Ricky Gervais says After Life proves no topics should be off limits in comedy

Ricky Gervais thinks the success of After Life proves no topic should be off limits in comedy.

The show is about a man struggling to cope with grief so badly that he feels suicidal – but it has had millions of us laughing.

Ricky told me: “When I first came up with the idea, even I worried about it.

“I had it in my head but I thought, ‘What if it doesn’t work out how I imagine it?’

“It starts with a woman who has died of cancer and then the man is suicidal. That’s not Terry And June, is it?

“But in stand-up comedy, we talk about the worst things in the world and make them funny.

“So why can’t we do it in TV?

“I’ve always felt nothing should be off limits. There’s no subject you shouldn’t talk about or joke about. It depends on how it’s done.”

Ricky thinks the viewers are OK with jokes that have an edge.

He added: “No harm can come from discussing taboo subjects.
It’s what comedy is for… getting us over stuff.

“The public can take it. They like seeing uncompromising things on telly. They’re already thinking it – it’s already happening, so why shouldn’t we give it to them?”

The reaction to After Life – on Netflix now – has inspired Ricky to push the boundaries even further on his next stand-up tour.

He said: “I want to be more honest. That’s all I care about now as I get older.

“I don’t care about viewing figures, or more awards or money.

“I think, ‘Can I say that?’ That’s the buzz for me. It gives me an adrenaline rush.”

The first episode of After Life aired on March 8, 2019, and it has only gone from strength to strength since.

Ricky broke his own rule with After Life after deciding to do three seasons of the series following a tradition to only ever do "two seasons and a special".

Season three is the final of the fan-favourite show, with the story of Tony, a man who decided to live life without worrying about consequences following the loss of his wife, finally coming to a close.

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