Karl has done really well to cultivate his persona, which I imagine is just an exaggerated form of what he's actually like in private. He plays his role very well indeed and I love him for it.
But let's face it, he owes everything to Ricky. To suggest otherwise is absolute bollocks. Ricky is the one driving all these projects forward, whether it's AIA, Karl's books, or these video podcasts.
For me - and I know most you will disagree - Karl by himself is not very funny and I have serious doubts as to whether he could produce something decent. It's always Ricky's reactions and generally the interactions between the two (or ideally three) of them, that make me laugh. I realised this for certain when I heard Karl's solo podcast where he's reading bits out of book. I know he's just reading bits of his book, but it was just crap - embarrassingly contrived and unfunny.
I agree that Karl needs a foil to get the best out of him, but that doesn't always have to be Ricky Gervais. The interview Karl made with the man who is "immortal" was fascinating (more importantly for Karl) tender and amusing. Karl needs to move away from Ricky to grow and develop. Karls reply "of course it is." (albeit very funny) in the new podcast cemented the fact for me their comedy relationship has grown stagnant. That's not to say I never want them, including our beloved Stilt Monster, to work together again. I just don't always want to see Ricky snorting and falling off his chair when I want to watch Karl.