HBO presented Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2 last night, a stand-up special from comedian Ricky Gervais, and sort of a followup to his successful 2008 special by a similar title. Basically, Ricky stood on a stage in Chicago and told jokes for a little over an hour. I laughed frequently, but having just viewed his first special a few days prior, I couldn’t help but feeling that this one wasn’t quite as good.
Perhaps some of that feeling can be explained by the fact that I’d heard a portion of his material before. He did some of the same bits, almost word for word, from his animated HBO show (which took the dialogue from his podcast), The Ricky Gervais Show. There was no longer anything fresh about his rant concerning gifting an African family a goat for Christmas in his name. I admit, I think I remember laughing quite a bit the first time I heard it. Last night was about the fourth time, so not as much. I know that comedians reuse bits plenty, but for a special on the same network where your other show so recently aired? Luckily, it wasn’t that big a percentage of the special.
Ricky’s strongest parts were when he went completely politically incorrect. For instance, in the encore, he told an extremely dirty joke involving a father, his six year old daughter, and masturbation. Yes, incredibly wrong, and very offensive. But I laughed, and I suspect a great many others watching at home did, too. Certainly the audience there did. Plus, he went on about gays and fat people for quite a long time.
My biggest disappointment, though, was when he read a children’s book about Noah’s Ark out loud and commented on it. Sure, some of what he said was funny, but it dragged on a bit too long. By contrast, in his first special he riffed on Jack & Jill and Humpty Dumpty, and the longer he went on, the funnier he got.
Ricky Gervais is still one of today’s best comedians. I look forward to his Out of England 3 special, as I don’t see any reason not to do one, but I hope, as a fan, he doesn’t pepper it with material from the second season of The Ricky Gervais Show.