Ricky Gervais: Patrick Catler / RetnaUK

Ricky Gervais' new job: writing for ''The Simpsons'' -- The picky ''Office'' boss calls writing and appearing in an episode of the cartoon a lifelong comedy dream

December 23, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Could Homer Simpson possibly have a worse boss than Montgomery Burns? He may find out when he meets The Office writer/star Ricky Gervais. The actor, who created the role of the much-loathed David Brent on his own show, will not only guest star on an upcoming episode of The Simpsons, but he’ll also write the episode, becoming the first Briton to pen an episode of the venerable animated series.

Gervais, who ran into Simpsons creator Matt Groening at Wednesday Night’s British Comedy Awards, told the U.K.’s The Guardian that he’d met Groening several times during trips to the U.S. to prepare NBC’s upcoming American incarnation of The Office. He said Groening had first asked him to guest star on the show, but after their meetings, Groening had asked him to write the entire episode in which he’d appear.

A recent interview in the U.K.’s The Sun quoted Gervais as saying how picky he’d been since pulling the plug on his Golden Globe-winning Britcom. According to The Sun, he claimed to have turned down tens of millions of dollars worth of roles in such projects as George Clooney’s big-screen Magnum P.I. remake, the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, 24, and Al Pacino’s new film version of The Merchant of Venice. ”The money being offered was criminal. But I am not interested in money,” he was quoted as saying. ”I’m interested in doing something I am proud of. Money gives me the creeps.”

Gervais won’t divulge the plot of his Simpsons episode. ”I’ve got the rough idea but this is the most intimidating project of my career,” he told The Guardian. ”The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all time. I can only make it slightly worse.” He added, ”When I first got into comedy my greatest ambition was to get one joke on The Simpsons. I may as well retire now.”

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