The Gervais Cutaway

I caught a few minutes of Coldplay performing live on BBC2 last night. Around 700 people were at the BBC Television Centre to watch them, joined by camera crews and helicopters.

Throughout their set, the cameras cut relentlessly to the irritating sight of Ricky Gervais grinning gormlessly in the crowd.

While at some level aware that the BBC cameraman was unable to hear me, I began an onslaught of questions. ‘Why do you keep cutting to Ricky Gervais?’, I hollered. ‘What the fuck does he have to do with Coldplay?’, I raved. I concluded that the cameraman was fulfilling the implicit demand of the viewing public.

Is it not possible for people to enjoy something unless they know Ricky Gervais is being simultaneously enriched by the same experience? Were people singing along to ‘Yellow’ only tentatively until the sight of Gervais in full-voiced accompaniment roused them into straining their vocal chords with new found enthusiasm?

I like Ricky Gervais in the sense that Extras and The Office are very entertaining, but I don’t find his mere presence at a concert sufficient reason to piss my pants with excitement. How long until the Gervais Cutaway is mandatory in any live television event to validate the tastes of the viewing public? How many commissioning editors will turn down pilot episodes on the grounds that they don’t contain a sufficient abundance of Gervais Cutaways?

If we don’t nip this worrying trend in the bud, this Gervais Cutaway situation could get out of hand. It’s terrifyingly easy to imagine a newly retired baby boomer couple sparked into conversation this way.

‘Oh, look Jean – Ricky Gervais is in the crowd of gawkers on the Antiques Road show.’

‘So he is, Terry! He’s lurking behind the George III Period Mahogany Canterbury!’

‘It was only the other day that he was in the audience of that Britain’s Got Herpes show too!’

‘Do you remember when you caught Herpes, Terry?’

But I digress.

I hereby announce the start of my ‘Limit the Gervais Cutaway To Only A Couple Of Times During Live Televised Cultural Events’ campaign. Join me while there’s still time.


10 Responses to The Gervais Cutaway

  1. mieke says:

    alternatively, don’t watch coldplay concerts… seriously rich, gross!

  2. Richard says:

    What can I say? They have a few amazing songs amidst the drivel.

  3. jamesspratt says:

    Fairdos Richard, I didn’t see the concert but Gervais is a dude and will likely come out with some buffoonery if you keep the camera on him long enough. And did you ever listen to his podcasts. Funniest thing since Derek and Clive.

    @Mieke Thou shall not stop liking a band just because they become popular.

  4. Richard says:

    Ah, it didn’t occur to me that perhaps they were hoping Gervais would do something funny.

    But what could he have done other than gurn anyway?
    Did the cameraman suppose that Gervais travels everywhere with his wig and glasses from ‘When the Whistle Blows’ on the off-chance that their deployment will be demanded?

  5. mieke says:

    @jamesspratt, i didn’t even like them before they were popular. thanks.

  6. Pete says:

    Trouble is the REASON they’re doing it: Someone onstage makes an ufortunate face or fucks up a lyric, so you need a linking shot for a splice: In the past, an exterior of the beeb would suffice, but hey, there’s the rickster, so chuck him in.

    It’s the equivilant of ‘noddies’ for interviews.

    In short, bloody watch this:

  7. mieke says:

    sure pete, but wouldn’t you rather they cut to some hot chick than ricky gervais?

    even i’d prefer that.

  8. Pete says:

    I guess so, but that seems to be the way of things.

  9. Richard says:

    Ah, I should have consulted Brooker earlier.

    The 10 biggest cocks in advertising is my favourite thing ever lolz

  10. mieke says:

    thanks for reminding me that even advertising is better back home and i could actually afford tv there…

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