Ten years later after winning numerous awards, including three Golden Globes, four Emmys and seven BAFTAs, Gervais toured the country with his stand-up show, Science – supported by Bennett.
Before one of their shows, Bennett threw a few questions at Ricky.
“BENNETT: I’ve interviewed quite a few people but I have never interviewed someone who has done so much. You’ve written and starred in multi-award winning sitcoms, you’ve hosted the Golden Globes, you’ve sung to Elmo, you’ve acted opposite Jennifer Garner, you’ve written and starred in The Simpsons. Did you really do all this just to make every other man in the world jealous?”
“RICKY laughs – his instantly recognisable contagious laugh.”
“BENNETT: Which of these things do you think really stands out?”
“RICKY: Probably winning the Golden Globes in 2004. That was when things visibly changed. I knew there was something weird about that: something strange and surreal. The Office had been a hit here – it came out in 2001 and it did okay. Then the figures went up for the second series. There was an anticipated Christmas Special to end the series. Then in January 2004, we went out [to the Golden Globe Awards] and we really thought we were just making up the numbers. We’d been to all the awards in England and, we’d won them all. To the point where Steve [Merchant] stopped going up to accept them because he was embarrassed and he thought people would hate us.”
“BENNETT: Really, is that true?”
“BENNETT: Is that because of the mentality in this country where we seem to prefer the underdog to the winner?”
“RICKY: Yes. But by then, of course, I liked annoying people. That’s how the arrogant thing started at the award shows. When I first won the Comedy Award, I was really proud. It was my first attempt at something worthy of an award to be honest. But I went up and decided to play it like, “Yeah, good one, good decision”. I could have gone up there and gone, “This makes me feel so humble, I don’t deserve this”. But that’s like going, “I do deserve it!” Some people didn’t quite get it. They thought, “Oh he really is arrogant” so I carried on doing it for the people it annoyed. So we won the Golden Globe, and that same week I made my debut acting appearance in Alias - which I’ve never watched as I can’t watch myself being serious – and then I was asked if I wanted to be in an episode of The Simpsons. That was a hell of a week!”
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017