Ricky Gervais aces humor in ‘Supernature’

By Juan Calvillo

Ricky Gervais’s new Netflix special “Supernature” is sarcastic, insulting and a bit juvenile in its undertaking but this is exactly why it works so well at being funny. GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has tweeted out and condemned Gervais’ special, saying his comedy is masquerading as hate speech. 

Unfortunately, the organization has fallen right into the trap that Gervais set for those who are simply waiting to pounce on comedy.

Muhammad Ali is boxing’s king of the “rope-a-dope” and Gervais is the king of using it in his comedy bits. The tactic which lulls an opponent, the opponent in the case of a comedy special is the audience, into a false sense of security is used to push Gervais’ point with great effect. His point is that his special is full of one thing: satire.

From the onset of the comedy special, his bits focus on topics that, due to the current environment, can pose a challenge to some comedians. He specifically gives a critique on what is labeled as “woke comedy.” This type of comedy is focused on a type of culture the name of which has been weaponized by hate groups, woke culture. Gervais came out in the middle of his special and said he supports all the different ways people choose to identify themselves.. His statement is heartfelt and honest. 

Some will say that he was not being true because immediately after his statement  he makes a joke at the expense of how people identify, but that’s the point of this comedy special. He has made a point to express his satire as in-your-face as possible. He has done so in the hopes people will get that his jokes are made to make an audience laugh and forget the horrible world they currently live in.

This special is funny and, in theory, should be watched to have a laugh and disconnect from the world. It’s interesting that people need to be reminded that it’s okay to simply take things at face value instead of trying to decipher a secret meaning. Gervais, as part of a set-up for a joke, said some people are just chomping at the bit to take offense at a joke. 

While this may be a simplistic way of looking at things, it is rooted in truth. More importantly than that, is that no comedy bit or comedian can ever be liked by all people all the time. A comedian can tell some  jokes, but there will always be someone who takes issue with one of them.

Beyond all the rhetoric both conservatives and liberal-minded people have, this special is really, truly funny. Gervais touches on identity issues, race issues, LGBTQ issues, activist issues, sex issues, pet issues and religious issues. He couldn’t have picked things that are more divisive if he tried, and yet his jokes are spot on. He makes satirical observations with a constant smirk that gives the audience the tongue-in-cheek nod that everything he is saying is for laughs. He is not trying to hurt any group or person in his bits.

Gervais’ skill at making people laugh at uncomfortable subjects should be lauded, not condemned by groups. No one likes being made fun of, but it does not take much to make a joke funny when there is a level of the ridiculous in things like ideas, groups, mentalities and people. Gervais picks and prods the hilarity of a wide range of subjects in an effort to give audiences a moment of brainless fun. “Supernature” is available now to stream on Netflix.

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