Ricky Gervais has remembered the first time he met David Bowie, and how the late star tracked him down “like the FBI” afterwards.
The pair shared a strong relationship, with Bowie appearing on Gervais’ show Extras, and Gervais returning the favour with a stand-up set at the Bowie-curated High Line festival in New York in 2007.
“I was invited to a special performance by Bowie at BBC TV Centre,” Gervais remembered of the pair’s first meeting in a new interview with The Telegraph.
“In the green room afterwards, then director-general Greg Dyke bounced over to me and Jane [Fallon, Gervais’ partner] and said, ‘You’re a big Bowie fan, aren’t you? Do you want to meet him?’
“I said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to pester him’. He said, ‘No, come on’. Then he shouted ‘Salman! We’re going to say hello to David.’ So there I was, with the head honcho of the Beeb and Salman Rushdie, chatting to Bowie in his dressing room.”
Gervais went on to reveal that, while Bowie had never watched his work at their time of meeting, he tracked him down to let him know that he greatly enjoyed The Office.
“I don’t know how he got my email address,” Gervais said. “He’s like the FBI. But he said: ‘So I watched The Office. I laughed. What do I do now?'”
Speaking about the pair’s ongoing relationship from then on, and the High Line festival gig in 2007, Gervais added: “I went over and Madison Square Garden was sold out. I thought it was just going to be this little benefit gig, so I asked Bowie: ‘What sort of stuff shall I do?’ He said: ‘Anything you like as long as it’s delightfully offensive.'”
Yesterday (January 10) marked five years since David Bowie’s death. To mark the occasion, the entertainment world has been paying tribute to the icon across the weekend.
Bowie’s son Duncan Jones said the family are “all a little sad, coping individually in our own ways,” but “it’s both remarkable & delightful that dad is still so clearly loved by so many. Yes, he’s missed… but with so much of ‘him’ in the work he made, he’s clearly still here.”
A livestreamed gig celebrating Bowie’s life and music also took place this weekend. On Saturday (January 9), pianist Mike Garson held A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day featuring a variety of artists paying tribute to the late musician.