Comedian Ricky Gervais lashed out in a new interview at mega-rich celebrities whining about isolation in their multimillion-dollar mansions — while hospital workers and others are risking everything during the coronavirus crisis.
The British funnyman was furious after seeing a series of celebrity meltdowns, which have included Ellen DeGeneres comparing her sprawling mansion to being stuck in jail, and the likes of Kelly Ripa and singer Sam Smith both breaking down in tears.
“After this is over, I never want to hear people moaning about the welfare state again, I never want to hear people moaning about nurses again. Or porters,” the 58-year-old comedian told the Sun.
“These people are doing 14-hour shifts and not complaining. Wearing masks, and being left with sores, after risking their own health and their families’ health selflessly.
“But then I see someone complaining about being in a mansion with a swimming pool. And, you know, honestly, I just don’t want to hear it,” he insisted.
Gervais — who has a well-documented history of attacking self-centered stars — soon tried to laugh off his comments.
“I didn’t go out much anyway, and there’s always too much booze in the house,” he told the UK paper after his tirade, joking that he was “looking at the watch” ready for the “6 p.m. watershed” to start drinking.
Gervais now knows all about the privileges of wealth, being worth an estimated $125 million and talking to the Sun from his $13 million home, the paper said.
But he says he will never forget the lessons he learned growing up in working-class Reading, where life “was a struggle.”
“And it was — I was the fourth child of an immigrant laborer,” he said of dad Larry, who got up every day at 5:30 a.m. and worked until he was 70.
“I had no money growing up, I didn’t have any until I was 40. But I still had everything,” he told the Sun.
“My mum, she gardened, she grew, she cooked, she sewed, she knitted, she decorated, she did everything she could. And she gave me everything I wanted except money.”
Watching mom Eva taught him that “men worked hard, but women worked miracles,” he said.
“Because when my dad finished his work, that was his own time. But my mum didn’t stop working, women didn’t stop working. Carers didn’t stop working, all the women in my family were carers in some respect.”
The lack of cash also taught him that “all the best things were free — friends, nature, learning and health care,” he said.
“And that’s why I gladly pay my taxes. And that’s why I clap the NHS,” he said of the UK’s free National Health Service.
It also taught him the real value of things in his life — and how he does not need to flash his cash.
“People ask me why I dress like a tramp. And I say, ‘My clothes are clean and comfortable. Who am I trying to impress?’” he said, adding that he doesn’t collect cars “because I can’t drive.”
“Nothing gives me more of a buzz than to help an animal,” said the pet lover, who regularly pushes animal rights charities.
“I’m not a hippie or Communist, I think money’s for the safety of your family and friends, and you can’t take it with you.”
Gervais spoke to the UK paper to promote the second series of “After Life,” his dark show about a man who loses the will to live after his wife dies of cancer.
His current fame allowed him to refuse to compromise on the dark material, which he admits would never make regular TV “in a million years.”
“I’ve always been that way and it turned out OK. There are others who probably didn’t compromise and are now sleeping in cars,” he said.
It’s an attitude that has colored most of his career.
“I think sometimes I get labeled ‘controversial comedian.’ Well, what they mean is ‘honest comedian,’” he said.
“Every stand-up I’ve done, every series I have done, there have been 10 different people complaining. Well, thousands of people. Everyone thinks their complaint is the worst thing,” he said.
Instead, “everything is up for grabs” in his material, he says proudly, even jokes about AIDS and the Holocaust.
“I have always said there’s never a subject that you shouldn’t talk about or joke about. It just depends what the joke is,” he said.
“And people get offended when they mistake the subject of the joke with the actual target.”