Ricky Gervais Live IV: Science DVD review
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Britain's King Of Comedy may be resting a little on his laurels in this festively-timed release...
It’s often said established actors “phone in” performances, obviously going through the motions for little more than a handsome pay check. After success with two sitcoms, three sell-out stand-up tours and a recent flirt with film direction, Ricky Gervais could be forgiven for taking it easy and resting on his laurels for this, his fourth live stand-up show. To some extent that would be a fair assessment of “Science”, although those even considering the purchase are probably already signed up Gervais-geeks for whom no amount of laziness could spoil an evening’s entertainment.
Filmed in front of an appreciative audience at the Hammersmith Apollo, “Science” sees Gervais in his usual egotistical form. “I know there’s been a recession on – someone told me!” he quips, as many a gag ends with some reference to the fame, fortune and critical respect he’s already amassed.
However there’s still that need to impress, something which Gervais excels in, thankfully. A leisurely 80-minute set sees Gervais riff on several topics, the large majority of which will leave you scratching your head at that title, for despite a quick definition of the term, the subject of science itself is barely touched upon.
Instead, we’re treated to anecdotes on a sexually-charged Ken Dodd fan, the startled reaction upon “receiving” an Oxfam goat for Christmas and several gags relating to the larger members of society. Having slimmed down (a prerequisite for Hollywood success of course) it’s certainly a little harder for Gervais to pull off such jokes without appearing mean.
So a generally satisfactory two-star show is elevated by two highly humorous highlights. The first sees Gervais read a picture book of Noah’s Ark, given to him as a child, pointing out not only obvious pictorial flaws but also allowing his atheist streak free reign. The second, the show’s conclusion, features a joke which is so close-to-the-bone (no pun intended) that you’ll be telling it to all your mates for weeks.
Let’s hope for any fifth show Gervais puts in the time to fashion a proper set, with a proper title and some proper gags instead, having obviously cobbled this material together with eyes on bigger things. The film career may be doing well but think about the day job too.
Two short documentaries, “Meet Karl Pilkington II” and “When Karl Met Warwick” see close friend and loveable dimwit Karl appear in a bid to further his growing appeal. More interesting is the third feature, “Ricky in New York”, a ten minute short featuring his appearance on David Letterman, interspersed with informal Larry David snippets, which only goes to show the similarity between the two – Gervais and David that is.
“Ricky Gervais Live IV: Science” is released on November 22nd.
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