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“I’m like an old, classic car”: Ricky Gervais talks aging, awards shows, and why we can’t take a joke

Written by on October 6, 2021

(NOTE LANGUAGE) In a feature in the October/November issue of AARP The MagazineRicky Gervais talks about fame at 40, keeping sharp at 60, and how, he says, most people can no longer take a joke. 

The writer, actor and comic didn’t find fame until the British version of The Office debuted when he was 40 — an age considered old by Hollywood standards.  He recalled a conversation then with Jane Fallon, his partner since 1982.

“I…remember sitting around in a tux, drinking wine. I said to Jane, ‘Why didn’t I do this earlier?’ She said, ‘Because you wouldn’t have been any good.'”

Gervais’ The Office spawned international versions, including the Emmy-winning American one, and led to him hosting the Golden Globes five times, where he became notorious for his acerbic commentary.

“These aren’t rooms full of wounded soldiers,” Ricky huffs. “These are billionaires and the heads of massive media conglomerates. If you can’t punch at the richest, most privileged people, who can you have a go at?”

On that note, Ricky explains, “Every joke…somebody will get upset. I did a joke on Twitter that sums it up. ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ Answer: ‘F*** you. My chicken was run over yesterday!’ What can you do?”

Gervais, whose After Life will return to Netflix for its third and final season in 2022, explains, “At 60, I’m like an old classic car. There are a few dings and dents….But my body is just a chassis. My brain is what I care about.”

“I want to stay sharp…I’ll find Albert Einstein on YouTube explaining the theory of relativity or I’ll listen to a podcast about the deep reaches of space. It almost makes me forget that when I play tennis now, my body hurts for three weeks, not three minutes.”

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