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Ricky Gervais is best known for the BBC television series The Office in which he played the part of David Brent, the manager of the Slough branch of a paper company. From here he went onto create Extras, a series depicting the life of a wannabe actor working as an extra who finally shot to fame after the BBC commissioned a sitcom he wrote called When the Whistle Blows. Gervais has won many awards for his work as a writer, comedian and actor and hit the big time when starring in many hollywood films such as Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying. Since the beginning when The Office was first aired I became a fan immediately. His comedy offered something totally different to what I had been used to seeing.
Animals was the first stand up delivered by Ricky Gervais and was to be followed by Politics, Fame and Science.
The performance begins with a short film about animals mating during which Gervais provides a voiceover. This is then followed by another short film starring gervais and a lady friend dealing with a sexual theme. Both are very funny and really works well to get the audience warmed up for the stand up which follows.
As you might have guessed, the content of this stand up routine revolves around the theme of animals. If you are familiar with Gervais' work or material, I can tell you now that he is a rather controversial comedian dealing with issues such as religion, sexuality, weight, disability and politics to name but a few.
In the first part of the Animals show, Gervais talks of Celebrity Fat Club which was quite a popular show at the time in which he pokes fun at the contestants, one being a rather large chap called Rik Waller, remember him? No? He was a finalist on Pop Idol anyway.
A huge chunk of material is dedicated to the Bible. Gervais delivers quotes to the audience which he then proceeds to discect, pulling apart various pieces and pointing out just how ridiculous some of the content actually is.
The routine is presented in the form of a lecture and throughout, Gervais throws in various interesting facts about animals and insects, including the "Daddy Long Legs" which is said to have the deadliest poison known to man, the only probelm here is that they have no teeth.
Animals is rated 18 due to some of the issues that are dealt with. Overall, this is hilariously funny and one of the best stand up routines I have had the pleasure of watching. I would also recommend checking out Politics, Fame and Science. The latter two I actually saw live and if you get the chance to go and see him definitely do so.
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In Animals Ricky Gervais is at his cheeky, arrogant and at times offensive best. For me, 'Animals' is Gervais' best work (beating Extra's into 2nd place), I am sitting watching it as I am typing this review and I literally can't stop laughing. The theme of the show is loosely based around the title subject 'animals' but Gervais touches on everything from the bible, the holocaust, Steve Hawkins, war and of course animals. In true 'cheeky-chappy' style Gervais manages to make these subjects hilarious without becoming too offensive.
The show lasts for about 75 minutes, which is a touch short for my liking but this is really a minor criticism.
Recently I think Ricky Gervais has gone off the boil a bit, having so many projects on the go at once. I saw him his fame show live and was a touch disappointed with it.
In 'Animals' though, Ricky exudes a seemingly inexhaustible energy that propels the show along at a terrific rate. The routine is terrifically inventive and seems like he is delivering it for the first time (I always think that's the hall mark of a good stand up comic). I wish I had seen this show live because it really is Ricky at its best. It's probably not one to sit and watch with your grandparents, but still I can't recommend it highly enough.
I saw 'Animals' for the first time over the weekend and while I enjoyed The Office and Extras, I didn't really associate Ricky Gervais with stand up comedy... how wrong could I be! The DVD is a little old now as it first came out in 2003 but it is just as funny as the material has not dated.
As the title suggests, the show is based around the animal world and starts with a funny spoof documentary about lions. This short film only lasts for a couple of minutes but sets the tone for the rest of the show.
The performance is very well written and addresses some very politically incorrect subjects. Ricky's ability to turn these subjects on their head makes them very funny. For example, the show looks at how the world (according to the bible) was created and involved a talking snake with perfect diction.
He then goes on to talk about some interesting animal facts and questions the motivation behind the person who discovered them. Some of the facts for example include, you can lead a cow upstairs but not back down, daddy long legs have the strongest poison known to man but cannot administer as they don't have teeth and stroking a spider can cause it to go bald.
The DVD is rated 18 as some of the subjects covered are a little close to the line. One such subject discusses the underground gay community within the animal kingdom. This involves a satirical look at a book entitled 'Biological Exuberance: Animal Sexuality and Natural Diversity' by Bruce Bagemihl. Gervais points out that all of the illustrations contained within the book are all hand drawn, so must obviously all be true! The language used within the show is also fairly strong as you would expect from a stand up, but be warned, one of the strongest swear words is repeated a couple of times throughout.
A very funny show with Gervais delivering his material in his usual cringe worthy manor. If you are fairly broad minded and okay with the language, I am sure you will enjoy this DVD. I was in fits of laughter throughout and look forward to seeing his second stand up show 'Politics' very soon.
Actors: Ricky Gervais, Stirling Gallacher
Directors: Dominic Brigstocke
Writers: Ricky Gervais
Producers: Helen Parker
Region: Region 2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
DVD Release Date: 17 Nov 2003
Run Time: 99 minutes
Remember that game you used to play at college - the one where you all decide who you would invite to your 'fantasy dinner party' then select a group of 6 people who would be fascinating, witty and wonderful to have at the table? We have a similar game in our house - it is the reverse version where you are forced to imagine a gathering of the most tedious, mismatched people possible to come up with the 'dinner party from hell'.
Without exception, Ricky Gervais is on everyone's Hell-party list.
Poor Gervais. He is only slightly less welcome to the dinner party than Freud ("Oh, for pity's sake, Freud, stop going on and on about your creepy mother at the dinner table")
But unlike Freud, who fails even to amuse at a distance, Ricky is more than welcome to appear on our screens any day of the week. We may not want him in the house, cluttering up the kitchen but the man is comic genius, and Animals is one of his best shows.
I saw the show live, and the DVD has been watched numerous times. It is still hard not to raise a smile when Ricky explains to the audience about this new theory that contradicts Darwin's version of events that he 'found in a dusty old book in the library'... 'It's called the bible.. '.. 'And it's called The Gospel - so it must be true - clue's in the name!'
The show goes on, covering everything from Sharks and Nazis - "sharks good, nazis less so.." to homosexuality in the jungle and of course the tale of Adam and Eve and how the poor snake was forced to crawl on his belly for the rest of his days - "not the worst possible punishment for a snake.." A fabulous DVD and a wonderful show. Check out the 'extras' on the DVD if you are still unconvinced of Gervais's particular unsuitability as a house guest!
An excellent performer and a genius writer. But a completely rubbish dinner party guest.
A few years ago when this first came out I hadn't even noticed it until about 6 months after it was released.
When I watched it I just fell about, his smug and arrogant attitude make Ricky Gervais who he is, his controversial subjects and comments make you laugh and shudder at the same time, being his first it was brilliant and he could only continue to improve himself and his comedy.
Many people I speak to all agree that Ricky Gervais is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
Since watching I have been to see him live for both politics and fame and am now eagerly awaiting december to go and see his new standup, he is pure comedy genius and I will argue the toss with anyone who tries to disagree, his comedy can surely just keep getting better and better. . . . .
I completely disagree with the review i just read here. Gervais is a comic genius & i have watched this DVD so many times i couldn't possibly keep count!
It makes me laugh out loud every single time i watch it. Other favourite comedians of mine are also Eddie Izzard, Peter Kay & Billy Connolly & he's definitely up there with the best of them.
He is only joking when he makes out that he doesn't have to try anymore - it's all part of his act. He's a genuine, funny, down to Earth top comedian who doesn't take himself too seriously! Surely this is evident in all of the Extras he puts on his DVDs where you see him for what he is. He has no disillusions & is an extremely successful, clever man.
I urge you to watch the DVD for yourself & all the others he's made - you may well be very pleasantly surprised!! This man is an absolute LEGEND. Top stuff.
I was waiting with bated breath for the final two-part Christmas special of The Office, and it didn't disappoint me. Having seen Ricky Gervais on various programmes like Parkinson and on the National Comedy Awards, I was pleased when my husband got the DVD of Ricky's stand-up performance "Animals" for Christmas and thought I would probably enjoy it just as much. "Animals" was filmed at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, in front of an expectant audience. I’m glad I wasn’t part of it. David Brent, the star of Gervais and Merchants "The Office", is an arrogant, irritating, and yet very funny character. But this particular stand-up show was supposed to be Ricky Gervais doing stand-up comedy, not David Brent doing not very good stand-up. It's hard to separate the two – and although it's inevitable you see features of Brent in Gervais, since they are one and the same physical incarnation, it did irritate me that the show was neither one nor the other, but a mix of the two which just didn't work. Somewhere along the line the real Ricky Gervais got swamped by his alter ego, and the comedy just flopped. Ricky Gervais himself just appeared to me to be arrogant, irritating, and not that funny. The success of "The Office" has obviously gone to his head. ("That's two BAFTA Awards"… "and so I don't really need to try now", was the impression I got.) There's nothing more disappointing than a comedian who you just feel can't really be bothered to try, because he thinks he's funny enough just by existing. I watched Daniel Kitson do much the same last year. Having just won the Perrier Award for some brilliant stand-up a few months earlier, he came on stage with no material and a huge ego. He was rubbish. Animals is in the form of a "lecture" on wildlife – a pretty large subject which Gervais still manages to deviate fro
m. The DVD begins with Gervais doing a voiceover in a French accent on a group of lions and a flirtatious lioness about to strut her stuff. This is not David Attenborough, and that's his intention. Well, it would certainly amuse a group of 10-year-old boys, that's for sure. I'm being harsh, because I was so genuinely disappointed and had such great expectations. I got the feeling Gervais's audience agreed with me: there were sniggers, there were shots of people giggling politely, but this just made me think of Peter Kay's audience, which featured middle-aged men with tears rolling down their cheeks from laughing so much, and women clutching each other and shaking with laughter. That's the sort of laughter I was hoping for. I could forgive Gervais if his show was, instead of being rip-roaringly funny, clever – but it isn't that either. It's a series of ramblings, and whole show has no particular coherence. It feels jumbled. It feels messy. "Animals" is a big enough subject to allow plenty of digressions - sex, mainly, and mutterings on war poetry. Gervais is a master of silly facts, which he takes some sort of gleeful delight in. His cheeky and irreverent nature are what you come to expect from him and it's fun to watch, but nothing startling. There's no great energy or enthusiasm (like Billy Connolly), there's no intelligent flow of material or great physical comedy (Eddie Izzard) and there's certainly no everyman appeal (Peter Kay). In fact, I can think of several people who all have good senses of humour who would be left cold by Gervais. Ian Hislop was, for one! Gervais has a "don’t care" attitude which is sort of "shocking" comedy in the same way that David Brent says very unpolitically correct things which make you cringe. I don't think I'm unable to appreciate that sort of humour – I guffaw at David Brent all the time - but the en
dless tasteless jokes about Stephen Hawking did eventually just leave me cold. I just think it's funny for a while… and then it's just old, stale, and not funny any more. I know there will be lots of people who won't agree with me, and that's fine. My husband for one thought the DVD much better than I did, and argues that the unspoken Brent angle is fully intentional, and therefore funny. I don't think it is. He was still disappointed though! I did laugh when Gervais got out his Bible on the lectern, and began to read very slowly from Genesis, and it looked to the audience as though he was simply going to continue until the end of the book. In actual fact he pulls the Book of Genesis apart in what is probably the best part of the show – and his material works here I think because it suits his comedy style. Similarly, he is very funny when ripping to pieces a book about animal homosexuality, which has as "proof" illustrative line drawings. Gervais's main comedic strength is his ability to point out how idiotic some things are and to notice and comment on the stupid things human beings say to each other. These are certainly the parts of the DVD I remember with any sense of satisfaction. In general, as observational comedy goes, it's so-so, and no more. The whole thing feels as though it has been pieced together without any real care, without any real structure. There is some additional footage on the DVD in the style of a documentary about how the show was made, involving chatting backstage, and the idea for the initial voiceover with the lions. I'm afraid that by the time we'd watched the main feature which lasts for an hour and a quarter, I could feel myself drifting off – not with tiredness or even with boredom – just with pure apathy. I was almost upset that I watched this in the first place, because it actually changed my opinion on Ricky Gervais whom previo
usly I would have championed to the hilt as a fine comic. Now I'll restrict my praise for him to his acting skills, and hope that they really are acting skills! Amazon price: £12.79 Cert: 18