4 Minutes Into New Show, Gervais Makes Trans Jokes

Comedian is taking flak online over Netflix special
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2022 1:18 PM CDT
4 Minutes Into New Show, Gervais Makes Trans Jokes
Ricky Gervais, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Ricky Gervais' new comedy special just began streaming on Netflix, but it already has generated quite a backlash on social media. The reason? Gervais reels off a series of jokes about trans people just four minutes in. As Variety recounts, Gervais begins by talking about "old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs" before shifting to the "new women" with beards and penises. "And now the old-fashioned ones say, 'Oh, they want to use our toilets.' Why shouldn’t they use your toilets? 'For ladies!’ They are ladies—look at their pronouns! What about this person isn’t a lady?' 'Well, his penis.'" It goes on from there, and Variety, Deadline, and the Hollywood Reporter have more of the NSFW lines.

Near the end of his SuperNature show, Gervais walks things back a bit. "In real life, of course I support trans rights," he says. "I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights. You know, live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns. Be the gender that you feel you are." But he ends that with a jokey plea for the "ladies" to "meet me halfway" and lose their penises. The sentiment of support has done little to stem the backlash, and all three outlets above recount tweet after tweet from people criticizing Gervais. Some examples:

  • "Ricky Gervais doing a set on trans folks," reads one tweet. "How daring. How novel. How heroic!"
  • "Ricky Gervais could go after the governments, banks, billionaires. The ones causing actual harm to ordinary people all over the world on an unfathomable scale every single day," tweets another critic. "But he goes after trans people instead. Yeah Ricky, son, you speak your truth to power. Coward."
Netflix ran into controversy previously when trans jokes by Dave Chappelle led some employees to walk out. The CEO even apologized over his handling of the matter. So far, Netflix has not commented on the new Gervais flap. (More Ricky Gervais stories.)

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