Eva Gervais

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Eva Gervais (1925 - 2001) was the mother of Ricky Gervais and his siblings, Larry, Marsha and Bob and wife of Lawrence "Jerry" Gervais. She met Ricky's father, a French-Canadian soldier, during a World War II blackout, they later married and settled in Whitley, Reading. Ricky was her youngest child, and he confirmed suspicions that his birth was unexpected in a 2005 interview with The Independent.[1] Ricky's mother made several appearances, by telephone, on his original Xfm show, the one available recording of which features Ricky calling her to relay a happy birthday message, only for her to chastise him for the persistent swearing on his radio show. Eva unfortunately passed away before the completion of The Office,[2] and Ricky's subsequent rise to stardom, however she lives on, as Ricky mentions in anecdotes and interviews, in his sense of humour and work ethic, which were both heavily influenced by his family.

Classic Moments

Eva has been mentioned in several of Ricky's anecdotes, often demonstrating her sharp wit and turn of phrase.

Go-Kart

On the 24 November 2001 show Ricky told the story of how, at the age of around six, he returned home to find his beloved Go-Kart missing. On asking his mother where it was, she replied: "Your dad swapped it." Distraught, young Ricky enquired further, to which his mum added:"He swapped it for a wheelbarrow." Clearly annoyed at what Ricky's dad had done, she made sure to add: "It's your wheelbarrow."

Despite her sympathy, whilst on holiday in Bognor shortly after, Ricky, encountering a fellow young boy who was riding a Go-Kart, claimed that he had a Go-Kart back home, as quick as a flash, Eva leaned out the window and said: "Don't Lie." Ricky was forced to retract his statement about owning a Go-Kart.

New Romantic

On the 31 May 2003 show, Ricky recounts his mum's response to his adoption of the New Romantic fashion trend: "Rick you ain't going out like that, you'll get followed, look at you, look at that, that's disgusting." She had a similar response to him having his ear pierced: "Bloody hell! I thought I only had one girl!"

During his appearance on Desert Island Discs, Ricky spoke of his short-lived pop career, and his family's ambivalent response, his mum saying "Rock star is another word for junkie." However when he showed his mum the advance he was being paid by his record company, she quickly informed him: "Mick Jagger bought his mum house in Wales." Unfortunately it would be another twenty years before Ricky earned any more money from show business.

Nicked Records

Ricky admitted on the 20 April 2002 show that he once, aged 13, stole some records from his brother-in-law, swapping them with a friend for some chemicals from a chemistry set. Unable to cope with the burden of guilt, Ricky later confessed his crime to his mum, to which she promised "Alright I won't tell him, but you've got to be good." Many years later, Ricky's brother-in-law enquired "had he ever played those records he had left him", it transpires that Ricky's mum had known that the records had been left for Ricky, but had used the opportunity to force some good behaviour from her normally recalcitrant son. It is unconfirmed as to whether this incident explains why Ricky's behaviour resembles that of a thirteen year old to this very day.

Shit The Bed

In the third episode of the first series of The Office, Joan, the cleaner, asks of Tim, who has arrived early on account of it being his birthday, "What are you doing up so early? Shit the bed?" This dialogue was inspired by Eva, who would often use the same phrase when in a similar situation. [3]

The Fishpond

On Tape 1 Side A, Ricky recounts a conversation he had with his mother during the week that he wished he had recorded. She told him she went swimming in the fishpond on Wednesday. She then goes on to explain that while she was cutting her lavender, she was startled by three frogs and fell in the pond. Her grandson had to come help her get out. She then ran into the kitchen, stripped off all her clothes, and ran up the stairs completely naked because she was worried that she was covered in leeches. The incident was later retold almost exactly in Ricky Gervais's pilot episode of Derek (2013), in which Derek falls into a pond while looking for a frog, gets out, takes off his clothes through fear of leeches, and runs through the building naked.

Funeral

Demonstrating how important a good sense of humour is among the Gervais family, Ricky and his siblings did not turn down the opportunity to muck about, even when commemorating their mum's passing. When meeting the vicar to organise the funeral, they were asked about her interests, Ricky's brother Bob jokingly told the vicar "she was a keen racist." At the funeral itself, Bob again pranked the vicar, by misinforming him of their brother Larry's name, leaving the Vicar to announce in his eulogy "Eva leaves behind four loving chidren Ricky, Bob, Marsha and Barry", much to Larry's surprise.

On the Hallowe'en Episode of The Podfather Trilogy, Ricky mentioned ordering the wreath for his funeral, he made a joke about Eva being a short name which would hopefully save them money, the undertaker replied by telling him that you pay by the letter, realising the joke had been overlooked, Ricky tried another, claiming her friends used to call her 'E', meaning the wreath would be even cheaper, this joke also fell flat, the moral of the story being, when it comes to comedy, undertakers are a tough crowd.

07 June 1998

Ricky called his mum the week of her 73rd birthday, he taped the call and played it on his 07 June 1998 Xfm show. The call mainly consisted of Eva chastising Ricky for the foul language on his radio show, while Ricky wound her up with spurious accounts of her swearing, drinking and gobbing. She also had a few words for one Stephen Merchant, who not only constantly referred to Ricky as 'Gervais', but also pronounced it incorrectly, using the anglicized version instead of the correct 'Jer-vay'. She also described Xfm DJ Gary Crowley as "not bad" in an impromptu and fraudulent review.

Tape 1 Side A

A few more pre-recorded phone conversations between Ricky and his mum appear on Tape 1 Side A of the Jezoc tapes. In one conversation, she scolds Ricky for calling Steve a bastard on a previous show. Ricky assures her that it was an acceptable word to use on the radio. She also informs him that his older brother, Bob, dropped Ricky on his head when he was just 2 years old. In another conversation, Ricky thanks her for his birthday card after he turned 37. She has difficulty speaking to him, though, because she wasn't wearing her teeth.

References

  1. "She went 'You was an accident'. I went 'Cheers!'" - Ricky in The Independent, 2005.
  2. The Mirror Interview - Nov. 2004 - http://www.rickygervais.com/mirror.php
  3. Ricky Gervais Profile - The Guardian - http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1135221,00.html