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Ricky Gervais at Manchester Apollo

Ricky Gervais played a sold out show at the Apollo on Monday night, as part of his new tour, Fame.

Published on February 13th 2007.

Ricky Gervais at Manchester Apollo

Ricky Gervais battled through heavy man flu on Monday night to entertain a packed house at the Apollo, in his first of four Manchester dates. Alternating between swigs of Benylin and Carling, Gervais proceeded to offend pretty much every vulnerable sector of society, in that faux arrogant way that only he can get away with.

Following on from his previous two tours entitled Politics and Animals, the theme for this tour is Fame – a topic which Gervais, with his oft pointed out Grammy award and incredible success on both sides of the pond, is very familiar.

Support came from Gervais’ friend and bully victim Robin Ince, who warmed up the crowd nicely with his self deprecating humour that poked fun at his southern softy status and middle class roots.

After a pre recorded grand introduction by Matthew Kelly, Gervais himself strutted onto the stage in a crown and royal cloak, in front of twelve foot high letters spelling out his name in lights. He did however shed the costume in the first instance to reveal the same old simple jeans and tshirts combo from his previous two tours.

And then onto the act. No gimmicks, no props, just the pure stand up that we’ve come to expect from Gervais. Well, nearly pure, if you don’t count the thin persona of absolute arrogance and naivety that enables him to make refreshingly politically incorrect jokes about cancer sufferers and AIDS victims and still get massive laughs. Yes, really. Other social groups to be nearly offended included obese people, ME sufferers, and black people. Ricky Gervais cuts close to the bone, but his expert precision is always spot on, meaning that no one gets hurt.

The only point that didn’t work for me was where the arrogance and the fame mixed together to produce a gag about how the papers reported that his house was only worth £2.5 million, when in fact it cost £3.5m. Hardly easy for most of us to identify with, it felt like a short, sharp affirmation that he’s not, in fact, the best mate that you almost believe him to be.

On the whole, even with a serious dose of flu, Ricky Gervais’s new show lives up to his previous two in every way. It’s laugh out loud funny, and even though some of the gags are so simple that they could tell themselves, it’s his mannerisms, and his way of telling that makes him the success he is.

More relaxed in every way than his previous tour, his rapport with the audience has become so much freer as we forget to wrestle with our consciences regarding whether or not to laugh along, and just accept that at the end of the day, he doesn’t actually mean it. Is he having a laugh? Yes, actually, he is. And so are we.

Jayne Robinson

Ricky Gervais: Fame
Manchester Apollo
Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th February
Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th March

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