Ricky Gervais has a lot to say about cancel culture and “wokeness.”
Speaking on his podcast Absolutely Mental, which he co-hosts with neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, Gervais said that he hopes to live long enough to see the current set of social justice activists judged harshly by the ones who come after.
“I wanna live long enough to see the younger generation not be woke enough for the next generation,” Gervais said. “It's going to happen. Don't they realize that? It's like, they're next. That's what's funny.”
“We kicked out the old guard. We did it,” he said. “There's only so woke and liberal you can get and then you start going the other way. But it's inevitable.”
Notable not only for his comedy, but for his willingness to say the quiet part out loud, Gervais previously angered celebrity audiences with his condemnation of the Hollywood elite at the Golden Globes during the peak of the #MeToo movement.
As a long-time critic of cancel culture and the social justice movement, Gervais has been vocal against efforts to get people cancelled, censored, or otherwise imprisoned for their opinions. Gervais is a notable supporter of Scottish comedian Markus Meechan, who landed himself in legal trouble for a YouTube video mocking the Nazis.
“If it is choosing not to watch a comedian because you don't like them, that's everyone's right,” he said. “But when people are trying to get someone fired because they don't like their opinion about something that's nothing to do with their job, that's what I call cancel culture and that's not cool.”
“You turning off your own TV isn't censorship,” Gervais added. “You trying to get other people to turn off their TV, because you don't like something they're watching, that's different.”
Gervais’ remarks come amid efforts by social justice activists to deplatform Dave Chappelle for his latest comedy special, The Closer, in which he made jokes about militant transgenderism — among other groups.
“Everyone's allowed to call you an arsehole, everyone's allowed to stop watching your stuff, everyone's allowed to burn your DVDs, but you shouldn't have to go to court for saying a joke that someone didn't like,” said Gervais, referring to the Meechan case and on-going cases in the U.K. and Canada over “misgendering” and other “transphobic” transgressions.
“And that's what we get dangerously close to. If you don't agree to someone's right to say something you don't agree with, you don't agree with freedom of speech,” Gervais said.