Ricky Gervais defends himself over ‘dead baby joke’ controversy

Gag led to a grieving couple walking out

Ricky Gervais has taken to Twitter after causing offence with a reported “dead baby” joke at a gig in Belfast this week.

The Office star stopped off in Belfast on Tuesday (March 28) as part of his current ‘Humanity’ tour.

Local reports suggest that the comedian made a gag about dead babies during the show, which led to a grieving couple in the audience walking out.


Suzi and Ryan Gourley lost their newly-born son last July and claim that attending Gervais’ show was their first night-out since the loss.

The couple say they “wouldn’t have expected” such a joke in “a million years from anybody”, adding: “I know people take things differently and I know our emotions are raw, but why joke about a baby being dead? It’s just wrong. Some people might read this and think we’re over sensitive and maybe we are – but it’s just not funny”.

Exact details of the joke are not currently known.

Gervais has since taken to Twitter to argue that “offence often occurs when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target” and suggest that it would be ridiculous to think that “all jokes should be banned in case anyone is offended”.

“I wish I had a pound for every time I offended someone. Wait, I do,” Gervais went on to tweet. See his tweets in full below.



Stillbirth And Neonatal Death Support NI has since issued a statement making Gervais fans “aware of this part of the show as it may be upsetting.”

The Belfast venue, the Waterfront Hall added: “Unfortunately we have no control at all over the material artists choose to use on stage, but we do of course appreciate this particular theme will have caused distress.”

Read more: Ricky Gervais On Twitter, Fame And David Brent – The Full NME Interview