Ricky Gervais Offers Confusing Take on “The Office” and Cancel Culture

Some mixed signals from the comedian

Ricky Gervais
Comedian Ricky Gervais attends the "After Life" For Your Consideration Event at Paley Center For Media on March 07, 2019 in New York City.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

When it comes to pop culture, sometimes a decade or two can feel like much more. Some beloved comedies of the 2000s have turned out to have aged badly, while moments from other shows of the same era have prompted the creators involved to revisit their work. Consider show creator Bill Lawrence pulling a trio of Scrubs episodes from streaming with the intention of re-editing them, or — more dramatically — the BBC removing the entire show Little Britain from various online services last year.

But what of The Office? And by this, we mean the original British version, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Gervais has been frequently outspoken on the subject of cancel culture, and in a recent interview he addressed what The Office‘s fate might be if it was made today.

Sky News reports that Gervais told the BBC, “I mean now it would be cancelled. I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good, let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!’.”

Gervais later took to Twitter to clarify his earlier comments. “Just to be clear, I did not say The Office would be cancelled if it were made today,” he wrote. “That makes no sense. It’s still around.”

Despite that, Gervais’s earlier comments about “looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it” do seem to resonate with the present moment. And it also features the ever-present “they” who seem to come up in numerous cancel culture conversations — see also, various Real Time With Bill Maher episodes. Here, it feels like Gervais is trying to have it both ways, without being entirely successful at either.

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