The Case for Mr. Gervais

Ricky Gervais is at it again. His latest Netflix special, Supernature, is being blasted by critics for perceived attacks against the LGBTQ+ community.

The attacks I think are expected. The problem with the community is that it operates on a zero-sum basis: anything and everything they don’t like is deemed an assault against the community and its members. I’m sure they will not like what I am about to say but in that regard, they are like the Islamic Fundamentalists who cannot tolerate any criticism of the group, or their prophet. However, if they listen, I mean really listen, then there is more to Mr. Gervais’ jokes than a simple, lazy joke against the community. Mr. Gervais has no problems with members of the community believing what they want but he takes issue when the rest of humanity is forced to accept their reality. He’s satirizing attitudes. He said so in the show and yet they all missed it. That, or they weren’t really interested in listening to begin with.

I mean if you want to believe that the world is flat, then go for it. It’s a free world but if you start forcing us to accept your flat Earth belief, then that is something we cannot do regardless of how your feelings may be affected by such rejection, especially since there is evidence to the contrary.

In his earlier show, Humanity, Mr. Gervais actually puts this in context: he saw a man named Bruce Jenner compete in the Olympics. I too watched him on TV competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and win gold in the Decathlon. I remember it because I was amazed that a single athlete was competing in ten track and field events! I think it was the first time that I have heard of such an event. I thought the athletes must be supermen to compete in so many events in a single Olympics; and then he decides to transition and be called Caitlyn. Well, good for him. What do we care, right? But what happens to our experience where we watched this man compete and win in the Olympics?

Mr. Gervais then takes it further: what if he starts identifying as a chimpanzee? Will it work? His point is that, at some point, his true nature comes out, or becomes an issue. In the case of Bruce/Caitlyn, Mr. Gervais identifies it as his/her cock.

There’s another comedian who made the same case in another Netflix show, and he, being African American, said what if he identifies as white? Would that he wondered help if he was stopped by the police? I don’t think he received as much grief though, not as much as Dave Chapelle and Mr. Gervais.

Mind you, Mr. Gervais moved on to “questioning” the supernatural joking about how praying for someone with cancer is nice but don’t cancel the chemotherapy. He’s an atheist; and as a Catholic, I wasn’t really offended. He said it: we can believe what we want; he doesn’t care. He just doesn’t subscribe to the same beliefs, and if you push it too far, then that’s ridiculous and he’ll take you to task. Fair game.

So, for me, some may find Mr. Gervais’ comedy offensive but if you make the effort, then you may realize it actually wasn’t and you might enjoy a laugh. And that’s all there is to it.

The old adage goes: you can’t control events but you can control how you react to it. You are capable of responding to it but I hope you think about it too.

Case closed.