Ricky Gervais is dangerous

The Ricky Gervais podcast should come with a health warning. Really. It’s become a habit for me to listen to the latest show while driving back to the flat at night, but I don’t think I can do it any more.

You see, the show is presented by Ricky and writing partner Steve Merchant, and much of it involves listening to the unique thoughts of their friend Karl. These thoughts are then justifiably ripped to shreds by the others. When I first heard the show I thought it was a little cruel, but then decided that Karl must know exactly what he’s doing. Whether he actually believes what he’s saying I don’t know, although it doesn’t sound like he’s faking it. He’s been on Ricky’s stage show and used to produce their X-FM radio show, so I don’t think there’s any reason to feel bad.

The merciless attacks are very entertaining, especially when they involve topics dear to my heart like religion, evolution, pseudoscience and the paranormal. Ricky and Steve are atheists and very much men of science, and much like me they love to rip into the previous topics, but unlike me they can do it in very amusing ways. In one of the first couple of shows Ricky explained to Karl why a story involving “a cup that causes all who touch it to die” probably isn’t true and would in fact require a re-writing of the laws of the universe to be true, and very entertaining it was.

Tonight, though, was show #4 of 12. Somebody wrote in and asked Karl which superpower he would have, given the choice. After some discussion, Karl decided that he wouldn’t want a superpower, because superheroes were never happy. He used examples of The Hulk, Spiderman and Superman. Superman, he explained, always wanted to tell Lewis about his secret identity, but never could. At this point Ricky and Steve broke in, questioned the identity of ‘Lewis’, then decided he was clearly Superman’s secret pen-pal, and they acted out a little scene.

I nearly died.

If something unexpected had happened on the road as I was in hysterics, I doubt I’d have been able to respond very quickly. Don’t ask me why I found it so funny: I just did. I implore you to listen to the show, just not while driving.