Directed by John Moffitt
Starring: Ricky Gervais
I have loved Ricky Gervais since I first saw the original British television series The Office (2001). Since then, I have watched his hysterical series Extras, listened to his podcast and watched early stand up performances. So, when Ricky Gervais: Out of England: Stand Up Special, released by HBO Home Video, I was mighty happy.
Ricky Gervais travels through a multitude of subject in this stand up. He does all of this with such a subtle, self effacing manner, you hardly realize that you just laughed at a joke about AIDS or Adolf Hitler.
When so many comedians lately, such as Carlos Mencia or Lewis Black, have to try to be so edgy or are literally screaming the jokes at you in such a high volume you don’t know whether to laugh or make an appointment at the nearest Beltone dealership, Gervais is a breath of fresh air. He isn’t trying to be edgy, he just says the kind of jokes that one may think but never say. And, he always does it in such an easy way, he just eases you into his politically incorrect humor without making you feel guilty about it.
He tells of his history of doing charity work, but he never wants the audience to pat him on the back for it. No, instead he tells of how he autographed several items for an 18 year old terminally ill person. When the same charity asked him to attend another event a couple of years later, he makes some wildly funny but challenging jokes about his feelings about seeing that same person alive at this function and his very real feelings about the event.
Gervais even pokes fun at himself, in particular his “less than svelt” midsection. He laughs at himself and even pokes a bit of fun at those that share his same shape. He is never mean spirited, rather just honest and having a laugh about how many of us look.
Gervais has a way of never really being the loudmouthed buffoon making inappropriate jokes. In that way, he is a lot like Sarah Silverman, another comedian that I really enjoy. Gervais and Silverman are both so unaffected and innately charismatic, you find yourself laughing at things that might surprise you.
While I found myself laughing throughout, not every joke or story Gervais tells is a goldmine. Some jokes about gay sex come to mind, but believe me, this is a solid stand up set that any comedian would be proud of.
Fans of Gervais, this is a no-brainer. This can easily fit on your shelf next to The Office and Extras. Fans of stand up, if you are looking for something witty, politically incorrect that is funny effortlessly with a lot of charm (Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook, are you listening?), this is a smart add to the queue.
Presented in Anamorphic widescreen, this is a decent transfer. I did not notice any artifacts or grain throughout. The giant letters that spell RICKY behind him look very nice, and were crisp and clean.
The special is presented in English 2.0 and is very nice sounding. Gervais’s voice is very clear and easily understood. There is a nice mix of the audience applause as well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Ricky Gervais: Out of England: The Stand Up Special is presented in a standard amaray case with artwork appropriate to the show presented.
The only bonus feature offered is A Conversation with Ricky Gervais in which he discusses his career and the process of developing and refining a stand up set. While entertaining, it is the lone bonus feature offered.
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10