Stewart Lee on Ricky Gervais: After Life Comments Explained


“How can you defend the things that make acting and creative writing good when After Life is a hit?”

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And now Gervais seems to have responded to comedian Lee’s criticism of his Netflix comedy.

During a recent appearance on Rob Brydon’s ‘Brydon &’ podcast, the 54-year-old slammed the show, calling Gervais’ comedy-drama “abyssal”.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What happened?

Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series has won acclaim since its 2019 debut, with comedian Lee calling it “one of the worst things ever”.

After Life tells the story of a jaded widower (played by Gervais) who gradually regains his joie de vivre.

Gervais said he was “really overwhelmed” by the response from viewers, saying he “woke up to literally thousands of the most beautiful tweets” after the last set of episodes were released.

But Stewart Lee is not a fan and, when appearing on the podcast, scorned the project.

What did Lee say?

“I think Ricky’s comedy-drama work is diminishing returns to the point where it’s now abysmal,” he said. “I think it must be very sad.

“If you’re teaching drama or creative writing, how can you champion the things that make drama and creative writing good when After Life is successful?”

“Because your kids might just say, ‘But none of that is going on in there!’ And yet, millions of people watch it.

“I think it’s one of the worst things a human has ever done.”

It should be noted that Lee is known for using exaggeration to comedic effect in his stand-up performances, and so whether he was really being sincere is up for debate.

When host Brydon then mentioned that Gervais had cited Lee as an influence, the comic replied, “Well, I don’t suppose Robert Oppenheimer felt good about creating the atomic bomb.”

How did Gervais respond?

Gervais has yet to openly reference Lee’s remark, but on Saturday, September 10, he tweeted, “Watch the award-winning, record-breaking #AfterLife Now streaming on Netflix worldwide.”

Alongside his post, he included a clip from the show in which his hot-headed character Tony calls someone “fat, hairy, snoopy s***.”

Many speculated that this was an indirect response to Lee’s criticisms.

Perhaps most obviously, Gervais also liked a number of Stewart Lee-related posts from his fans, including one in which he described Lee as “never been funny.”

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