Ricky Gervais defends show where he plays an ‘arrogant, wise-cracking God’

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 RickyGervais.com, 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.