Last year, David Brent started popping up again for the first time in a while, and there were rumors of a larger possible project happening. I am always happy to see Ricky Gervais working, and he seems very happy about the way his latest series “Derek” has been received. It would be dishonest to say that I'm anything less than thrilled to hear, though, that Gervais is making a big return to playing the part that put him on the map in the first place.
This year, Gervais will be performing a number of gigs in character as David Brent, and the performances will be filmed as part of a “documentary” about Brent's pursuit of his dreams of being a pop star. “It's going to be tragic,” Gervais told MTV in the UK. “It's not going to be what he thinks it is.”
The last decade or so, we've seen a tsunami of the comedy of the uncomfortable, so much so that it's become very hard to get a cringe out of me at this point. It's easy to lose sight of just how much of a lightning bolt “The Office” was when it initially hit, and just how amazing Gervais was at walking that fine line between sympathetic and simply pathetic. His version of Brent was always in love with the idea of being an acclaimed entertainer, and it makes perfect sense that he would still be pursuing that dream now.
If Gervais had decided to never play the part again, I would understand. It's dangerous sometimes to go back to something that was so beloved because you don't always fully understand the connection that the audience has to something, and it's easy to kill those good feelings. It sounds like Gervais came back to Brent because he genuinely had something else he wanted to say with the character, and not because he had to. That's really all you can hope for in a situation like this.
Well, maybe not all you can hope for. I reached out to Gervais this morning to tell him how exciting I thought the news was, and his reply gave me a bit of hope. “I'll do some Brent gigs in the US one day, too.” That would be outstanding. No matter what, I'm just glad to know that somewhere in this world, David Brent is still plugging away, and I'm excited to see what he's been up to.
In the meantime, “Derek” will kick off its second season in the US on May 30, only on Netflix.