Review: Ricky Gervais live

The comic's Humanity Tour live at the Manchester Apollo, 14 March

Hero image

It’s been seven years since Ricky Gervais last took to the stage for a full stand-up tour of the UK and a lot has happened in those years. For starters, there’s his now-infamous Golden Globes gigs, which, while excruciatingly hilarious in their own right, couldn’t really count as straight stand-up. Then there’s his recent resurrection of cringe-king David Brent – a movie that led to a scattering of live in-character performances but still didn’t quite give Gervais the chance to take centre stage. Now, with his new show Humanity, the divisive Brit comic puts himself firmly back in the limelight, minus the famous faces and awkward tie stroking Brent-isms to bounce off. The end result? A show that’s funny and revealing in equal measure.

Much like his previous sets Animals, Politics, and Fame, Gervais arrives on stage complete with a pint and a podium, resembling the most lax uni lecturer ever, and delves straight into the topic at hand. There’s no prizes for guessing what that topic is. Gervais’s new 90-or so minute show dissects Humanity – or more specifically aspects of our ever-changing society that are contradictory or just a little odd, albeit from his now interstellar vantage point. If you follow the comedian on Twitter then you’ll no doubt know what a few of these might be. Our dependence and extreme reactions to social media outrage, the abundantly awkward silence of the guy upstairs and, surprisingly, quite a bit about Caitlyn Jenner – these are just three of the subjects put under the microscope during tonight’s show.

In fact, Twitter features very heavily throughout Gervais’s new routine, with a good number of laughs coming from recollections of Twitter exchanges between the star and the media or overly opinionated fans. Watching him dissect these exchanges undoubtedly leaves you pondering the state of humanity in the wake of that little 140 character game-changer. Gervais sums up the current climate eloquently by comparing those who voluntarily choose to follow him only to get angry at what he says. Some things just aren’t aimed at you.

Fame also plays a big part in Humanity – with Gervais’s current star status it’d be quite hard for it not to and while it could be argued he’s now too far removed from the humdrum day-to-day life of the everyman to deliver a show on humanity (“I could have this place burned down for a laugh,” he tells the crowd at Manchester Apollo with a cheeky grin), Gervais still manages to keep things relatable. He even addresses the topic head on. “Journalists often ask me how much a pint of milk is and I can never remember that one,” he says half way through the show. “So I just go: ‘Oh, I dunno but here’s a grand.’” Proof that, while fame has certainly changed his life, his sense of humour and humanity thankfully remain intact.

If you liked this article, we think you’ll enjoy these:

Interact: Responses to Review: Ricky Gervais live

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.