Photo: ABC News
Ricky Gervais has been criticized for his jokes about “taboo subjects” with the new Netflix special. Now, he has defended these comments. In SuperNature, the comedian makes several of what he calls ironic and satirical jokes about trans people, female comedians, and Aids.
The LGBT rights group Glaad has branded the show “dangerous,” “anti-gay,” and “anti-trans” following its release on Tuesday.
On the other hand, in an episode of BBC One’s The One Show on Tuesday, Gervais said that comedy is for “getting us over taboo subjects.”
“I think that’s what comedy is for, really – to get us through stuff, and I deal in taboo subjects because I want to take the audience to a place it hasn’t been before, even for a split second,” he said. “Most offense comes from when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target.”
He said that people experience a range of emotional responses when hearing slightly offensive jokes.
“It starts, and they go; what’s he going to say? I tell the joke. Phew, they laugh,” he continued. “It’s like a parachute jump – it’s scary, then you land, and it’s all OK.
“I think that’s what comedy is for – getting us over taboo subjects, so they’re not scary anymore. So, I deal with everything. And I think we second guess the audience too much.”
But Glaad took offense with his most recent stunt. Officials uploaded on the group’s Twitter handle, writing: “It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV.”
They also added that Netflix “refuses” to implement its own policy that content “designed to incite hate or violence” is prohibited on its platform.
Gervais said that he takes any standpoint that would make it even funnier and doesn’t convey his actual views with these jokes.
“In real life, of course, I support trans rights,” he stated. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights.”
“Live your best life, use your preferred pronouns, be the gender that you feel that you are,” he further said, then added a punchline about trans women. He also cited Eddie Izzard, who has outed himself as gender fluid and has requested she/her pronouns.
Gervais stated, “it’s mad to think that joking about something means you’re anti-it.”