By Katie Wright, PA
A fixture on TV screens for nearly two decades (2021 marks the 20th anniversary of cult hit The Office), Ricky Gervais has been phenomenally successful as a comedian, writer, actor, director and producer.
Worshipped by fans and fellow comics alike, the Reading-born funnyman, who turns 60 on June 25th, has created and starred in a string of critically-acclaimed TV shows and movies, embarked on sell-out tours and picked up a glut of awards along the way.
To mark his milestone birthday, we look back at some of Gervais’ most side-splitting moments…
Free Love Freeway
The character that made Gervais famous, The Office’s David Brent spawned countless cringe-inducing scenes during the mockumentary’s two seasons.
In the fourth episode of season one, Wernham Hogg’s guitar-wielding regional manager gifted us with this spirited performance of the terrible (and, we hate to admit it, terribly catchy) Free Love Freeway.
That Golden Globes monologue
“Let’s go out with a bang,” Gervais said at the start of his fifth and (allegedly) final time hosting the Golden Globes, before proceeding to eviscerate the audience of A-listers at the 2020 ceremony with a blistering opening monologue that took aim at (predictably) Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, as well as (less predictably) James Corden and Judi Dench.
You can watch the controversial speech — and the audience’s hilarious reactions — on Facebook.
Playing struggling ‘background performer’ Andy Millman opposite a host of uber-famous guest stars, Gervais’ performance in Extras landed him an Emmy and a Bafta.
Running for two seasons (plus a Christmas special), one of the show’s most memorable scenes was when Sir Ian McKellen described his acting ‘method’ to a confused Millman. Watch the series on Amazon Prime.
The comedian’s latest series, After Life, follows the trials and tribulations of a man called Tony (played by Gervais, who also wrote, produced and directed) following the death of his wife.
In episode five of season one, Tony takes it upon himself to help nephew George by threatening to murder the playground bully with a monologue delivered in Gervais’ trademark darkly comic tone.
The David Brent dance
Taking the crown for most hide-behind-your-hands awkward but hilarious moment, it’s got to be the high-kicking, finger-pointing, grunting monstrosity that is David Brent’s impromptu dance ‘performance’ in The Office.
Leaving his assembled colleagues agog, it cemented Brent’s place in the TV comedy pantheon.