Entertainment, Manchester

Live Review: Ricky Gervais: ‘Humanity Tour’ review – There’s no room for the super sensitive

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By George Haigh

Ricky Gervais stepped out on to the stage of Manchester’s 02 Apollo for a second consecutive night, unsurprisingly, to cheers from the packed crowd. It’s Gervais’s first stand up tour in seven years, as the Berkshire-born comedian has recently been involved in promising, but slightly pedestrian projects like Derek, and more recently his return to David Brent in mockumentary Life on the Road. Unfortunately, his latest screen efforts have failed to live up to the high standards of his early work with Stephen Merchant – The Office and Extras are still considered to be examples of Gervais’s most celebrated creations.

On stage, however, Gervais insists that he’s a changed man. “Not as much as Bruce Jenner, of course,” in an early, but expected jibe at Caitlyn Jenner’s expense, elaborating on his controversial antics at last year’s Golden Globes. His actions caused quite the stir on social media, but he’s since defended himself. Gervais has never been one for political correctness, and he’s quick to simply shrug off any claims that his comedy is transphobic. Apparently, he’s ‘Transportphobic’ in reference to Jenner’s car accident. There’s also an impressionist gag of Bruce’s first visit to a doctor which has the audience in hysterics. He’s ruthless in his execution, but it isn’t difficult to see that the jokes might appear crass for those easily offended.

The evening is full of what you’d expect from Gervais. There’s class-clown chimp impersonations, routine atheist gags, and even a disregard for those with nut allergies. Gervais, now 55, offers reasoning as for why he has chosen to not have any children. We all know that he seems to prefer animals to people, but his observations counter the populist belief that its actually selfish to not bring up an unborn child. There’s already too many spoilt Hampstead children in his neighbourhood, and understandably so, he doesn’t want to see photos of anyone’s kids.

There’s no room for the super sensitive with a man who isn’t afraid to joke about child welfare or the Holocaust is in town, and Gervais often finds the subject of offence something worth examining. There is of course, a line even Gervais won’t overstep, and anybody familiar with his politics won’t be surprised to hear his condoning of animal cruelty.

Humanity has been described as Gervais’s most introspective and personal tour yet. Despite his incoherent ramblings about his rags to riches career, it’s actually inspiring to see a figure of Gervais’s stature continuing to slam the monstrosity of bull fighting or the Yulin dog meat festival. Throughout the show, Gervais appears to be almost misanthropic towards the incompetence of those he considers below him (often social media trolls). However, Humanity maintains that for a man who even David Brent might find arrogant, Gervais has matured enough to know exactly what his audience anticipates, and still finds himself as comfortable on stage as he does on the screen.

You can find out more about Ricky Gervais’ ‘Humanity Tour’ on his website here.

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George Haigh

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