February 26, 2006

Karl Pilkington!

There's a little article about this hilarious man in today's NYT:
Karl Pilkington has debated the merits of eating a kangaroo's penis for breakfast, envisioned a wristwatch that counts down the time left in a person's life and proposed a new population control system in which elderly women give birth at the moment of their deaths. He has mused on topics ranging from caveman "bear pants" to dishwashers on Mars, and reported "news stories" about the triumphs of chimpanzees as bricklayers and television talk show hosts. In so doing, Mr. Pilkington, a 33-year-old unemployed radio producer from Manchester, England, has become the object of a global Internet cult, a Guinness world record-holder and the unlikely harbinger of a technological revolution.

Mr. Pilkington is the breakout star of "The Ricky Gervais Show," a podcast presided over by Mr. Gervais, the British comedian behind "The Office" and "Extras," and his co-writer and co-director, Stephen Merchant. In its brief, 12-episode run this winter, the program, available on the Web site of The Guardian (guardian.co.uk/rickygervais), has racked up nearly three million free downloads, the most ever for a podcast, according to the Guinness book. While these numbers reflect the international popularity of Mr. Gervais, the program's title is a bit misleading. The show is almost entirely devoted to the esoteric ramblings of Mr. Pilkington, whom Mr. Gervais has called both "the funniest man in Britain" and "that little bald-headed Manc idiot."
Of course, you've listened to these podcasts, haven't you? If not... you're so lucky! You have so much fun ahead of you. Gervais alone is great, but Gervais talking to Pilkington -- sublime!

I love the way the two are so completely dumb and smart at the same time. Like, in the 12th podcast, when they start talking about Wittgenstein's remark that if a lion could speak, we wouldn't be able to understand him. Gervais restates Wittgenstein's point so crisply that it's clear how smart Gervais is, and Pilkington starts down a thoroughly Pilkingtonesque line of thinking: it would depend on the lion, maybe you could understand a lion in the London zoo, better than a worm at least, what could a worm tell you, even if it is English, etc. It's so purely stupid, yet you'd have to be quite brilliant to be capable of saying it.


Somewhat related: I talk about that Wittgenstein quote, Koko the Gorilla, and Mardi Gras.


C. Schweitzer said...

Yes, I've been hooked since their 4th podcast. It's impossible to describe exactly what's so fascinating about their conversations--so absurd yet so unabashedly intellectual at the same time.

As a huge fan of the both the UK "Office" and the US version, I am more than thrilled that Gervais and Merchant will be writing an episode for the US version next season.

The Guardian podcasts end at 12 episodes (this week's was the last)--but there's clearly so much interest that they'll be continuing it--for a small fee.

bluehoo12 said...

You can download 6 episodes of the original radio show (and stream the rest) here.

birdyboy said...

The podcasts are a realisation of a radio show Gervais had in London. It consisted of him, Merchant and their producer Karl P doing pretty much what was in the podcasts + music. You can get a number of the shows here http://www.karl-pilkington.com/xfm-radio-shows.php
You see the germinaion of the format with more glimpses of Karl's rather strange world. Its well worth a listen!

birdyboy said...

and in the fleash ... http://youtube.com/watch?v=GllgCB5vMxk

chuck b. said...

Ricky Gervais like you've never seen him. Well, you know, unless you have.