Five minutes into Ricky Gervaisâ€™ latest stand-up special he launches into a series of jokes about cancer. Itâ€™s at that point you realize that the heir to the late George Carlinâ€™s brilliantly frank comedy has been found. Over the course of just over an hour, Gervais tackles everything from obesity (which is decidedly funny coming from the portly British comic) to the top 10 alternatives to risky gay sex (compliments of an actual brochure Gervais has been holding onto for the past two decades).
Gervaisâ€™ comedy is more in line with the character he plays on HBOâ€™s Extras than his successful run on the original Office (the BBC version he co-created). There is also something refreshingly simple about the special. In contrast to the gaudy rock nâ€™ roll stage set ups and Madison Square Garden crowds that tend to make up the past few years of U.S. stand-up comedy (think of everyone from Dane Cook to Carlos Mencia),
Gervais, dressed in all black with a wireless mic, walks around a nearly naked stage, decorated only with a lone podium that serves as a holder for his can of Fosterâ€™s beer. He relies less on rock star clichÃ©s and simply tells funny jokes. What a concept.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Ricky Gervais: Out of England â€“ The Stand-Up Special / 2009 HBO / 72 minutes.