Ricky Gervais is facing criticism and a change.org petition seeking the removal of his upcoming Netflix special, “Armageddon,” due to a joke that has stirred controversy. The comedian, known for his sharp and often edgy humor, is unapologetic about his comedy style, even as some find it offensive.
In the soon-to-be-released special, Gervais delves into sensitive topics, including terminally ill children and their interactions with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He jokingly shares his experiences with creating video messages for such children, adding a touch of dark humor that has sparked outrage.
Gervais, in a pre-recorded segment, quips, “I’ve been doing video messages recently for terminally ill children — and only if they request it, obviously.” The comedian goes on to describe his unconventional approach, making light of the situation, but not without backlash.
The controversial joke involves Gervais questioning a child’s wish, followed by a term that has offended some. Despite offering a disclaimer immediately, the mother of a terminally ill child, Anna Villa, has taken offense and initiated a petition for the removal of the special.
In response to the criticism, Gervais defended his comedy during an interview on the BBC Radio 5 Live’s “Headliner” podcast. He dismisses the controversy, emphasizing that his jokes are fictional and not meant to be taken literally. Gervais asserts, “It’s a joke. No one thinks that with puns.”
Acknowledging the divisiveness of his humor, he adds, “Just because I deal in realism and taboo subjects, they think I mean it more than I would if I was doing a silly playground joke.” Undeterred by the backlash, Gervais remains steadfast in his commitment to his comedic style, stating, “They’re allowed to hate it. They’re allowed to not come to the show, but it’s not going to stop me doing what I love.”
As the controversy unfolds, the debate over the limits of comedy and free speech continues, with fans and critics engaging in a heated discussion about the boundaries of humor in today’s society.