Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais Says Comedy is for ‘Getting Us Over Taboo Subjects,’ Defending his Most Recent Netflix Special After Backlash

Photo: ABC News

Ricky Gervais conveyed his defense to poking fun at “taboo subjects” following his Netflix special’s backlash. In SuperNature, the comedian makes several of what calls ironic and satirical jokes about trans people, female comedians, and Aids. 

However, the US LGBT rights group dubbed the show “dangerous,” “anti-gay,” and “anti-trans” following its release on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, in an episode of BBC One’s The One Show on Tuesday, Gervais said that comedy is for “getting us over taboo subjects.” 

“I think that’s what comedy is for, really – to get us through stuff, and I deal in taboo subjects because I want to take the audience to a place it hasn’t been before, even for a split second,” he said. “Most offence comes from when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target.” 

He continued that the viewers undergo strings of emotions when hearing a slightly offensive joke. 

“It starts, and they go; what’s he going to say? I tell the joke. Phew, they laugh,” he continued. “It’s like a parachute jump – it’s scary, then you land, and it’s all OK.

“I think that’s what comedy is for – getting us over taboo subjects, so they’re not scary anymore. So, I deal with everything. And I think we second guess the audience too much.” 

But Glaad took offense with his most recent stunt. Officials uploaded on the group’s Twitter handle, writing: “It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV.” 

They also added that Netflix “refuses” to implement its own policy that content “designed to incite hate or violence” is prohibited on its platform. 

In his special, Gervais elaborated that for each joke, he temporarily takes any standpoint that would make it even funnier – “without prejudice” – and that the quips do not convey his actual views. 

“In real life, of course, I support trans rights,” he stated. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights.” 

“Live your best life, use your preferred pronouns, be the gender that you feel that you are,” he further said, then added a punchline about trans women. He also cited Eddie Izzard, who has outed himself as gender fluid and has requested she/her pronouns. 

Gervais stated, “it’s mad to think that joking about something means you’re anti-it.”

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