Ricky Gervais says 'cancel culture' remarks about The Office were 'clearly a joke'
After once again making waves with his remarks, Ricky Gervais would like to set the record straight.
In an interview with BBC News this week marking the 20th anniversary of the original British version of The Office, Gervais weighed in on whether the show would be "canceled" due to shifting standards in comedy. "I mean now it would be canceled," said the comedian, who co-created and starred in the British sitcom. "I'm looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, 'Good, let them cancel it. I've been paid!'"
In the wake of these comments, Gervais issued a statement on Twitter clarifying that they were meant in jest. "Just to be clear, I did not say The Office would be canceled if it were made today. That makes no sense. It's still around," he tweeted. "This is my actual quote. 'Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I said, "Good, let them cancel it. I've been paid!"' Clearly a joke."
The Office, which inspired NBC's beloved remake, starred Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, and Lucy Davis as employees of a paper company in Slough, England. The show was known for its use of cringe comedy, with Gervais' David Brent frequently making sexist and racist remarks, hence the discussion of "cancel culture." However, Brunel University's Dr. Simon Weaver told the BBC he believes criticism of the series on those grounds is unlikely.
"The victims of Brent's ill-conceived comments are never racial or gendered caricatures, rather they are ordinary, intelligent people," Weaver said. "The comedy clearly highlights the ignorance of the bigot in a way that...others failed to do."
However, Gervais also shot down the idea of reviving The Office, which ran for two seasons and two Christmas specials from 2001 to 2003. "I think to try and assemble The Office again would be shameful," he said. "Why would they be there? It wouldn't be pleasant to watch. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It works because it's done."
Every episode of the British Office is currently streaming on Hulu.