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Ricky Gervais Clarifies Cancel Culture Remarks About ‘The Office’: ‘Clearly a Joke’

Gervais generated some heat for saying the British sitcom's politically incorrect content would get the show canceled today.

THE OFFICE, Ricky Gervais, 2001-2003, © BBC Ltd. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

“The Office”

BBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Never one to mince words, comedian Ricky Gervais has shed some clarity on recent (and, for some, controversial) remarks that the beloved BBC sitcom “The Office” would be retroactively canceled today due to offensive content. (Via The Hollywood Reporter.)

As the show that inspired a massive American remake turns 20, Ricky Gervais told the BBC, “I mean, now it would be cancelled. I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good, let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!'”

But as the comments went viral, Gervais took to Twitter to clarify for his more than 14 million followers that the remarks were intended as a joke.

“Just to be clear, I did not say The Office would be cancelled if it were made today. That makes no sense. It’s still around. This is my actual quote. ‘Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I said, ‘Good, let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!’ Clearly a joke,” he said. (Gervais also wrote and directed the two-season mockumentary series with Stephen Merchant.)

Gervais’ character David Brent was notorious for his foul-mouthed, often sexist and racist jokes. When the BBC polled a university lecturer, Dr. Simon Weaver, about whether or not the show would actually wind up a casualty of cancel culture, he said it’s unlikely.

“In ‘The Office,’ the audience are encouraged to identify not with the ignorant Brent, but with the characters Dawn and Tim, and the victims of Brent’s ill-conceived comments are never racial or gendered caricatures, rather they are ordinary, intelligent people,” Weaver said. “The comedy clearly highlights the ignorance of the bigot in a way that Till Death Us Do Part and others failed to do.”

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