British comic to play the almighty in US sitcom 'Afterlife'

Ricky Gervais has hit back at critics already calling his new comedy Afterlife ‘an atheist comedy’.

The show tells of a man who firmly doesn’t believe in a heaven or God but gets proved wrong when he dies and faces the big man himself, played as a “wise-cracking arrogant, son-of-a-bitch” by Gervais himself.

Writing on, Gervais argued that the mere fact that the show features a heaven prevents it being an atheist comedy.

I can’t win. The Invention of Lying proposed an alternative world where there was no God. That was an atheist comedy too. Seems the existence or non-existence of God in my work has no bearing on whether it’s an atheist comedy or not. It just is. Because I wrote it, right?

Gervais went on to talk about great films that he loves, regardless of whether or not they feature the possibility of deities and life after death.

I love It’s A Wonderful Life. I’m not threatened by its premise. I don’t start shouting, “Religious propaganda!… How dare they assume that heaven and angels exist?” It’s a work of fiction. And a great one.

Gervais also revealed, on a blog for The Huffington Post, that he’s working on a new stand-up tour, a third series of The Ricky Gervais Show, a second helping of An Idiot Abroad and the new BBC sitcom, Life’s Too Short, with Warwick Davis.

Life’s Too Short is set to air on BBC 2 in the autumn.