Politics is the second solo stand-up show by Ricky Gervais released on VHS and DVD on 15 November 2004. It was filmed at The Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in London.
The show ran from April to September in 2004. It played in 9 different cities, including, Newcastle at the Opera House, Birmingham at the Alexandra Theatre, York at the Opera House, Oxford at the New Theatre, Glasgow at the Pavillion, Manchester at the Royal Opera House, London at the Bloomsbury Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Apollo Hammersmith, Edinburgh at the Playhouse, and Dublin at The Point.
Like Animals, this show begins with a video introduction where Gervais comes across a man in a wheelchair on the street. He comments about how “political” he is since he’s “racial” and “handicapped.” He then patronizes him, puts him in a fez, and plays with his wheelchair. Gervais is featured in the video along with Ash Atalla, the producer of The Office.
The show is loosely centered on political observations with jokes about charity, disability, Gandhi, Hitler, homosexuality, Nelson Mandela, and sweatshops. Gervais deconstructs well known fables about "The Industrious Mouse" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," as well as nursery rhymes like "Jack and Jill" and "Humpty Dumpty." At one point, Gervais reads from his “favourite leaflet” which suggests 10 tips for homosexual men to avoid contracting HIV. The leaflet is entitled, “You know, you don’t always have to have anal sex.” Through breaks of laughter, Gervais reads the following 5 out of 10 of the suggested alternatives.
- 1. Why not just wank each other off?
- 2. Why not cum on his back?
- 3. Why not cum in his hair?
- 4. Why not cum into a piece of fruit, e.g. Watermelon.
- 10. Why not both cum out of a window?
- Ricky Gervais: You’re leg mental, but not head mental. So that’s two. Three, gay.
Ash: Not gay.
Gervais: Well no, no. Probably get what you can in that state. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. So that’s three political hot potatoes all in one little weird fella.
- Ricky Gervais: The sex is shit but you can park up right next to Tesco’s. So swings and roundabouts.
- Ricky Gervais: I don't do enough for charity - I do it a bit, but you can always do more. But I look at it like this - it's a pain, innit?
- Ricky Gervais: And I looked over at the queue for Marxism and there were ten people in this queue, three of them were wearing berets. And I thought, God, I can’t spend three years in a room with what I used to call at the time, “cunts.”
- Ricky Gervais: I think Schindler's List is a fantastic film. And I didn't watch it at the cinema actually. I got it out on video, about a year later - by mistake - 'cause I'd never heard of it and I was in Blockbuster sort of late one night. I was a bit drunk, and I thought it was a porn film. No, 'cause I saw 18 certificate, top shelf. I thought, oh, black and white - dodgy home movie, German sounding - they're the best, and what swung it was that quote on the back from Barry Norman: "Have a box of Kleenex ready". Rubbish, I used about two. There was a shower scene.
- Ricky Gervais: At this point I just wanna make sure we’ve covered gays and Nazis. Ok, good we can move on.
- Ricky Gervais: Think about that, your mother walking in on you furiously masturbating. The other way round is worse.
- Ricky Gervais: There was a government advert at the time that said, "Save water: have a bath with a friend." Which I did. I say "a friend"; he was more a friend of my Granddad's. Ten quid's a lot to a kid in Reading. We used to call him "Granddad Charlie", actually. He wasn't our Granddad, he was just an old bloke who used to live across the road from us and used to always come round to play with us whenever he saw our parents go out.
Ricky Gervais: What? Lovely old man. He used to play with us. He taught me to wrestle.
(audience laugh again)
Ricky Gervais: What? Lovely old man. Lovely old man, old Granddad Charlie. And he used to do magic tricks. Oh, it was great. And he used to have a magic hat and he used to sit down and put the magic hat on his lap. And he'd show us there was nothing in it. There was nothing in it. And he'd put the magic hat on his lap, and we couldn't tell our parents 'cause it would stop the magic. I think that's how it worked. We were only little. And we used to queue up with our eyes shut and take turns in feeling the little rabbit in the hat. Whenever it got to me it was scared stiff, poor little thing. And it was always in a bad way, didn't have any ears or any fur, poor little thing. I made it sick once!
- 15 December 2001 - Humpty Dumpty
- 10 November 2001 - Mistaken for Johnny Vegas
- 30 March 2002 - Fables
- 22 November 2003 - Sauce bottle
- 27 April 2002 - Mistaking trousers for a jacket
- 29 November 2003 - Problem with her marrow (encore)
- 19 July 2003 - Swingball (encore)
DVD Special Features
Karl Pilkington appears in "Meet Karl Pilkington" where he is interviewed by Gervais. He gives his views on some topics related to politics including, race, disability, sexuality, education, the elderly, and crime and punishment. Karl also offers insights about some of his own favourite topics like the Chinese: they don’t age well, freaks: The Elephant Man or Steve Merchant, gay fellas: they go out late, and old people: you never see an old man eating a Twix. Gervais also attempts, without success, to describe the infinite monkey theorem.
Also featured on the DVD is "The Making of Politics Featurette," a short video called "Living with Ricky," and an audio commentary by Gervais and his friend Robin Ince who toured with Gervais as the opening act. The commentary fails to address the stand-up, however, and instead involves Gervais tormenting Robin by reading from a diary he kept that supposedly documents all of Robin’s actions. This was released as a free download on 26 April 2008 through Gervais’ podcast which is available from iTunes.