much less clever than he thinks he is.

  71. Noamis Says:

    uh… for anybody who think that Garry Chandling is being an ass, have you ever seen him in anything aside from The Larry Sanders Show? He’s been involved in other extremely awkward interviews in the past, either as interviewer or interviewee (or, as in this case, a sort of ambiguous cross between the two). This is what he does. Even look at the commercial that he made for his own DVD collection on amazon.com. As it was not presumably filmed live I think we can assume that he had control of it and that it turned out reasonably close to how he intended. And yet the exact same elements are there – he basically creates an awkward situation with a girl who he’s asked to sell his DVD and it becomes uncertain whether it’s all part of the commercial or whether we’re seeing behind-the-scenes. (In her first take she says, “in all my years as a DVD hawker, I’ve never seen anything as great as… etc.” and he steps in, interrupts the take, and says “Do you have to say DVD hawker?” then apologizes for telling her what to do and then again for making an awkward situation. She does the second take with him muttering nervously in the background.) Some of the interviews on the aforementioned DVD set are far far more tense than this one.

  72. Mark Says:

    This is a fascinating interview! I’ve watched it three times and I still don’t have it completely figured out, but I’m a huge fan of both “The Office” and everything Shandling’s done.

    At first, I agreed with some of the other comments about these two not quite getting each others senses of humor, but now I think that Gervais is the one who’s not getting it. As other posters have remarked, the humor of Gervais is not so much in *what* he says, but rather in the fact that he actually said it. This is certainly a much more modern sense of humor, which I definitely find hilarious. Shandling, however, is from a different time, and beyond that, I think he takes great pride in using humor to reveal something he considers to be significant about humanity or what not. I think he was intrigued by Gervais and that he wanted to ask Gervais *why* uncomfortable situations were funny in a philosophical sense, but Gervais didn’t seem as interested in discussing humor in depth as he did in actually trying to be humorous.

    On the other hand, I do think Shandling understands Gervais’ humor, but I don’t think he cares very much for it at all. After getting his answer to “why do you create these uncomfortable moments?” (Gervais responds, “because it’s funny”) Shandling seems to lose interest in Ricky. It’s not that he doesn’t know when Gervais is joking – he does. You just can’t miss a joke like “You can’t say Zebra.” Shandling knows its a joke, but he dismisses it. He views Gervais’ humor as childish and says as much when he calls Ricky a naughty little boy.

    And for all of those out there who are trying to make this into a British/American conflict, it actually challenged my cultural stereotypes. Shandling is poised, intellectual, and witty whereas Gervais (who I am not trying to fault, and who I also find incredibly funny) seems naive, childish, and unaware.

  73. Mark Says:

    Oops. That smiley face was supposed to close my parentheses. Ignore it!

  74. Tom Says:

    That was a really thoughtful post. I saw the Shandling-Gervais interview and just thought, “Wow, what a jerk Shandling was,” but now I’m inclined to agree that, as you suggested, Shandling was just onto Gervais’ plan to make a self-congratulatory love-fest.

  75. Guy Mearns Says:

    Having just stumbled upon this interview, i was immediately shocked by the rudeness of Shandling, and then grew to the notion that this was probably intentional to play Gervais at his own game. I find it hard to believe that if Ricky wasn’t aware of this, he just played along, and in turn, threw in more of his own character traits to balance it out.

    I think Ricky comes out on top, mainly because he seems completely aware of the situation that Garry is trying to create but soldiers on and moves things on to get the job done, while Shandling tries his best to make Gervais feel uncomfortable.

    Garry SHandling tried to be too clever in the interview in my opinion, he tried to create a real life situation of the comedy that they he and Ricky are both about, but it lacked respect for Ricky, and his work. Whenever i have seen Ricky interview anyone he admires, he always displays a fine balance of prefect manners, politeness, but thrown in with a his trademark mock-arrogance to balance things out. The trouble is when people do not get this, as pointed out earlier in the above comments.

    Keep up the good work Ricky.

  76. jake Says:

    Why can’t any of you just say it was a fun interview. I enjoyed it quite a lot. It is one of the best interviews I have seen. Both men are very funny. And watching them together is a real treat. I don’t think either is a tosser. Gary is acting however he chooses to act in an interview, and David is dealing with that. But, who is being laughed at? I think they both appreciate each others work. I don’t see any of the sharp disagreements that most of you do. I am a canadian though, so maybe I miss the us england rivalry.

  77. o0arthur0o Says:

    I thought Shandling came across as a dick. If you don’t like the guy, don’t agree to be interviewed. The only other option is that he was forced to. And maybe that’s a better indication about who is drawing more water these days.

  78. Jskis Says:

    It’s strange to me, this “interview.” In my most serious opinion after watching this several times I have drawn the conclusion that Garry may in fact, just be a huge asshole. He feels that his shows are genius (he’s not wrong) but the fact that Gervais (whom I also adore) is the interviewer, showing that Gervais is the more successful, drive Gary insane and he goes out of his way to make a point about it.

  79. bud Says:

    That’s Shandling’s shtick these days. It has always been a part of it, especially as you review ‘interview’ segments over the years (back to Ben Stiller Show days at least). But Shandling is a bit more of a professional Panelist for the time being, sitting in interview/disccusion type settings. Its a part of the fake fourth wall that is part of much of his work, but it shows up more the further the work gets from a sit com.

  80. anon Says:

    i am inclined to believe this was partially setup but it’s hard to shake those last 10 seconds which i don’t think any of these comments touched on. after the handhshake and the interview being “officially” over gervais very quickly loses the smile and seems truly put off. after the “how much time do you need” bit shandling says something about dvd’s, a line i can’t make out that gets stepped on by gervais cutting him off and saying “no i’m gonna go now see you later” and walks off abruptly.

    again it could all be an inside job, but that final moment really did look like gervais wearing his hurt pride on his sleeve.

  81. cla Says:

    Ricky Gervais is about as funny as cancer!

  82. John Says:

    The debate rages on.

    Interesting that the takes on this interview are so varied. My take is an interesting one: I think Garry is a bit paranoid and slightly delusional with caffiene psychosis as the root cause.

    I’d love to hear that it was a set-up, worked out between them beforehand, because that would make the interview an amazing piece of brilliance.

  83. selection Says:

    Never, never, did it occur to me as I watched this interview that these two were being sincere. It blows my mind that 90+% of you seem to think otherwise of these two, both famous for exactly this type of comedy. In short, are you people nuts?

    If anything, Shandling paid Ricky a compliment by giving Ricky the very sort of comedy that Ricky claims to be so influenced by. What makes you people think that Gervais, who has dedicated his comedy career to awkwardness, would prefer his interview with his idol to come off like Oprah Winfrey?

    #1 there were so many laugh out loud moments. Uncomfortable? A little bit…but have any of you ever watched ANTYTHING Ricky Gervais has ever done? I felt like I was watching an episode of EXTRAS at times.

    #2 The insults and awkwardness were SO over the top. Making yourself a cup of coffee without offering another is hardly the epitome of rude. For Ricky to actually curse him afterwards under his breath is so incredibly immature that there is no way this wasn’t an act. Then Shandling plays it off like it’s no big deal that Ricky just broke from his double fake-putting-on-a-smile to curse him out? Where the interviewer actually asked what the best scene of the interviewer’s own show was? And the interviewee followed by accusing of being an anti-semite? So over the top… You’d have to be pretty thick…

    And to suggest that Shandling had intended to knock comedy from awkward, foot in the mouth, thoughtlessly rude moments is utterly ridiculous. If Shandling had such disdain for it all, why’d he base his career off it too?

    It was a fabulous interview. I was never a Shandling fan because I found him annoying, but he was hilarious here, as was Ricky, as always.

  84. truehammer Says:

    The Mighty Boosh, highly entertaining? Jesus Christ i’d rather stab myself in the eye with a pencil than watch that garbage.

  85. Eddie333 Says:

    This is a very funny article.. Only because the line “flash in the pan is used.” Ha, brilliant. Im sure you would like to take that back now! Podcasts, Stand up, Radio, sitcoms playing two completely differant roles (how many comedians have won awards for two diferant main characters on British T.V!?) Many comedians including Larry David, who is mentioned in this article have sang Rickys praises. But i supose you’ve got a much better sense of humour than these people. But the point is that, Ricky and Garry were playing exactly the same role in the interveiw, trying to make it awkward. The only differance being, Gervais laughed every now and again!.. sorry you missed that one.. and im sure you not still working for this company after the flash in the pan statement.

  86. tenzuoGO Says:

    All this is very funny to me, becouse many of you guy’s have a very naive point of view on this. You actually think, that this interview was spontaneous and the way it was MENT to look. Clearly there are a lot more thing behind the sceen now one can see. I like both comedians, and think the get along very well. There conflict was a simple set up, to make the interview funny, and was played out well, by both of them.

  87. tenzuoGO Says:

    @ anon

    if it wasn’t ment to be there, it simply wouldn’t be there.

  88. frostie Says:

    wow.. too many comments.. and its too late.
    ive spent the best part of 2 hours on this so i might aswell chip in with my view.

    at the end of the day, if it was staged it wasnt very funny. if it wasnt staged then shandling is just an arrogant prick, sure gervais probably went there to be mates and seek approval, and yeah its abit weird filming it. but theres no need to be rude, just have a laugh, dont take things so seriously, be funny, and everything will be good. throughout the whole interview shandling just rejected and undermined any attempt ricky made at comedy by not responding, which lead to silence in which ricky had to break with another question, and when shandling made a joke ricky over-laughed to make the situation a little less awkward, maybe to get on shandlings good side. as it seemed shandling went into the interview hating ricky.
    From the off there seemed to be friction, as shandling made a few attempts to be funny, and it just ended up flat and awkard. the whole thing was a disaster, i havnt lost any respect for ricky though. and shandling maybe a comedy legend, but that doesnt mean he has the right to be a dick, and it doesnt mean hes a nice guy, i mean come on, is it just me or did he seem just a really odd guy, that no-one would wanna be mates with?
    im really tired.. so forgive any spelling mistakes or grammar.. and my points may seem fragmented..

  89. Davo Says:

    It’s quite obvious where all this Ricky Gervais bashing stems from… Generally speaking (I won’t lump you all in the same box) Americans are far too stupid to fully understand what Ricky Gervais’ comedy is about. There seems to be this re-occurring thread of people not knowing when he’s being ironic or satiric and therefor they attack him as being arrogant. Shandling is a twat. There’s is no need for the behaviour he displayed in this interview.

  90. Josh H Says:

    i really hate your posts, you seem angry at life

  91. Josh H Says:

    and i agree with Davo.

    if Gervais is arrogant. I don’t know the word for Shandling. Rude Tosser

  92. Robx69 Says:

    I think Garry Shandling just hates the British.

  93. Scott Says:

    I love it when people say things like “Americans are too stupid to understand Ricky Gervais!” — his style of comedy’s not THAT complex. Furthermore, he seems to spend 90% of his time being ‘ironic’, judging by how much twattish behaviour and unfunny material people seem to excuse with this reason.

    I actually think that one of the things that scuttled Gervais here is that Shandling clearly has interviewing experience and Gervais largely does not, and so Shandling ended up taking over the interview a lot of time and effectively turning questions back on him. It didn’t help that Gervais was all too willing to frequently turn the conversation back on himself and his own work without Shandling’s help, which Shandling clearly didn’t appreciate — the purpose of an interview is to find out about the other guy, not to continually bang your own drum, after all.

  94. AndOman Says:

    Wow, the thoughts on this bit of pop culture. Impressed (err, mostly).

    For my 2p, it was an experience to watch, whatever either parties’ motives were. I can’t escape the feeling Garry was definately trying something on, but it generally felt like Ricky was defending himself with his arrogent/cheeky persona in defence more than anything.

    Overall, I was a little disapointed that Ricky didn’t respond _as Ricky_ about why he chose to hit taboo subjects. It would have been good to hear them both seriously discuss (at least briefly) the more primal element of that type of comedy (which they have both copiously hit in thier respective works), the pain behind the laugh.

    Oh well, bloody entertaining to be sure. It will be one of the infamous interviews of our times.

  95. Michelle Says:

    You have to ask yourself something…….if you are SO anti-Gervais, then why are you SO drawn to watching his stuff?

    I think it’s obvious here that you don’t possess the sublte brilliant comedy that Ricky brings forth, it’s real and honest and at times aukward and that’s the point! Why do you think he’s resonated with so many?

    As for Shandling, he acted like a small child who was is jealous of another’s success, when his hayday is over and can’t bring himself to act like a ‘mentor’ should. Pathetic small man.

  96. Rob Says:

    I watched tihs a few years back, and yes, it’s car crash TV of the highest order.
    Anyone who thinks this was set up is just plain daft. Don’t you wonder why Ricky has never mentioned this since? Because it was a feckin disaster, as far as he was concerned. And the BBC were going to put this out regardless, because they probably spent a lot of cash to get it done, even if Ricky would have prefered they didn’t.
    Gervais is funny yes, but as said above, Garry is a comedy god, just pure genius.

    He does come across as a awkward prick I agree, but he’s always been like that – even his fellow stars of the LS show admit they hardly knew the guy, even after all those years.
    As he says – “My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don’t really know me.”
    Seemed to me that GS just thought RG was overrated ( and he’s right of course )and coupled with what he preceived to be Ricky’s lack of respect, and forwardness, he kept him off balance all night.
    Thanks god, in a way, because we definitely didn’t need to see another of Ricky’s fawning love in interviews with his comdey heroes.

  97. jess Says:

    These comments blow my mind. Obviously the negative comments come from americans who do NOT understand british humour. If anyone really knew Ricky, they know that he is the most self depricating comedian out there. Shandling was uncomfortable and threatened. There was NO genius whatsoever in the way he dealt with the situation. Anyone who claims there was is defending a fellow american. Analyze it all you wish, Shandling was rude, plain and simple. No I am not British or American. I just have a good sense for humour and Shandling is not funny. Never has been never will be.

  98. laughing.octopus Says:

    Your all reading way too much into it, he came across as a narcissistic odd-ball nob because he is one, a product of the LA dream, at points it was almost like watching an episode of Extras with the portrayal of Shandling created by Gervais but unfortunately he seemed too bizarre for even fiction. An 80’s icon I reckon he spends most his days a recluse, accepting most tv opportunities and investing and producing low budget poorly written day-time movies.

  99. laughing.octopus Says:

    p.s. his post op’ plastic lips make me feel a bit sick

  100. Babaloo Reinhardt Says:

    well i just wanted to write something… have read the main post and most of the thread. I was surprised that as far as i read no one had mentioned that fact that Ricky Gervais actually has mentioned this incident post-interview. It was in a Time interview. The interviewer says something like, “the shandling interview was notoriously awkward, what do you think the problem was and were you disappointed?” Gervais said that he wasn’t disappointed and that he really enjoyed the day. He said he wasn’t being himself and that he decided to leave all of it in etc. He says that it was the real him and that it really went like that… He also admitted that he was very nervous about meeting his hero and said things he regretted and says that he is sorry (although, he only makes explicit reference to the Banana Splits comment but one suspects that there is a general subtext).
    I just think Gervais is aware how it looked and that it could have gone better. Also, about this idea that Shandling was trying to prove something about awkward situations not being funny is just absurd, because of course awkward situations aren’t funny for the people involved this is more than obvious because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be awkward situations. Gervais made the point clearly that in ‘retrospect’ these awkward situations can be very funny (and/or from a third part perspective). And we see this actually in the fact that Gervais can laugh about the interview afterwards. You can find the Gervais Time interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7IEvfd1oXo

  101. Babaloo Reinhardt Says:

    oops… i made an error in the above comment Gervais said that he ‘was’ being himself… sorry also for the other errors, i wrote this very quickly and with a hangover…

  102. tali Says:

    I think there is a simple point that everyone is overlooking here. British and American ideas on social etiquette are quite different – not that either is a monoculture, but I think for Ricky and Garry’s respective audiences you can do some fair generalizations. Which I will now do.

    Sure Ricky is a bit of a tit. But that doesn’t make much difference — I think the value of his kind of humour is that he has realized that he is a bit of a tit and actually positively channels it, encrusting it and elaborating all the social toxic parts of his ego. The dissonance is what makes it funny. That was what David Brent was, a safe vehicle for his raging narcissism, insecurity and alienation.

    This isn’t a new thing for a comedian to do, but what Ricky has done which for me is novel (though I”m no expert on comedy) has been to be quite drastically honest with it. He’s really displaying something quite vulnerable, and I can imagine it is a huge risk to do that – a major commitment. Luckily for him, it has sort of worked. Obviously, not this time.

    Okay, so that’s his kind of humour. Now we wonder why it is popular. Well that also seems straightforward: its a sort of antidote to buttoned down, ultra PC British correctness, nanny statism, a sort of pretense tolerance that is really just purely veiled colonial guilt. That’s the wider cultural context he’s playing in. His humour registers with people because it happens to be quite finely tuned to resonate with sensitivities in the wider culture.

    In America, those sensitivities are different, they’ve already been exploited at various times and for various effects, and for other random reasons you could spend years pontificating about, the cachet just isn’t there. Hence Garry’s skepticism. It seemed he had already done quite a deep deconstruction of Ricky. So what?

    Media isn’t a meritocracy, and it would be naive to think it would be. Ricky is popular not because he’s brilliant but its because he is an expression of all sorts of untidy social neuroses that it is cathartic to laugh about. That those don’t translate from one mass media audience to another shouldn’t be a surprise. No one has to be the good guy or the bad guy.

    Okay, and my gut response is: Garry came off as a prick, Ricky as a pathetic dweeb. Neither came out looking god, though Garry is obviously smarter and a much more talented comedian. But not necessarily a nice human.

  103. Mr. Witness Says:

    Garry Shandling is a has-been drug addict. He has no tact and he proves once and for all that money cannot buy you class.

  104. J Says:

    Gervais HAS talked about the interview. Here it is mentioned in a Q and A with Time Magazine:

    “Your [British television] interview with Garry Shandling was notoriously awkward. Were you disappointed with it? —Paul Gaughan Sheffield, England
    No, I loved it. I didn’t find it awkward, except when I pointed out that he looked a bit like Bingo from [the children’s show] The Banana Splits. He didn’t know who that was.”

    My read on it: this interview played exactly as it was intended to. Here we are, still talking about it years later. Home run.

  105. Lawrence Says:

    I’ve just watched this and it was so satisfying to see Gervais being put in a corner. Bottom line is that Gervais isn’t in the same class

  106. acsenray Says:

    I just saw this interview for the first time and I had to comment on it. It’s really a dazzling bit of brilliance on the part of both of the participants.

    Here’s the crux of both Shandling’s and Gervais’s humor — it’s not only the idea of “awkward is funny,” it’s the willingness to let themselves look as bad as possible, and what Shandling proceeded to do was demonstrate it to the nth degree. It was kind of a dare. “Oh, you think awkward is funny? Okay, let’s see how awkward I can make it.”

    It’s like a virtuoso violinist absolutely letting go during the solo break. No holds barred.

    And this is what Shandling does; it’s his whole act. Shandling doesn’t give “honest” interviews. He’s always in character. He’s always putting on the “awkward” suit and then pushing his interviewer as far as he can go. That’s his act.

    And I think Gervais understood that. I don’t think it was “planned” as such, but I’m pretty sure that he was aware that once he got into a room with Shandling, Shandling was going to give him the business. He was the subject of a private performance by Shandling, and he tried to give back as good as he got.

    When it comes right down to it, Shandling and Gervais have the same sense of humor. Their comedy styles are very similar and their sources of humor are almost exactly the same. So I’m certain that both of them were perfectly aware of what the other was doing. It was comedic sparring.

  107. james Says:

    You just said Larry David was a genius for doing the same kind of comedy five minutes later you call Gervais a hack for doing. You say Shandling has done a wider range of things than Gervais, but the three things you lsited Shandling doing that were supposed to make him so varied and prolific, were all pretty much subtle varations of the same thing. While Gervais has done new wave music, reaching the top 70 in the UK charts, he’s done all kinds of radio shows, he’s written for all kinds of movies and tv shows, he’s done standup, he’s done documentaries, he’s directed, acted, and won a a huge amount of awards, and a massive fan base for all of them. The bottom line is, Shandling was a fucking asshole, and his incredibly insulting Behavior towards Gervais was totally uncalled for. For crying out loud, nobody gives a fuck about Shandling anymore, he is nowhere, and he just barely had a career in his hayday, a show that was so damn boring it didn’t even survive syndication. Gervais was doing him a big honor by making such a no name the subject matter of his show, and showed Shandling nothing but respect and admiration, but still got spit on. Fuck Shandling, no talent fat-lipped megalomaniac

  108. I’m with you one hundred percent. Gervais is a one-trick pony. And that one trick was pretty impressive when it was called The Office. But I think it’s about time he was turned into gluesticks.

  109. rex Says:

    They make Gluesticks from dead comedians?

  110. Mark S Says:

    If you google “Garry Shandling GQ interview” you can find a link to an interview in which he actually discusses the Gervais thing. The whole interview is an incredibly interesting read which will either convince you that Garry is an utter genius or at worse, a pretentious but well-meaning eccentric.

    And if you watch other interviews conducted by Garry, he always does try to get his interviewee to speak truthfully and drop the hollywood act. His whole career basically is about exposing the inauthenticity of these sort of public personaes. Then Gervais walks into his house with a camera crew, fully “on” (fake personality) and, according to the GQ interview, Shandling believed until this point that HE was going to be conducting the interview. The whole thing turns into a power struggle to see who can take control and what kind of interview is going to happen (a fake hollywood one or shandling’s trademark vulnerable/truthful one). For another fascinating interview, search youtube for Shandling and Alec Baldwin’s interview while in the boxing match. He gets Alec to talk about some very very personal things while pushing Shandling up against the ropes. Some very awkward moments in that one too.

  111. ibrahim Says:

    I think the problem was Garry had a plastic face.. and Ricky couldn’t interview a mask. Hence, it looks stupid. I will always remember Garry as the failed senator in Iron Man. Not much comedy there.

  112. Ben Says:

    In a recent interview Shandling explains things by stating that they were both supposed to be doing interviews and that his interview of Gervais was supposed to be happening first. He says that he was caught off guard when he entered a room with cameras set up and reacted accordingly. His take on it is that the interview ended up as it did because neither would give way and stop filming/acting awkwardly.

  113. john Says:

    I stopped reading at ‘Peter Kay was funnier (and cleverer) in Phoenix Nights’. Fucking idiot.

  114. JohnnyW Says:

    This YouTube comment accurately reflects what’s going on (there’s something I thought I’d never say!):

    “I think what makes this interview awkward is Gary is being a grown up and Ricky wants to be a child. The grown up refuses to let the child play and blocks all the way through. Ricky’s humour is natural and Gary’s is analytical. Both these guys are funny, but you feel Gary is trying to teach something to someone that hasn’t really come for a lesson.”

    If you want the full story, get the Larry Sanders DVD. Shandling was going around interviewing his real life friends, trying to discuss deep and meaningful things, when Ricky turned up and acted the clown.

    Shandling wasn’t being hostile, or clever, or mean… he just was doing a completely different type of interview. He was trying to be as open and honest as he could, and draw the other person into being as open and self-analytical as he was.

    Go look at Shandling’s interviews with Jerry Seinfeld and Sharon Stone on YouTube — the latter of which was shot on the same day as this one.

    It was a clash, but Shandling wasn’t being an asshole.

  115. Noneofyourbusiness Says:

    Where is Gary Shandling now ? 10 years on from The Office, and Ricky Gervais is still the world’s number 1 comedian.

  116. There are a lot of idiotic comments here. Ricky Gervais’ style is derived almost completely from American comedy. When people are talking moronically here about ‘American’s not understanding British humour’ or vice versa, it’s quite a good display of your intelligence.

    Gervais is good, not great. He has plagiarized his peers and made sub-standard comedies compared to theirs. The problem is, people haven’t seen them so they feel a need to bum Gervais. I’m not being anti-Gervais, as I’ve just said he’s good. But he’s incredibly average. Shandling is far more superior and intelligent with his comedy. Hence Gervais going to interview Shandling and not the other way around to state the obvious.

    I agree with 99.9 percent of what the post says. I’ve written about it as well, not a cheap way to get you to look at my blog, but this subject has always irritated me with the sheer amount of people liking Gervais and not grasping the facts of where his style comes from.The 0.01 percent I attribute to mentioning Peter Kay, because he’s bollocks.

    Shandling was rude yes, but say something that isn’t so fucking obvious. He had a reason to be rude, from Gervais wanting to film his t.v interview with him before Shandling’s interview….to Gervais simply ripping off the Larry Sanders show. Shandling knows Gervais is over-rated and he makes it very clear.

  117. Rich Says:

    It’s funny that the last post berates “moronic” comments from others before proceeding to state a load of complete nonsense. Shandling’s praised Gervais’s work in glowing terms, and wanted to interview him for his DVD – why would he interview someone he thought was overrated?

    As Ben’s post said, Shandling’s now spoken about the interview with Gervais. He’d understood from their previous conversations that his DVD would be first, and yet arrived to find the cameras rolling. He found Ricky to be pushy and rude, due to his not having a “so how shall we do this?” type chat, filming his own show without offering to do Garry’s first, and bossing him around in his own home leading him out to the garden. He said he felt very taken aback by it all. He also has some weird philosophical perspectives around ego and competition and feels that people reveal themselves most truly when their ego is threatened, so he wanted to explore that through a confrontational type of discussion when he sensed Ricky’s manic energy and pushy, controlling behaviour, to see how it played out. He seems painfully aware in retrospect that it didn’t go so well. But it seems to have been a combination of him being emotionally rocked by Ricky’s arrogance on his arrival, and his consciously planned decision, for his own interview as well, to test Ricky’s reactions out. He was clearly shocked that his own chance to test Gervais in an interview wasn’t going to happen, and in this context Ricky’s comments about the “rudeness” of the coffee incident seems more than a tad hypocritical – this is the same guy who didn’t offer to do Shandling’s interview – as agreed – first. It kinda ,makes sense that Shandling would test him this way.

    • If you read what my ‘moronic’ remark was referring to, it was to ‘American’s not understanding British humour’. Which it is.

      I don’t think he particularly praises him as well. It’s weird how he manages to find things that offend him. If he did his interview first he probably wouldn’t have bought it up. But he clearly is incensed by him. And also the part where he says “I think what we’ve proven doesn’t need to be proved anymore.”

  118. Butterfield Says:

    Came on here to learn what’s funny from British housewives.

    (It’s Ricky Gervais)

  119. Starkjane Says:

    The most offensive thing about the interview is that it just wasn’t funny. I mean you look like an asshole and still be funny(e.g. Larry David). They both failed which made the whole thing fail.

  120. Dom Says:

    I loved the Office, Extras had its moments, and think Gervais can be v. funny – not to mention clever – in interviews, but his standup is just rubbish. I get a real ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ feel about him when people talk about him as a great comic

    HBO recently had a special with RG in conversation with Sienfeld, Rock and Louis C.K. and he talked about himself as if he was their peer – talk about cringe comedy – he’s not in their league at standup

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  122. betty boo Says:

    The person who wrote this said there were 12 episodes of the office. He is dumb CUNT trying to be clever.

  123. Jonathan Says:

    Gervais, still a “flash in the pan” 8 years after this article was written. Haha.

  124. Jason Says:

    Maybe I’m just thick skinned, or maybe of a certain generation (gen-X), but I quite honestly don’t see what all the fuss was about this interview. I was amused, entertained and interested the whole way through and didn’t find it uncomfortable at all. Perhaps you need a particularly dry sense of humor. Or perhaps all of the people whining that “Garry was an asshole” are just part of this latest over-sensitive generation who are addicted to feeling offended and to whom everything has to be sickly sweet to be delightful.

    Fuck that, life is more complicated (and better for it). Sure, there was a little stand-offishness from the start, but as we’ve since learned, this was merely to do with Shandling getting his wires crossed about the way the day was supposed to go. The deal was that Gervais was going to record a bit for him for the additional content on the Larry Sanders DVD release, and Shandling would in turn do the interview with Gervais. Shandling was under the impression that they were filming his segment first and was perturbed when Gervais showed up with cameras rolling for the interview. Hence the initial awkwardness.

    But whatever, it was still a great interview and Shandling was both insightful and hilarious throughout. I love that he was a bit prickly at times – he has the face for it. One of the funniest elements of the Larry Sanders show (and there were hundreds) was to see Larry’s face switch instantly from serious or worried to that big cheesy showbiz smile when he couldn’t help cracking a joke in a moment of tension. The man truly is a comic genius and The Larry Sanders show is perhaps in the top 5 greatest shows of all time. As is The Office. So enjoy the interview, you have two of TV’s most talented stars of the past 50 years clashing, talking, laughing and occasionally looking a little uncomfortable. I loved it.

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