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James Acaster

Comedian Stewart Lee has divided Twitter after telling Rob Brydon that Ricky Gervais’s Netflix hit After Life is “abysmal” and “one of the worst things ever made by a human”.

Lee delivered the brutal criticism during an episode of Brydon’s Brydon & podcast, in a comment which actually began with praise for Gervais’s other successful comedy drama, The Office.

He said: “I think The Office is brilliant. I think Ricky’s comedy drama work is diminishing returns to the point where it’s now abysmal.

“I think it must be very sad if you’re teaching drama and creative writing. How can you make a case for things that make drama and creative writing good, when After Life is a success?

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“Because your kids could just go, ‘but none of those things happens in this’, and yet millions of people watch it’.

Stewart Lee hit out at the Netflix seriesBrydon &/Netflix

“I think it’s one of the worst things which has ever been made by a human.”

In response, Brydon said he had read that Lee was a “big influence” to Gervais, to which the comedian – who is set to tour his new show Basic Lee later this month – replied: “Well, I don’t suppose Robert Oppenheimer felt great about having created the atomic bomb.”

Ouch.

And naturally, the harsh ridicule of such a popular drama has received a mixed response online:

Meanwhile, if you were wondering what Gervais himself had to make of Lee’s comments, it seems as though the Derek actor wasn’t all that fussed – instead using it as an opportunity to encourage others to “watch the award-winning, record-breaking” After Life.

The comedy, which sees Gervais play a man coming to terms with the loss of his wife, released its third and final series at the start of this year.

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