The Ricky Gervais Show Review: "Night Club" (2.7)
Much of The Ricky Gervais Show’s consistency comes from the fact that it originated as a radio show. All three members of its cast are radio veterans who know how to keep things interesting on the air even when things aren’t going particularly well. In addition to that, we only see what are nominally the best portions of the radio show converted into the TV version of The Ricky Gervais Show, such that we’re usually fast-forwarded past awkward portions, sometimes into entirely different episodes of the radio show.
While that’s the case, all the editing in the world can’t hide the fact that it was at one point recorded live and unscripted. Much of its excitement comes form the show’s unexpected nature, with Karl liable to digress at any moment into some pointless story or another, and its sense of humor is derived from having everyone always on display. The flip side of this, though, is that no one is entertaining all the time (well, maybe Conan O’Brien…), so there are bound to be some moments that are a bit slow.
“Night Club” is an episode that, as is my wish, features rather lengthy show segments and minimal editing. But the first half of the episode is still a bit on the weak side, perhaps because its star Karl was a bit out of it. The episode begins with a rather typical discussion about freaks, and while it wasn’t uninteresting, there wasn’t too much here we haven’t heard about in the past. Ricky and Stephen do their best to prod Karl into telling us more about his thoughts on midgets, but he’s even more ineloquent than usual and obstinately refuses to go down that road, giving us a beginning to the episode that kind of peters out.
The show’s second segment also isn’t particularly strong, simply because it features an anecdote from Stephen rather than Karl. Stephen can show some of his middle-class English prejudices from time to time, but he’s just too self-aware to ever be as funny as Karl. It’s a different type of humor, which works better when scripted, and while his story’s pretty entertaining it’s never laugh out loud hilarious. It’s a good bar story, but not good by television standards.
Luckily, the second half of the episode goes to a particularly interesting entry in Karl’s Diary. Here, he’s no longer tired and closed off, instead he’s his usual self in explaining the difficulties of his hospital stay. Particularly entertaining here were his homophobia towards one of his nurses and a poem he wrote during his stay. I’m rather impressed with how diligent he was about his diary during his stay, though I do suspect it’s partially because he had nothing else to do.
So this later section of the episode, in which Karl’s more interested in offering his worldview, are unsurprisingly more interesting. Some odder choices for the first half of the episode, though, and while I wasn’t too disappointed I also felt like they were less necessary than usual. While not one of my favorite episodes, it still had quite a few memorable moments and a particularly awful poem from Karl, making it by no means bad. It just felt a little bit off its normal pace is all.
•"There was a felllow with one face but two bodies." – something tells me the show’s illustration has nothing to do with what that person looks like.
•How is testicles for eyes hard to describe?
•What is it with Karl and the name “Warren”?
•"You wanted to tie him up with logic… that’ll show a bouncer."
•Rather enjoy Ricky’s animation eating an ice cream cone while being insulted about his weight.
•"I would’ve looked like the alien in the ‘Boswell’ incident."
•Nice callback to Karl putting random items onto himself for medical problems.
•"My Ward," the poem, was way way way too insane for me to transcribe this week. Seriously, one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard, and the best of Karl’s poems thus far on the show.
•"I had a late night last night because I stayed up to watch a program about monkeys." – this describes Karl’s entire life.
•Interesting to note how much empathy Karl has with a slug.
•"It’s not an insect." “But it’s part of that gang.”
•"Where you are is what you eat." – I get what Karl’s saying, here, but the way it comes out is impressively weird.
•You just started miming counting backwards to a man in a shop.