Kumail Nanjiani criticizes Ricky Gervais' comedy for 'normalising harmful ideas'

During their discussion, Gervais said that people often think that "a joke is the window to the comedian's true soul".

Published: 04th July 2020 05:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2020 05:44 PM   |  A+A-

Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae

Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae


LOS ANGELES: Actor Kumail Nanjiani has called out British comedian Ricky Gervais for "normalising harmful ideas" against marginalised groups through his comedy.

Nanjiani and Gervais recently took part in The Hollywood Reporter's comedy actor roundtable alongside "Ramy" star Ramy Youssef, "Saturday Night Live's" Kenan Thompson and Dan Levy of "Schitt's Creek".

Ricky Gervais

During their discussion, Gervais said that people often think that "a joke is the window to the comedian's true soul".

"It's just not true. A big part of my comedy is saying things I do not mean. I say the wrong thing because I know the audience knows the right thing and that's why they laugh."

"I'll change the joke halfway through, I'll pretend to be right wing, left wing, no wing, if it makes the joke funnier. People who think I'm going to change the world with a gag are really delusional," Gervais said.

Nanjiani then asked Gervais about how does he feels when people watch his stand-up and assume the words he says on stage are his actual thoughts.

The comedian described it as "occupational hazard" and said, "The fact is if I play to 15,000 people, there are going to be rapists, paedophiles, murderers."

"That someone might take you at face value doing an ironic joke or a satirical joke, well, yeah, some people try to inject themselves with bleach. There are stupid people in the world," he added.

Nanjiani, however, didn't take the answer lightly.

"But if you're making some sort of joke where obviously you don't believe it, but the point of view of the joke is that it's good that these people are marginalised, I do think that can normalise ideas that would otherwise societally be considered harmful," the actor said.

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