Can we look forward to Ricky Gervais blacking up next?

I used to like watching Ricky Gervais enormously. ‘The Office’ was a brilliant concept and the follow up ‘Extras’ was  extraordinarily ambitious and funny too, when the humour was self-deprecating and aimed very much at his own character Andy Millman or his close circle of hapless associates or when he was pricking the pomposity of his celebrity guests. But to me it became rather uncomfortable viewing when the focus of the humour was re-directed away from the fame-hungry and towards some easier targets like the Down’s boy in the restaurant, the girl with celebral palsy, the dwarf actor and perhaps even the outrageously camp  BBC tv producer of Andy’s programme ‘When the whistle blows’, in the second series.

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Did you catch the Extras special on TV the other night? What did you think? I thought it was excellent to be honest; a bit moralistic about the shallowness of fame towards the end, but funny and brilliantly acted. I really like the way Gervais gives starring roles to the lesser characters. Everyone raves about Merchant’s performance (which is bloody funny) and Ashley Jensen’s touching performance as sidekick Maggie and the major/minor actors playing themselves down. But for me I think the best part is the Greg Lindley Jones character, Andy Millman’s nemesis, played with ‘brooding intensity’ by Shaun Pye. The guy who achieves everything Andy Millman aspires too – fame and respect, and because he knows it too he cannot stop belittling Andy. The scene where he interviews Andy for a role in a new film is just painfully funny. Have a look:

If you’ve seen anything better on the TV this holiday, let me know.

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