Ricky GervaisActor / Comedian
Born: 25 June 1961
Birthplace: Reading, England
Best known as: The creator of The Office and Extras
Ricky Gervais's comedy career took off in the early 2000s with the success of the original British version of the hit TV series The Office. He got his start in the entertainment business in the early 1980s, as part of a musical act (Seona Dancing), a radio DJ and a band manager. He got into writing comedy sketches for British television in the 1990s, and after a short-lived talk show (2000), he and creative partner Stephen Merchant talked their way into having a "mockumentary" series, The Office, which first aired in the United Kingdom in 2001. Gervais and Merchant were allowed creative control of the series, and wrote, produced and directed 14 epidodes (2001-03). Gervais starred as David Brent, an office manager blissfully unaware of his own clumsy shortcomings; Brent is a character who exemplifies Gervais's brand of cringe-creating comedy. The show reached an American cable audience, and its international success helped launch a version for U.S. television in 2005, with Steve Carell as the Brent-like lead. As the new version of The Office became a hit, Gervais and Merchant worked on another comedy series in the U.K., Extras (2005-07), again with Gervais as the lead. Extras was another hit, and Gervais branched out into films, appearing in Night at the Museum and its sequel (2006 and 2009, starring Ben Stiller). A successful writer and producer in both the U.K. and the U.S., Gervais also hosts a popular podcast with Merchant (and sidekick Karl Pilkinton), has published a series of children's books called Flanimals and has been the lead in the films Ghost Town (2008) and The Invention of Lying (2009).
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