Saturday, January 17, 2009


My last post about "The Man In The Moon" film brought to light the way subtlety can enhance an experience. Just the word subtle in itself represents so much. I think of it as clever. A clever way to create a complex and ultimately much more satisfying experience. I don't just mean in film either, I mean in life. And especially in humor.

Ricky Gervais is, in my opinion, the funniest man in the world.

He created The Office and has written probably the most subtle type of comedy I've ever seen. Chris Rock describes Gervais as having a very high level of confidence that in turn allows him to be so subtle. Rock himself admits that he screams and yells while telling his jokes because he doesn't have the self-esteem needed to be subtle in comedy.

This type of humor can actually be traced back to the film "This Is Spinal Tap", which Ricky admits to seeing over thirty times in his life. A film so subtle that moviegoers actually thought they were watching the lives of a real rock band on screen, "This Is Spinal Tap" is still ahead of it's time 25 years after it was released.

The first time I watched both "This Is Spinal Tap" and the original UK "The Office", I didn't really get it. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. The reason I missed out on the humor was that I wasn't prepared to watch them as closely as needed to really understand that type of humor. I was a casual watcher. I liked humor to be more in my face, more easy to grasp. I gave them more chances, and on repeated viewings I began to pay closer attention to the subtle parts of each scene: the body language, the eye brows raising, the way jokes were just being thrown out at a dizzying speed. But are they jokes? Where most Hollywood comedies go for the gross-out, over-the-top toilet jokes, Ricky Gervais creates comedy by portraying something that is ultimately so realistic, so close to home, that not seeing the humor in it would be to not see the humor in your own every day life.


  1. That last photo is why I love him.

    In his "body of work" I also appreciate how he is telling the human story. That is a whole layer that I'd say most comedians don't take on. Someone like Carlin obviously was a political ranter. But that was the focus of his humor, the butt. Gervais tells a human story as he goes on, and I imagine it will be tricky for him to choose the right films so as not to sentamentalize that role he has taken on.

    He must be a very decent guy.

  2. nice post..especially i like the first 5 lines.. too good.. :)
    and u seem to b gud at doin reviews..b t music, movie or comedies.. and relatin ur analysis to life and world.. superb.. :)