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.
‘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.
‘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:
— Nosi (@ActivistBaddie) March 16, 2018
Don’t watch the Ricky Gervais: Humanity stand up on Netflix. Apparently people already called him out on a transphobic joke 2 years ago and in this he makes it even worse. Just don’t watch it
— magical pirate 🌹 (@cauldronmagick) March 17, 2018
Watched the first ten minutes of Ricky Gervais’ Netflix Special, Humanity.
Here’s what I got. pic.twitter.com/SdQN07Jrq2
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) March 19, 2018
I watched Ricky Gervais Humanity show on Netflix. It was okay. I can agree about some things he said about comedy but I don’t think he has any idea how much alt-right clowns desperately want his validation and absolutely got it. So that’s a bummer.
— Magdalen Rose (@theMagdalenRose) March 22, 2018
Ricky Gervais’s ‘Humanity’ was so dull and unfunny that we had to give up watching 15mins in. All he did was repeat ‘jokes’ that 14yo edgelords have been making online for years now, including the ‘if you can identify as a woman, i can identify as a chimp line’ 🙄.
— communurse (@communurse) March 20, 2018
Ricky Gervais: Humanity  pic.twitter.com/Ww5I1P7Nkk
— The Artist formally known as Kevin (@UkuleleKev) March 20, 2018
Those on Gervais’ side
Still, many others came to Gervais’ defense:
— Daniel Blake (@moranrisin) March 23, 2018
So instead I’ll just say that he did alright.
— Jason Dolch (@DrLoveTruffle) March 22, 2018
Ricky Gervais: Humanity. A must watch for anyone with a sense of humour!
— Rob Ü (@RobWood14) March 18, 2018
Watch Ricky Gervais: Humanity stand up on Netflix. Apparently he is a funny guy, and a trans woman such as myself can take jokes jabbed at my community. https://t.co/OxdIlAbb83
— Mei, Dimension Shampoo Spokeswoman (Tomservo3) (@hi_itstomservo3) March 17, 2018
Why is everyone getting all bent out of shape over Ricky Gervais? Humanity was a brilliant watch.
— Emrod (@Emrod_lives) March 19, 2018
Just watched @rickygervais humanity, I loved every minute, I’m not sure what everyone was getting so upset about, people should just watch comedy for the comedy and put all other opinions and beliefs to one side for a short while and enjoy laughing
— Leigh O’Driscoll (@leighod77) March 21, 2018
— NicSilvano (@Nicsilvano) March 22, 2018
— trash boy (@MustacheExpress) March 23, 2018