Predictably, GLAAD Is Enraged at Ricky Gervais - and the Group Misses the Entire Point 

We all knew the new Ricky Gervais special would generate outrage – it only took a matter of hours.

Before taking the stage in his new Netflix standup special, “Supernature,” Ricky Gervais is given the common introduction, but with a slight twist. The voice introducing Gervais is Gervais himself, saying to the auditorium, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Please, welcome to the stage, a man who really doesn’t need to do this – Ricky Gervais.” This should serve as an indicator to this country’s reactionary groups that this is a man who truly is unbothered by the concept of offending with his comedic material.


It was an echo of his times hosting the Golden Globes Awards ceremony, where he was dishing out some scathing roast-level barbs to the celebrities in attendance. At times, Gervais would say unapproved things, pint glass in hand, and follow it up with “Don’t care…don’t care.” Gervais is a welcome tonic to our current climate of political correctness/wokeness/hypersensitivity. While his content may not be for everyone, his delivery and apathy towards the woke mob itself serves as a catharsis. You do not even have to like the man to appreciate what he does.

Netflix recently issued a letter to workers telling them that if offended by the platform’s content then maybe they need to seek employment elsewhere. This standup might have been the very thing the company was alluding to. Right on cue, the oh-so-predictable outrage about his special arrived, literally in a matter of hours. Netflix debuted his new special at midnight on Tuesday, and by morning, GLAAD had already issued its impertinent statement of disapproval.

This means, for the record, that the organization did not respond as a result of an outcry, its members camped out with a remote in hand, awaiting the premiere. They were protesting before most of the members of the woke mob had awakened from their dorms and basements.

“We watched the Ricky Gervais ‘comedy’ special on Netflix so you don’t have to. It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV. Attention Ricky and Netflix: people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV to others.”


This is a sheer example of those planning on being offended and typing out an emotional rant when their perceptions were proven out. Case in point, the segment about those living with HIV today. Attention GLAAD, Gervais actually spoke to that very thing in his routine. As for this section being “inaccurate,” he has a lengthy passage where he has a conversation between God and the AIDS virus. It was all hyperbolic fantasy for the sake of comedy. No one was taking notes as to what actually transpired decades ago with that outbreak.

Matt Sayles

This is not only typical in its over-the-top reactions (the claims of his standup routine being dangerous, and leading to violence are beyond reality) but they also ignore many of the very comments Gervais makes. Early in his act, he makes a joke about female comedians, and he follows that up instantly. 

Okay, right. That was irony, okay? There’s going to be a bit of that throughout the show. See if you can spot it. Now, that’s when I say something I don’t really mean for comic effect, and you as the audience laugh at the ‘wrong thing’, because you know what the right thing is. It’s a way of satirizing attitudes.

What is clear is that Gervais makes this glib segue not for his audience but for the pedantic backlash he was certain was to arrive. He is attempting to point out to the humorless scolds — such as the PR team from GLAAD — that there is no need to lose their minds over jokes. What is also clear is that GLAAD completely missed this point, as they did with another comment he makes deep in the show.


Gervais was addressing directly those who would undoubtedly come after him for his show, pointing out that when looking at the list of offensive things he spoke about, he noted the one thing that would be considered offensive. He made a joke about how someone might self-identify as an inanimate object, but if you criticize them, YOU are deemed a bigot.

That’s a bit hack that joke. It’s a bit old-fashioned. But I’m going to leave it in, to annoy people, right. Because THAT is the bit that’ll annoy people. I talk about AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, pedophilia – but No, the one thing you mustn’t joke about is identity politics. The one thing you should never joke about is the trans issue. They just want to be treated equally.

I agree — that’s why I include them.”

This is such a true sentiment. Think about what we have heard from the trans community initially, and what then follows. They move from stating their goals involve being seen as equals, to demanding special treatment, such as becoming a group insulated from being joked about. Everyone else is fair game but certain communities must never be the topic of a punchline.

Sarah Shatz

It is no longer about being accepted, it is to become regarded as being exceptional. As I noted in my recent podcast episode, it is not enough to have a commemorative day, or a month to be celebrated for these groups. Right now, those under the LGBTπ banner have more than one-third of the calendar dedicated to memorializing their pride. That is beyond simple acceptance, and this is displayed in the comments from GLAAD about this special.


While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy. The LGBTQ community and our allies have made it very clear that so-called comedians who spew hate in place of humor, and the media companies who give them a platform, will be held accountable.  

In other words, you need to cater to our groups and give us a voice, but you also must silence those who dare to not comport with our arcane standards, which do not apply to other groups. It is a sophomoric stance; they at once say we are exceptional, but then also demand special protections because they cannot withstand jokes told by a comedian.

Gervais even delivered another lesson to these hectoring groups, that went unheeded. Paraphrasing him a bit, he explained that it is not accurate to say a particular comedian is not funny, it is that you do not find him funny. In the same way, it is not correct to say a person is offensive, it is that you found something they said to be offensive to you. But that solitary reality leads to some declaring that particular content needs to be banned and/or censored from Everyone.

Humor is subjective, and so is that which is deemed offensive. And there is one other parallel to be seen in this example: Whether it is an unfunny show to you or an offensive show to you, you are under no obligation to watch it.


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