Culture

Ricky Gervais: Free Speech Is Our 'Greatest Privilege'

British comic Ricky Gervais cemented his reputation by saying things he shouldn’t.

So it’s not a shock to learn he isn’t waiting for the PC Police to slap the cuffs on him.

Gervais, who stars in the new Netflix comedy “Special Correspondents,” opened up about the film and bigger issues with MovieFone.com.

The comic engaged in the standard movie marketing banter. The new film, which debuted April 29 exclusively on Netflix, finds Gervais and Eric Bana playing journalists whose fake newscast get them into serious trouble. The star praised the streaming service for giving his colleagues the kind of creative control not always possible with studio fare.

He then spoke with passion about … the right to speak out in 2016. Suffice to say he won’t shut up anytime soon.

First, he addressed any concerns about mocking celebrities to their faces in a crowd. He did just that repeatedly as host of the Golden Globes. And it’s likely why he’ll never be chosen to host the Academy Awards.

I could see people looking up thinking “You cannot laugh about that, because I might need the job of that director or producer.” F****ing hell. Say what you want.  But we have freedom of speech. It’s the greatest privilege in the world. F***ing hell. Chill out, everyone. It’s all right. They’re jokes.

Gervais is regularly taken to task for the things he says on stage. Remember how he joked about Mel Gibson’s drinking during one Golden Globes telecast? Not all his jokes hit home. Some are crude for the sake of being crude. Others hit targets harder than they deserve.

That’s all right, and probably just fine with him. He just wants to keep telling them. So he used the Moviefone.com interview to savage those who can’t even process a joke properly. He should know.

That’s what most offense is, is people mistaking the target of the joke with a subject of a joke. It’s these sacred cows; there are no sacred cows. Maybe freedom of speech is the only sacred cow. So f***ing use it.

Gervais is no conservative, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who embraces atheism with more fervor. He’s still not ready to give in to the social justice warriors. That gives him common ground with other leftist comics, from John Cleese to Tina Fey.

They, too, understand the stakes in play. Stop Gervais from telling insensitive jokes, and what’s next? Who is safe, really, from the social media mobs with their cyber-pitch forks?