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Empiricism
November 30, 2008 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Ricky Gervais explores the complex meaning within the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.
posted by plexi (39 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That Gervais is a funny man.
posted by ageispolis at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2008


I've quite enjoyed what I've seen of Ricky Gervais' standup but it's really just an Eddie Izzard pastiche with swearing.
posted by Kattullus at 11:53 AM on November 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


The whole of that new HBO special is worth watching... Once there was an egg that could climb walls...
posted by acro at 11:59 AM on November 30, 2008


yeah, i just watched this the other night....i heart ricky gervais.

...altho i could have done without the spiel on obesity as a disease...
posted by CitizenD at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2008


The Englishman in black.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:38 PM on November 30, 2008


I think he's hilarious, but if you've listened to his radio show, or his podcasts, you've heard this bit many many times over.
posted by Science! at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2008


He really does go on a bit, doesn't he? I mean, that part about the horses. Could easily have been whole minutes shorter.

Still, I suppose the audience were still laughing (or crying and hiccuping hysterically)

Hmm. Hiccuping.

Hiccuping.

Hiccuping.

Hiccuping.

What a strange word.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 1:05 PM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


...but it's really just an Eddie Izzard pastiche with swearing.

That's my exact reaction. Watching his recent HBO show "Out of England," I couldn't help comparing his comedic delivery to that of Izzard.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on November 30, 2008


He really does go on a bit, doesn't he? I mean, that part about the horses. Could easily have been whole minutes shorter.

Nope, funny!

That goes for all the naysayers.
Nope, funny.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:37 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


naysayers, horses
posted by found missing at 1:39 PM on November 30, 2008 [10 favorites]


It's about the irreversibility of death.

The end.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:56 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's about the irreversibility of death.

... Or the reversibility. Kermit the Frog's breaking news broadcast about the Dumpty accident, courtesy of Sesame Street TV.
posted by terranova at 2:01 PM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Kermit was funnier.
posted by JeffK at 2:18 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I couldn't help comparing his comedic delivery to that of Izzard.

Aren't all British comedians like this? At least the ones that get popular in the States?
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:19 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's about a rickety siege engine in the Civil War... I'd prefer a routine about that: Hey have you noticed that Roundheads are all like THIS, while Cavaliers are all like THIS?!?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:23 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey have you noticed that Roundheads are all like THIS, while Cavaliers are all like THIS?!?

Considering what 'Roundhead' is slang for in Britain, that would be pretty funny.
posted by winna at 2:34 PM on November 30, 2008


As far as "what it's about," well, there are a lot of theories, one of which is the above-mentioned cannon. (Speaking of Roundheads, what's Pilkington up to these days?) However, as for what it means, i.e. the lesson to be gleaned, particularly among the very young, it's that death is forever.

On the topic of Gervais vs. Izzard: I think a lot of the Izzardliness has more to do with the un-Gervaisliness of Gervais-as-standup; it's just not what he's best known for. If the stage act relied more heavily on the awkward faux-pas he made famous, it would be more recognizably his. As it is: Izzard.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:38 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


i'm at work and it's terribly fascinating the acoustic properties here. the sound of that man's voice seems to come out of the wall behind me. really, truly fascinating.

on the other hand i expect i'll be receiving a new set of walkie-talkies for christmas. i'm pretty sure that there will be a major crackdown on blackberries now that we know what those terrorists in mumbai were able to do with them. or maybe i'll ask for a gift card from cingular for my wireless account.

speaking of which, i just got back from korea and they have the food there. this stuff call nakji that's a living organimal on your plate and you eat it. we had some in a tent served by this lady everyone called ajima and it's means 'old lady.' she gave us a lot of plum wine and after we were done eating she told us we were cute and fashionable and made us an omelet. for free.

can you imagine that? i got free eggs in a tent and all i had to do was be myself.
be yourself everybody!
it's totally liberating!!!
posted by artof.mulata at 3:07 PM on November 30, 2008


I believe the main difference between Izzard and Gervais is that Izzard is shit.

Could we have had a slightly fleshier post on Gervais rather than a SLYT? For instance one that would have included his interview with the Sunday Times, the metacritic page of his show on HBO, things like that!
posted by surrendering monkey at 3:17 PM on November 30, 2008


Hiccuping.

What a strange word.


Surely you mean hiccoughing, naturally. Which is even stranger, as it's pronounced as you spelt it.
posted by opsin at 4:04 PM on November 30, 2008


I really enjoy Gervais' work but really. . . a SLYT?? This could have been an interesting post on Gervais, his shows, his podcasts (pilkington alone would have made for an interesting fpp--I'm still not entirely sure that he is an actual person rather than a hilariously obtuse persona). Come one, you can do better than this.
posted by anansi at 4:09 PM on November 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


We're sorry, this video is no longer available. A sentence so unlikely to make me laugh that it could well have been transcribed from a Gervais stand up routine.
posted by jack_mo at 4:13 PM on November 30, 2008


I've never quite understood the cult of Gervais. The Office was pretty good and quite consistent. Extras was mixed at best.

I've never understood the love for his stand-up at all though, least of all this particular joke (I haven't clicked, but I can guess it's the same one that came from his first DVD). I find it's just unoriginal and unfunny - not least because it's so obvious where the punchline is. "Nursery rhymes don't reflect reality" hohoho! Gay people ejaculating hahaha! If I wanted that level of sophistication and originality I'd go to the pub. Yet people make him out to be the funniest man on the planet... Crazy.
posted by HaloMan at 4:35 PM on November 30, 2008


Some people think he is very funny, while others think he is very unfunny. Oh, internet, is there no favorite thing that does not suck?
posted by found missing at 4:44 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was told that Humpty Dumpty was about King Charles I of England and Oliver Cromwell, which makes perfect sense to me.

This made me chuckle, though.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2008


I just watched the full version of "Fame" from which this clip is cut.

If you've listened to his radio show or podcast, seen "The Office" or "Extras", or watched his standup routines "Animals", "Politics" you've heard most of this. Seriously, if you've seen or heard two or three of his various appearances you've been exposed to 3/4 of everything in this show.
posted by Science! at 7:13 PM on November 30, 2008


Sorry, this isn't from Fame, but it's still retreds of older material.
posted by Science! at 7:15 PM on November 30, 2008


Wonder how much Foster's paid Gervais to have that stupid can with him during the HBO special.
posted by xmutex at 8:01 PM on November 30, 2008


Ricky Gervais looks a lot like Eddie Izzard.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:08 PM on November 30, 2008


Where in the nursery rhyme does it say Humpty Dumpty is an egg?
posted by sgrass at 8:23 PM on November 30, 2008


Originally it was a riddle and the answer to the riddle was "an egg."
posted by Kattullus at 8:54 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, comedians still use that fake confusion thing as a cover for not having any jokes? Huh.
posted by DU at 5:38 AM on December 1, 2008


As a huge fan of The Office, Extras, and the podcasts, I have to say that I was underwhelmed by his stand-up. Ditto Ghost Town.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 5:47 AM on December 1, 2008


I am a little ashamed to admit that I liked, in a purely misanthropic manner, one of Gervais' routines about performing a charity gig for Make-A-Wish kids with cancer, and then doing it again next year only to find that one of the kids is still around, so he makes a big stink out of it, calling the kid a cheater and whatnot. I liked it for its disarming attitude -- here he is, talking about one of those things a celebrity does to get karma points both in real life and in the press, and then he just shatters the do-gooder philosophy by acting, well, human. (He performs a bit of this in one of his clips for Grand Theft Auto 4.)

Then I watched Extras and saw it play out as one of the B Stories in an episode. I have no beef with comedians who incorporate their routines into a situation comedy (Bill Cosby and chocolate cake for breakfast comes to mind) but actually watching a dramatization of the whole thing felt more hollow than watching it as a first-person narrative. I wouldn't have found it so funny, even in a cynical misanthropic way, if I'd watched Extras first.

The thing is that Gervais is one of those guys who gets great comedy mileage from his persona getting forced into a deeply humiliating situation. Problem is, I really get all oogy watching that as a form of comedy, which is why I think Curb Your Enthusiasm is a brilliant show but not one that I can watch very comfortably. I know Larry is an asshole, I know he usually deserves most of the crap that comes his way, but there's always this one snowballing bit which is always just undeserving. Gervais' character in Extras suffers similar fates, week in, week out.

That said, I thought When The Whistle Blows (Gervais' crap sitcom-within-a-show during the second series of Extras) was a painfully hilarious spot-on portrayal of lowest common denominator television comedy, and the satire there went even deeper than just the goofy wig, glasses, and insipid "Are you 'avin a laff? Is he 'avin a laff?" catchphrase.
posted by Spatch at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I believe the main difference between Izzard and Gervais is that Izzard is shit.

*stakes surrendering monkey down with a flag*

I watched the whole Gervais HBO special a couple of weeks ago, and it is quite good, but as artof.mulata noticed, there is something wonky with the sound (to much reverb I think) and it took me a good ten minutes to get past me noticing it every few seconds and actually hearing what he was saying.

The bit he does with an informational postcard relating to the prevention of the spread of AIDS is painful and kind of brilliant.
posted by quin at 1:25 PM on December 1, 2008


Considering what 'Roundhead' is slang for in Britain, that would be pretty funny.

What is 'Roundhead' slang for in Britain? I'm British and have never heard 'Roundhead' being used in any other context than to describe Cromwell's Puritan followers...
posted by metaxa at 1:51 PM on December 1, 2008


metaxa: What is 'Roundhead' slang for in Britain?

*cough cough*
posted by Kattullus at 6:10 PM on December 1, 2008


What's all this "Izzard plus swearing" talk? In what bizarro world does Eddie Izzard not end every sentence with "faaaaaaaackin 'ell"?
posted by Peevish at 1:06 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is 'Roundhead' slang for in Britain?
*cough cough*


I see. We always called circumsized dicks 'mushrooms' - I wouldn't have said that the use of 'roundhead' is particularly widespread, and the counter on the Urban Dictionary page seems to confirm my suspicions. Thanks anyhow!
posted by metaxa at 4:54 AM on December 3, 2008


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