Ricky Gervais: I’ve done a lot of commercials. One day I was in London, had lunch with my agent and he suggested I do the music for Channel 4: Happy Endings, in which they wanted me to play a gay man who had this sort of life and was doing a TV show. I was offered this role and they said, “Well, do you know any black actors?” and I said, “Well, I’ve seen some black actors, but this guy’s so hot I just couldn’t work with him.” And they said, “Well, we know there a black man called Andy. Can he give you some pointers?” So I went straight into my dressing room and started looking for Andy, and I said, “Look, here he is: Andy,” and he went off and came back with this man who looked exactly like Andy (laughs). And I said to him, “Look, if you’re thinking of doing Happy Endings, maybe you should go to school.” He said, “Thanks, mate, but I don’t need to go to school. I’ll do all the talking.” (laughs)
Well we knew the real Andy from the Happy Endings TV show, but did you watch the original series when it first came out?
I went to a very young age and I saw it when it was on with our dad, and the first show was terrible, and the second one was wonderful, and you just loved all these bits. It’s that time the TV got on my nerves. I can’t get over them. Anyway, the thing you love about the second one is that it’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a family. It’s just that sort of pure passion for that kind of stuff that I just love and it’s still the best job I’ve ever had.
I think there are so many great roles now in television and movies that I just look at them and think: This is just amazing. So you have this other dimension to the industry.
I’m sure there are. You’ll always go back and do a role that was amazing when you first did it, which was also amazing.
How do you feel about those things that were once great and then have become the big thing?
It wasn’t the big thing once, but now it is and we love it. I just love all the new material people like today, it’s just so wonderful.
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