Ricky Gervais says ‘smart people’ can deal with irony

Smart people don't get offended by jokes, said Ricky Gervais, as he opened up about his new Netflix special, SuperNature.

During his appearance on Tuesday's (17 May) episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Gervais defended the provocative material in his shows, such as “famine, AIDS, cancer, Hitler."

“I deal with taboo subjects because I want to take the audience to a place it hasn’t been before,” The Office creator said. “There is a tension.

“I think people get offended when they mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target and smart people know you can deal with anything. Particularly when you’re dealing with something like irony.”

Gervais, famed for making light of taboo subjects, said he explained the concept of irony ahead of the show "just to warn them and they get it."

He went on to say, "smart people know you can deal with anything," and understand that humour and irony "gets us over bad stuff."

"That’s why I laugh about terrifying bad things," he explained. "That’s why comedians are obsessed with death… it’s an inoculation to the real things that are going to happen.”

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"People get offended because they mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target," he added before concluding, "that's what comedy is for: it's to make us feel good."

The comedian certainly doesn't shy away from controversy either.

In a report from the Mirror, Gervais was testing out new material in London around the same time as the infamous Will Smith slap at the Oscars. He declared he didn't have any "Will Smith material" before expressing his curiosity about why his name was trending despite not attending the ceremony.

He told the outlet: "What has it got to do with me? People were going, 'What would have happened if Ricky Gervais had been doing it (hosting Oscars)?'"

Gervais added that he wouldn't have made a joke about her hair.

Instead, "I would have made a joke about her boyfriend," he said, referring to Jada Pinkett Smith's "entanglement" with singer August Alsina.

SuperNature is out on Netflix on 24 May.

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