Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool

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Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool

Satisfied Fool title card.
Genre Documentary
Running time 24 mins.
Starring Karl Pilkington, David Icke, Will Self, Germaine Greer, Heinz Wolff, Ricky Gervais
Country UK
Network Channel 4
Tx. Date 22 October 2007
No. of episodes 1

Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool is a one-off documentary by Karl Pilkington, shown as part of Channel 4's 'Comedy Lab' series.


A part of me wishes I did try a bit harder [at school] just because of mates I know now who are always saying, ah y'know, "Karl you're stupid and stuff. You don't know enough, you should know more" and all that. But I'm also thinking that, being intelligent, does is make you happier anyway? So yeah, that's sort of what I'm trying to find out really.

Karl Pilkington is an unassuming, unsophisticated man from Manchester who has little formal education and is known to his close friends (not to mention his many fans) as a fool, an idiot, a buffoon. In this Channel 4 documentary, he is on a quest to determine whether he would be happier if he was more intelligent. To find the answer, he seeks the counsel of scholars, philosophers and David Icke.


TV Guide, The Times, 20 October 2007:

Karl Pilkington kicks off a new week-long season of Comedy Lab, the wildly erratic series showcasing comic talent that discovered the likes of Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr, Dom Joly and Russell Brand.
Karl Pilkington himself was the producer of The Ricky Gervais Show on the radio station Xfm and developed a cult following when he appeared on Gervais's podcasts. His comic speciality is pretending to be thick, a role that he is able to play with immense assurance. In this amiable programme, he meets a bunch of brainy people -including Germaine Greer and Will Self - to find out if life would be better if he were more intelligent. But, in the end, he decides there's no point in trying because, even if it worked, he wouldn't be the same vaguely endearing idiot.[1]

Caitlin Moran, The Times, 20 October 2007:

For those who haven’t yet come across him, Karl Pilkington is a sometime collaborator of Ricky Gervais – an eccentric Rainman-type character. Gervais, with his typical “edginess”, is either doing his bit for mental health charities by helping him, or doing his bit for the postPC movement by taking the piss out of him; but no one can be quite sure which.
In Comedy Lab’s Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool, Pilkington has finally been given a solo pilot in the format of a Louis Theroux-type documentary. The subject here is “Cleverness – will it make you happy?” and the presenter is – well, the presenter is, in contrast to Theroux’s hateful faux naivety, genuinely naive.
He looks baffled as Germaine Greer tries to explain the difference between intelligence and cleverness, and almost bursts into tears when Will Self roars, “You’re just a satisfied pig! Get out of my house!!
There’s a winning unartfulness to it. It almost feels like a new kind of TV.[2], [3]


Ricky Gervais
  • Ricky Gervais: I don't think Karl is going to learn anything from this, to be honest. Nothing important stays in there. I think he learned everything he was ever going to learn by 12.

  • Ricky Gervais: I think he'll do alright [in a Mensa test]. I think he's got a good naturally intelligence. I think if you take any formal education and knowledge out of the equation, I think he'll surprise you. I think he'll do okay at that,because he's got a good brain, he's just never used it.

  • Karl Pilkington: [after taking a Mensa test] You know how they say go off gut feeling, even me gut wasn't kicking in... I mean, it's multiple choice so you can take a bit of a lucky dip, have a bit of gamble. But eh, I'm not positive about it.

Germaine Greer
  • Karl Pilkington: [Intelligent people] they argue a lot and you're like "Oh stop arguing, just one of you, say you might be right and go home." D'ya know what I mean? They're happy to -you see things on like Newsnight or whatever. And it's just like, none of 'em are going to back down and then they go, "That's all we've got time for. See you next week" and you go what's been sorted out?
    Germaine Greer: But things are not meant to be sorted out.
    KP: Then what's the point of chatting about it then?
    GG: Can I make this fucking bread!?
    KP: [voiceover] You see, that's like what happens on Newsnight. Asked the question, never got an answer.

  • Karl Pilkington: I sort of gave [cooking] a go. [Me girlfriend] walked in one day and I had sausages in the toaster. She went mental at me. D'ya know how sausages make a load of mess when you put them in a pan? It was when I first got a flat and I wanted everywhere to be clean all the time.
    Germaine Greer: Now I am beginning to think you might be a tad stupid.

Germaine and Karl
  • Germaine Greer: You can take [the bread] home if you like.
    Karl Pilkington: Can I?
    GG: Yeah.
    KP: What, all of it? Brilliant. I'll have me pie and mash, gravy...
    GG: You're not a wholemeal bread man, you'll be saying "Eh I'd rather 'av me white brid. Don't like that brid! That's got roughage in it. [Karl laughs at Greer's Northern accent] It's going to make meh 'av a big sheet. Eet twill! Beeg and perfectly formed."
    KP: That's good, that's healthy.
    GG: That is healthy.
    KP: So not very good brain but...
    GG: ...Terrific bowels!
    KP: [voiceover] She was nice enough and I got some sort of free bread out of it. And it was sort of good know that, er, no matter how different we were in the brain department we could still both have a laugh about me arse.

Prof. Heinz Wolff
Karl and the Professor
  • Karl Pilkington: That's what I'm saying about, y'know, the brain. I don't understand how it jumped so quickly. D'ya know you're open to theories and things? I'm sort of thinking, the brain, is there any chance that it could've come from somewhere else? Like, like a type of, like an alien -I don't want to say alien because it makes it sound daft.
    Heinz Wolff: Err, I mean, th- th- don't think you're daft! It's simply unlikely. In any case you haven't solved a problem, you've pushed it back to another planet. Because the phenononom that puzzles you, of saying "how did our brain suddenly become so much more intelligent, maybe it was an alien who came and told us about things?" You then ask the question "who told the alien?"
    KP: Who told the alien what?
    HW: Th- th- who made him clever?
    KP: Because they're better on other planets.
    HW: Who says so?
    KP: Just because of the spaceships they've got and everything. We haven't got them yet so if they've got the spaceships I've got to guess they've got better gear.
    HW: How do you know?
    KP: When you see them they look sort of futuristic.
    HW: But you've never seen one!
    KP: Yeah, I know. I just look at pictures and that.
    HW: I know but they're pictures drawn by people like you! I'm not sure this is getting anywhere...

Karl Pilkington and David Icke
  • Karl Pilkington: Before, you dropped in a quote of someone's and stuff like that is pretty good. It would just be nice to have a couple in me head that I could go "oh you know what so and so said back in '46?" and that's enough, that's all I need because people would suddenly go... "where'd he get that from?" [David Icke puts his arm around Karl]

  • Karl Pilkington: All I came here for was to find out if it's worth me reading a few more books or watching the news more or..
    Will Self: Yeah but what sort of books do you want to read? Do you want to read Tractatus Logico Philosophicus?
    KP: Maybe not to start with.

Karl Pilkington and Will Self
  • Will Self: You're the proverbial 'bird in the hand' man. Y'know, you're worried about grabbing for the bush for fear that you're going to lose the birds you've already got. And what I'm saying to you is nothing ventured nothing gained. You arouse these conflicting emotions in me. On the one hand I really do want to kick you down the road. But on the other hand I want to take all your clothes off and soap you gently in palmolive, clean you and put you to bed.
    Karl Pilkington: Well both of them sound bad to me. So that isn't even a bird in the hand.
    WS: That doesn't make me feel very good, you rejecting me in that way.
    KP: It's just I'm not that happy about me body.

  • Karl Pilkington: Now I'll be honest with ya, I haven't really learned anything from this. Just, maybe some of us are not meant to be really intelligent. You've just gotta, sort'a make the most out of what'ya got and get on with it, really. And I'm not sure if I would want to be more intelligent anyway, 'cus at the end of the day, if I was, you know .. would it be me anymore?


Artist Album Song Title Start/Stop
I Am Kloot I Am Kloot Proof 00:00 - 02:19
Plays intermittently in the first few minutes.
I Am Kloot I Am Kloot 3 Feet Tall 03:01 - 03:30
3 feet tall with a head like a bowling ball - Karl travels from the Mensa test to Germaine Greer's house.
Candidate Tiger Flies This is The Way 08:01 - 08:36
Karl meets Prof. Heinz Wolff and his tea-making assistant.
Elbow Cast of Thousands Crawling With Idiot 10:14 - 10:35
Karl leaves Prof. Heinz Wolff, song plays up until the advert break. **Also features in the trailer
Stephen Fretwell Magpie Do You Want To Come With Me? 10:36 - 11:07
Karl gets the ferry to the Isle of Wight and meets David Icke.
Joy Division Substance Atmosphere 16:07 - 16:24
Karl reflects on his meeting with David Icke on the ferry home.
Brian Eno Music for Airports: Ambient 1 1/1 22:50 - 23:11
Karl talks about his meeting with Will Self and reads Wittgenstein on the park.
I Am Kloot I Am Kloot Proof 23:30 - 24:02
Karl walking down Gower St., London while the end credits roll.


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