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Ricky Gervais under fire (again) for transphobic jokes

Ricky Gervais under fire (again) for transphobic jokes

Ricky Gervais

Popular British comedian Ricky Gervais is under fire yet again for his continued jokes about transgender people.

Ricky Gervais’ new stand-up special, Humanity, was released on Netflix on 13 March. It is the comedian’s first comedy special in over seven years.

However, despite receiving blowback in the past for joking about trans people (specifically Caitlyn Jenner), the comedian has not changed his material.

Negative reviews

‘After an opening 20 minutes of transphobic material directed mainly at Caitlyn Jenner (which, of course, Gervais takes great pains to insist is not transphobic at all, even as he imagines Jenner asking a doctor to remove her external genitalia) and at trans people generally (who he gleefully likens to humans wishing to be transformed into chimpanzees), he settles into a solid groove, in which he defends the decision to not have children,’ writes Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture.

Others, like The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen, drew comparisons between Gervais’ Humanity and other recent controversial stand-up specials, like Dave Chappelle’s, which is also on Netflix.

‘These are just a handful of the many, many tiresome minutes in specials of the last two years that denigrate, demean, and dismiss transgender people—and if people get “sensitive” about these hurtful bits, perhaps it’s because transgender people are still being killed, kicked out of their jobs, and attacked in state legislatures,’ Allen writes.

A trans perspective

‘I’m not offended by the same jokes I’ve heard told over and over since I was a teenager,’ writes trans comedian Amanda Kerri for The Advocate. ‘Most of these are just some variation of a joke you can find in Truly Tasteless Jokes Volume III (now available on Kindle!) or the most Incel corners of 4Chan. Hell, even the “new jokes” are old. Mr. Gervais, I hate to tell you this, but just because you changed it to “I’ve always felt like a chimp” (just like trans people always felt like a different gender than their birth certificate may say, hardy har har!) doesn’t mean we forgot South Park did that joke using dolphins back in 2005.’

‘What I am offended by is that some studio schmuck in a sports coat actually paid these comedy A-listers (who haven’t done stand-up in a decade or more) the equivalent of an entire public school district’s salaries to basically tell hack material you could get from the kids in a public school’s detention hall. You hear that, Netflix? You paid Ricky Gervais $20 million for 15 minutes of memes you can get for free on theCHIVE and they’ll be just as original. You paid $22,000 a minute for jokes you can get from a crusty copy of Hustler. You listening, Gervais? I’m not shocked and offended by you comparing me to a chimp, because that 19-year-old with the Deadpool avatar on Twitter came at me with the same joke a year and a half ago.’

Social media reactions

Comedy fans on Twitter had similar negative reactions:

Those on Gervais’ side

Still, many others came to Gervais’ defense: