In a short interview with Esquire, Ricky Gervais talks about Winston Churchill, Caligula, Gandhi, being invited back to the Globes, why he’ll never host the Oscars, and honesty.
Sir Winston Churchill understood the purpose of art:
Churchill’s advisors once came to him and said, “We’re going to stop all funding for the arts so we can put that into the war effort.” And Churchill said, “Then what are we fighting for?” Sends a chill down my spine. Incredible.
Comedy is about truth, says Gervais, and it gets better when it tackles big questions:
“I think comedy has to be an intellectual pursuit. It comes down to logic and analysis. As soon as it becomes emotional, it’s not comedy anymore. That’s why real racist jokes or sexist jokes aren’t funny — not because they’re offensive, but because they’re not true. As soon as a joke is based on an untruth, it’s not funny. If the premise isn’t true, I don’t want to hear the punchline, because it’s built on sand. I think the big questions are more interesting than the little ones. Why are we here? What’s the point? Good and evil. Love, hate.”