Ricky Gervais rails against cancel culture, social media: ‘I’ll stand up on a bench and shout sh*t’
Ricky Gervais went on a rant against cancel culture once again on the latest episode of the SmartLess podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. He addresses the way Twitter backlash results in people losing their careers over jokes and how he refuses to be silenced.
“The scary thing is being canceled if you say the wrong thing and suddenly Netflix can take you off their platform,” said Gervais, who made the point that the timing and context of jokes no longer matter.
“You could be the most woke, politically correct stand-up in the world at the moment, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like in 10 years’ time,” he said. “You can get canceled for things you said 10 years ago.”
The comedian went on: “The misunderstanding about cancel culture is some people think you should be able to say anything you want without consequences and that’s not true because we’re members of society and people are allowed to criticize you. They’re allowed to not buy your things. They’re allowed to burn your DVDs and they’re allowed to turn the telly off. What they’re not allowed to do is to bully other people into not going to see you.”
He alluded to the fact that cancel culture doesn’t only destroy comedians, “There are some people that are great doctors. They’re getting fired from a hospital because of a bad joke they made on Twitter. That’s not relevant to what they do.”
Gervais has been roundly criticized for the sketchy jokes he makes on Twitter. But he takes strong objection to the possibility of ever being canceled. “What is being canceled?” he asked. “It’s having no platform. And what can they do to me? Who’s gonna cancel me? Twitter? YouTube? If I have to, I’ll go to Hyde Park and stand up on a bench and shout sh*t.”
He’s also deeply frustrated that “no one looks at the argument anymore” when it comes to what’s considered a cancelable offense. “They look at who’s saying it and they make the decision. There is no nuance.”
How about you all go listen to @smartless who is hosted by people who actually chose to work, and not sit there and wallow in misery! @rickygervais Is on today, and he is freakin hilarious! @batemanjason @arnettwill @SeanHayes #podcasts #awesome pic.twitter.com/i4ByWgzpzO
— Opinionated Journal (@_O_Journal) December 7, 2020
Gervais continued with his diatribe: “Some of it’s down to politics. Some of it’s down to social media. It’s way too fast. 20 years ago, if you were offended by someone on television you got a pen and paper and you went, ‘Dear BBC…’ Now you fire off a tweet and that tweet goes on the f**king news.”
He went on to label cancel culture as a type of “road rage.” “It’s things happening too fast that you can’t take back. People dig in and people want to be heard. People want to feel they have an effect. It’s why people heckle a comedian. They want to feel they were there. Now people are heard.”
The comic lambasted the validity of Twitter backlash and the way it can result in a person being canceled. “An idiot stands next to a genius on Twitter and it looks the same,” he said. “It’s the same font.”
The comedian finished by saying, “Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right.”
Gervais has also said previously that “The Office” probably couldn’t be made these days, as touchy as everybody has gotten.
“I think now it would suffer because people take things literally,” he said. “There’s these outrage mobs who take things out of context. This was a show about everything. It was about difference, it was about sex, race — all the things that people fear to even be discussed or talked about now in case they say the wrong thing and they’re ‘canceled.’”