Ricky Gervais Live IV – Science
“Set on a stage designed to look like Frankenstein’s castle laboratory, the show brings together thought provoking rants and tongue in cheek political incorrectness about subjects as diverse as religion, racism and obesity.”
Science is the fourth stand-up DVD from uber-successful comedian Ricky Gervais and was recorded back at the London Hammersmith Apollo as part of his recent sell-out tour. If you’re familiar with any of Gervais’ past work – including previous stand-up tours Animals, Politics and Fame, along with award-winning television shows The Office and Extras and his record-breaking podcasts with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington – then you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this latest release.
Much like Politics and Fame, Science doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by Animals and the routine seems a little cobbled together in parts, which is probably down to the fact that the Emmy Award-winner has one eye on Hollywood nowadays and in all honesty, a stand-up tour is probably fairly low on his list of priorities. Nevertheless there are some genuinely hilarious moments such as his critique of the Sunday School children’s book Noah and the Ark, along with a rather unflattering commentary on Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle.
As usual Gervais revels in pushing (or should that be completely ignoring) the boundaries of ‘political correctness’. The links to science are tenuous at best, with Gervais spending the majority of the 80-minute set riffing on fat people, drug addicts, ‘mongs’, charity, religion and terrorism. Gervais’ material is always close-to-the-bone and things are no different here. At times it’s cringe-worthy (particularly a rather edgy incestuous gag that closes the show) but let’s face it, you know what you’re getting with Gervais and fans who purchase this DVD are sure to find just the kind of shtick they’re after.
The DVD also comes with three extra features, two of which feature Gervais’ side-kick Karl Pilkington. The first of these – Meet Karl Pilkington II – is somewhat disappointing and seems to exist purely to entertain Gervais himself, while the second – When Karl Met Warwick – is rather amusing and sees Star Wars and Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis joining the duo for a discussion on ‘little people’. Finally we have the ten-minute featurette Ricky in New York, which mixes clips of his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman with behind the scenes footage from his guest spot on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Even on an off day Gervais is still one of the country’s funniest comics and although it’s far from his best work, there are more than enough laughs in Science to make it stand out amid the annual flood of comedy releases looking to fill those Christmas stockings. However, it would be nice to see some progression in his material instead of playing it safe with the same old routine.
Ricky Gervais Live IV – Science is released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 22nd.