became a comedic household name when he moved into the Slough offices in 2001 as David Brent on BBC’s The Office. But, Gervais’ mainstream TV debut was two years prior, with an appearance on Channel 4’s Comedy Lab.
Comedy Lab showcases one-off comedies, sitcoms or stand-ups from different writers. Some went on to become actual pilots for commissioned series, some were just one-time gigs. Gervais’ show, co-written with Stephen Merchant, was one that never developed into a full-fledged program, but his glorious pilot is now available on the web for all to enjoy.
The unearthed one-off shows Clive Meadows (Gervais), video rental chain owner and David Bowie superfan, who auditions to impersonate the music legend on a national TV show called Stars In Their Eyes. (Meadows would be really stoked to know that Gervais and Bowie would later meet on the comedian’s HBO show Extras.)
The show is reminiscent of The Office and, while we love Gervais’ ultimate hit, this test run would have certainly made a fun sitcom, too. Check it out above.