Joe Lycett Says That Ricky Gervais’ Anti-Woke Material Would Bomb at A Comedy Club

He called Gervais’ latest special a ‘waste of skill’ for how Gervais hyper-focused on ‘cancel culture’
Joe Lycett Says That Ricky Gervais’ Anti-Woke Material Would Bomb at A Comedy Club

Joe Lycett says that Ricky Gervais’ recent rants about cancel culture are “comedically weak” — try telling that to the world record that he bought himself.

By acclaim, Gervais is one of the most successful stand-up comedians of his generation. His latest Netflix special, Ricky Gervais: Armageddon, which Gervais cheekily dropped this past Christmas Day, earned the comedian this year’s Golden Globe award for Best Performance in Stand-Up Comedy. He’s one of the most handsomely rewarded comedians in history and his list of creative credits is legendary — both points he makes sure to hammer home in the first five-to-ten minutes of the special as he thumbs his nose at “wokeness” and complains about the “backlash” he supposedly received for his last hour, the 2022 special SuperNature. Like so many super-successful comedians his age, Gervais’ current creative period can be summarily described as his “anti-woke era.” It can also be described as “boring as shit.”

During his recent appearance on The News Agents podcast, publicity stunt performer and stand-up comedian Joe Lycett criticized Armageddon despite his admiration for Gervais, saying of the recent routine, “If you removed the Gervais-ness of it, and you gave it to a new stand-up, they’d struggle in a club with the material he had.” Of course, that would largely depend on whether the audience had already seen Armageddon.

When his hosts asked him about Gervais’ turn toward anti-wokeness and whether or not Lycett himself feels that the “woke” movement has hurt comedy, he said unequivocally, “No. I think it’s entirely fabricated by the people that it serves,” meaning Gervais and his ilk who complain about being silenced while getting paid millions of dollars to speak their minds. Lycett also complimented contemporary comedy clubs for accepting different styles of comedy and different kinds of comedians rather than the usual lineups of exclusively “straight white males” that dominated the scene when he first started performing.

However, Lycett said that the evolution of comedy hasn’t been fruitful for everyone — Lycett criticized Gervais’ Armageddon for being creatively empty, calling it a “waste of skill” for how much time Gervais devoted to dunking on the supposed woke mob that’s trying to bring about the end of comedy. “What I think is perhaps disappointing about Gervais and the people like him that are doing this sort of ‘I’ll just say how it is,’ and the last show he did, the real tragedy for me was that it was comedically weak,” Lycett argued.

“Gervais has done amazing, amazing, work and what a waste of that skill to attack minorities. That’s how I feel about it,” Lycett said of the special in which Gervais hit illegal immigrants and terminally ill children especially hard in between brags about his wealth. “I’m not going to say he shouldn’t do it, do whatever he wants, I don’t want to get involved in his creative process, but I would prefer to see him use that skill and that wit to attack people who possibly need to be attacked more than the trans community.”

“I would never say that Gervais shouldn’t do what he does,” Lycett reiterated, clarifying that he’s not one of the cancel culture assassins of whom Gervais apparently lives in fear. According to Lycett, “cancelation” isn’t nearly as big a threat to Gervais’ comedy career when compared to his true demon — complacency.


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