Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais has never been one to shy away from controversial topics — from riling up Golden Globes attendees during his hosting stints to getting in hot water over “dead baby” jokes — but there’s one thing he won’t touch onstage these days: politics.
Visiting Late Night with Seth Meyers, the UK Office star explained why his views on incorporating current events in his act have changed — basically, because he doesn’t trust all audiences to comprehend the complexities of the “character” he plays onstage:
“I don’t get political in my stand-up at all,” he tells Meyers. “It’s social satire. My worry about getting political, particularly sort of, you know, taking one side or the other, is that I think comedy is sort of an intellectual pursuit, and I worry that if you rely on them agreeing with you, it loses something. So I try and keep it fair. But…my shtick is usually like, saying the wrong thing. You know, doing this, like, bigoted sort of bore and coming down on the wrong side. But after all this, I was worried that half the people in the world agree with that. So I was worried they wouldn’t get the irony.”