Q&A With Ricky Gervais

The comedian, actor, and producer opens up about his work, his fitness regime, and the perks of celebrity.

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on September 16, 2014
3 min read

1. You've starred in the Night at the Museum trilogy and Muppets Most Wanted. What made you say yes to these projects? 

I'm a sucker for family blockbusters, and these movies are a lot of fun. I think people confuse my stand-up with who I am, but I go into taboo subjects because I want the audience to go on a journey where they haven't been before, to be fearful and get through it. Humor gets us through the bad stuff -- that's what it's for.

2. The original U.K. version of The Office made you famous when you were 40. Was it a big adjustment? 

I had no fear because I had an older, wiser head on my shoulders. I didn't desperately want to be famous. There was no pressure, because just to have this as my job meant I was already winning. I went from working in an office for 10 years as a special events manager to having a go at sitcoms.

3. Does anything give you performance anxiety

Not getting my way is the only thing that worries me.If a broadcaster came along and said, "We have to change one word but we will give you a better time slot," I'll take the worse time slot. There are 7 billion people in the world, and you don't need all of them to like you to have a really good career. 

4. You never seem to hold back, even when you get criticized for offending people. Do you ever compromise? 

The people who don't like you don't like you, but the people who do like you will buy your DVDs. The people who don't like you can't affect you. I wish people knew that more. Your reputation is what strangers think you're like. Your character is what you're really like.

5. Where do you get your best ideas? 

In the bath or on a plane because there are no distractions. Also when I'm on a run. It's 40 minutes of me thinking, and I come home and say to my girlfriend  [producer Jane Fallon], "I've got a great joke," and she says, "Please don't do that in public," and I know it's good.

6. You started running and lifting weights 5 years ago and lost more than 20 pounds. What inspired you? 

It was Christmas and I'd eaten something like 10 sausages and I said to Jane, "I think I'm going to have a heart attack," so I started working out. Then I started shedding pounds, and I got addicted to both the exercise and the results.

7. Have you changed your diet? 

The only reason I want to live longer is to eat more cheese and drink more wine. If I can work out 6 days a week and then at 6 p.m. open a bottle of wine and have a nice meal, that's what it's all about.

8. What keeps you motivated? 

I treat myself like an idiotic donkey tied to a carrot. When I run, I see Champagne and cheese. I just want to be fit enough to eat too much. If this works, it will be the greatest diet book ever written.

9. Why are you passionate about rescue dogs? 

Pups from pet stores are often taken away from their mothers far too young and you get a sick dog, when right down the street is a rescue dog in jail. Save it! There's nothing better for your soul.

10. What's the best part about fame? 

My girlfriend says the best part of my fame is I can scruffle a dog and a person doesn't think I'm a maniac.

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