Ricky Gervais makes his entire living by offending people, and he does the job well. Every time he hosts the Golden Globes, the event functions as a perfect microcosm of Gervais-generated outrage. From the jokes that people wish they would have told to ones that he probably could have kept to himself, Gervais never fails to strike a nerve while merrily skipping away and pointing a finger at what he’s done. America’s seeing the same thing from Donald Trump, whose supporters often admit he’s shouting the things they wish they had the guts to say in public. It’s easy to imagine the billionaire privately chuckling on his private jet about this hobby called “running for president.”
Of course, Gervais is often playing a character, and Trump’s spokesperson recently said that he did so during his The Apprentice tenure. That’s where the lines start to blur. Trump often appears to be channeling an intentionally offensive preacher, and it’s difficult to unravel whether Trump plans his methods of attack or simply stumbles into his successes. Something’s clearly working for the presumptive Republican nominee. Gervais spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at length about Donald Trump and his begrudging admiration for the fellow. He enjoys Trump’s speeches, and of course he does. Trump’s essentially running stand-up comedy routines at this point. Gervais also admits owing plenty to “delusional, middle-aged men who say stupid things” because that’s the type of character he often plays.
So, Gervais is complimenting Trump in some way but also ripping him apart at the same time. Actually, Gervais can’t decide who he hates or loves, and perhaps it’s all the same to him. Comedy can be tricky like that and often folds in on itself — successfully or not — much like what we see Trump doing on social media. He’s the ultimate Twitter troll, and Gervais calls this out but says Trump is a perfect “antidote” to political correctness:
“It’s funny, comedians tell a joke and they get in trouble; Donald Trump says a terrible thing and means it, and he gets elected. I get it, though, Trump hit a vein. He hit the peak of political correctness, and he’s an antidote to all that. People are tired of being told they can’t say things, so he’s suddenly this poster boy for saying what’s on your mind, however terrible it is. And it’s going to go the other way. Trump’s going to get in, and suddenly there’s going to be 32 Jon Stewarts. It’s cyclical; people build their different armies.”
Gervais articulates a gut feeling many people know — that Republican voters are rebelling by choosing Trump after the GOP neglected its base for years — but the Jon Stewart comment sticks out. It doesn’t technically qualify as shade but does imply that Stewart is disposable. This simplifies what Stewart accomplishes by combining well-crafted insight and perspective with the heated jokes that work as soundbites to reel in an audience. Essentially, that’s what Gervais has done with this Hollywood Reporter interview too. The tagline here is “you get what you deserve”:
“Think about it: We live a world where there are warnings on bottles of bleach – we have to tell people not to drink bleach. In that world, Trump can be president. And in a sense, you get what you deserve. That’s democracy, baby! It’s just a really odd thing to have this man who’s meant to be the most powerful man in the world act like a Twitter troll.”
In his own way, Gervais drops some heavy analysis about the America that created a perfect, coddled vacuum where Trump could prevail. Yes, it is “odd” to see Trump continue to kick women, minorities, and even war veterans in the face but still rise to power. And beyond that incongruity, Trump is mostly having a good time. The American people are electing a bro who got bored and decided he’d like to be a world leader, and Gervais is correct. If America elects Trump, it deserves him.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)