In further evidence that water continues to be wet, Ricky Gervais is once again facing backlash over transphobic jokes off his latest Netflix special.
Barely five minutes into his newest special, SuperNature, the comedian is seen taking the opportunity to once again punch down at the trans community in a series of jokes that critics have blasted as continuing to perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes. This time around, Gervais specifically zeroes on trans women as his target, referring to them as the "ones with beards and cocks."
“Oh, women,” Gervais kicks off the joke (a term we'll have to use very loosely here). “Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs. I love the new women. They’re great, aren’t they? The new ones we’ve been seeing lately. The ones with beards and cocks. They’re as good as gold, I love them. 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.’ ‘Her penis, you fucking bigot!’ ‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?’”
Later in the special, Gervais goes on to try and explain away the joke as being purely intended for shock value and that he still support trans people "in real life of course" despite the inflammatory nature of the remarks. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights,” the comedian said. “Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns. Be the gender that you feel you are.”
Gervais had perviously alluded to the polarizing nature of his latest special, explaining last week to Stephen Colbert on Late Night that "smart people" don't get offended by jokes about taboo topics and that people “get offended when they mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target, and smart people know you can deal with anything, particularly when dealing with something like irony.”
Gervais further tried to justify this stance on BBC One's The One Show, saying that “I think that’s what comedy is for — getting us over taboo subjects, so they’re not scary anymore." According to him, it's important to tackle any and all topics irregardless of how touchy they might be. "It’s like a parachute jump — it’s scary, but then you land and it’s all OK.”
It is far from the first time Gervais has used his comedy as an avenue to demean and humiliate trans women under the guise of "edgy humor" but coming on the heels of similar controversy over transphobic jokes made by Dave Chappelle in his special on the same streaming platform, Netflix is coming increasingly under fire for continuing to enable openly transphobic comedians. People have already started to tweet about canceling their subscriptions.
It’s hard to reconcile the Ricky Gervais who created the perfectly lovely #AfterLife with this person who digs way down with ugly transphobic material. Hot tip, @rickygervais: you don’t have to hurt other people for the sake of a laugh & I’ve seen you be better, so be better https://t.co/NB9ChfLm38— Tara Dublin 🇺🇦🌻 (@taradublinrocks) May 24, 2022
Garry Shandling deconstructing "edgy" comedy on the fly in one of the best interviews involving or about comics pic.twitter.com/0Oon78t8J5— Joe McAdam (@joemcadam) May 24, 2022
No one should understand the plight of trans people better than Ricky Gervais, who identifies as a comedian, but was assigned talentless at birth.— Guy Branum (@guybranum) May 24, 2022
Jesus, Steve absolutely burning Ricky Gervais to the ground here with clear eyed logic, https://t.co/OxvPkGPqlk— SPIRAL CURSE DEMARCO (@Clarknova1) May 25, 2022
Photo via Getty/ Lloyd Bishop/ NBCU Photo Bank/ NBCUniversal