Today’s guest blogger is, unwittingly, actor/writer/producer/director Ricky Gervais, creator of the TV series “The Office”, and star of the original British version. Mr Gervais was interviewed on Inside the Actors Studio in January, and I watched it last night.
There was a segment of the interview near the beginning that I particularly liked. I hope that neither Mr Gervais nor Bravo will mind my transcribing it here.
James Lipton: You’ve spoken of lessons, valuable lessons learned from your family. Apparently they were very open and very honest.
Ricky Gervais: Absolutely, yeah.
James Lipton: What are the lessons that you learned?
Ricky Gervais: That the truth doesn’t hurt. Whatever it is, it doesn’t hurt.
James Lipton: Really?
Ricky Gervais: It’s better to know the truth. I remember, my mum only lied to me about one thing. She said there was a God. And, um... But that’s because when you’re a working-class mum, Jesus is like an unpaid babysitter.
D’you know what I mean? It’s just sort of like, she wants you to be good. You know, the best a working-class mum where I grew up could... she wasn’t hoping I’d be a doctor or a lawyer, she hoped I wouldn’t be stabbed to death in a barroom fight, you know. So, the best thing to do is, why, if he’s God-fearing, then he’ll be good. Its a good rule of thumb.
Because, you know, I went to Sunday school from about the age of four ’til eight, it was just great teachings of Jesus. I loved Jesus. He was my superhero. He really was. God was magic, right, but Jesus was just a man. And what I loved about Jesus was he was kind. And he was brave. And I thought he was amazing. And I absolutely thought he was brilliant, right, just a brilliant guy, you know.
So I was about eight, and my brother must have been nineteen. He came in once, and I was doing something from the bible, and he said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “Oh, doing Jesus.” And he went, um, “Who’s Jesus?” And I said, “Well, he was the son of God.” He went, “Why d’you believe in God?” And my mum went, “Bob... Shut up!”
And I knew she had something to hide, and he was telling the truth. And I knew, I knew from body language. And then I worked it out, and I was an atheist in an hour.
James Lipton: In an hour?
Ricky Gervais: Yeah. It’s true. I wish there was a God. I wish there was; it would be great. What I’ve heard, he’s brilliant, you know. But I just... I can’t... you can’t believe in something you don’t. Also... if there is a God... why did he make me an atheist?
That was his first mistake. Well... the talking snake was his first mistake, but....
Here’s the video of the segment on YouTube. The part above starts about 4:30 into it.