The 5-Minute Interview: Ricky Gervais, Actor and comedian

'I'm good at what I do. It's my niche'
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The Independent Online

Ricky Gervais, 45, is performing a stand-up comedy show 'Stand Up For Animals' in support of the charity World Society for the Protection of Animals on Sunday at 7.30pm at the Hammersmith Apollo.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Annoying Robin [Ricky Gervais's agent]. One of the main reasons I go on tour is to get Robin out of his comfort zone 16 hours a day.

A phrase I use far too often is...

"Do you know what I mean." Robin suggests "good boy" because whenever he does something like finish his meal I say: "Good boy."

I wish people would take more notice of...

Manners. I think rudeness is startling. If we're going global it would probably be the death of the planet. But the death of the planet preys less on your mind than somebody being rude to you.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

Winning the Golden Globes. I remember being very, very shocked and overwhelmed.

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm politically incorrect and try to be shocking. There was a thing today about "cutting edge comedian defends sick joke". It's not a sick joke. Myself and Stephen [Merchant] never do anything we can't defend. Of course people believe what they want to believe. I was talking to a journalist and she said: "So is that joke about killing prostitutes anything to do with what happened in Ipswich?", and I said: "No I've been telling that story for many years." They go: "It's awful." Of course it's awful, but it's not a joke. I think it's twisting the truth.

I'm not a politician but...

The idea of sending children to very religious schools is archaic. It was Richard Dawkins that said you wouldn't have Tory schools or Labour schools. It's madness.

I'm good at...

What I do. I think I've found my niche.

But I'm very bad at...

Being famous. It's strange to be looked at.

The ideal night out is...

A night in. Me and my girlfriend watching telly with the cat on my lap and a bottle of wine, watching Big Brother.

In moments of weakness I...

I always try to sort stuff. I have to deal with it there and then.

You know me as a comedian, but in a truer life I'd have...

Stayed with academic research or teaching.

The best age to be is...

The older you get the more opportunities you have and the more you ache when you get up. Youth is wasted on the young.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

There is no God so be nice to people.

Elisa Bray

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