TIME 100: Three and a Half Minutes at the Bar With Ricky Gervais

TIME caught up with the actor and comedian to talk about atheism, things he'd bring to a desert island and champagne in wine glasses.

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From Left: Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon arrive at the 2013 TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City, on April 23,2013.
Joe Stevens / Corbis

From Left: Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon arrive at the 2013 TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City, on April 23,2013.

Comedian and 2010 TIME 100 honoree Ricky Gervais, who recently resurrected “The Office’s” David Brent on YouTube, drinks champagne out of a wine glass. Or at least, he did at Tuesday’s night’s gala celebrating this year’s most influential people. As he went searching for a bartender, TIME asked him about his dislike of champagne flutes and what he’d take with him on a desert island.

TIME: Hi, Ricky. I’m Josh Sanburn with TIME Magazine. Can I ask you a few questions?

Gervais: Sure. Well, let’s walk to the bar.

I’ll walk with you.

I don’t know where we’re going. Where’s the bar? If you worked here, you’d know where the bar is.

The bar is over there. And there’s one over there, too. What are you drinking?

I’ll have a glass of champagne in a wine glass, please.

That sounds pretty good.

Will you go get that for me?

I don’t think so. That’s not my job.

[Ricky walks to the bar, but it appears there’s no bartender.]

Oh, they’re closed. Look what you’ve done to me.

I did not do that. I think… I think you’ve got options here.

[A bartender appears, and Ricky introduces himself.]

Bartender: A whiskey? Would you like some whiskey?

Can I have champagne in a wine glass, please?

Why champagne in a wine glass?

You don’t have to put your head back. A flute is really annoying.

Yeah. So you can just shoot it back.

Has the interview started?


Bartender: Two whiskeys in a champagne flute.

No, no! [Gervais points to the champagne.] Just two of those, thank you. Look at that. I do, I love whiskey. It’s too dangerous at an event like this. I’m already saying stupid things.

I’m not even going to ask you what I was going to ask you.

No! Go on, ask me. It could be good, go on.

Three things on a desert island. What do you take?

Oh, for f—’s sake. This is TIME Magazine. What happened?

I’m going to ask you a very serious thing in a second.

Okay. Three items on a desert island. Well, obviously a gun. A vat of novocaine.

You may want to take this lovely lady next to you.

Well, can you take a friend? Oh, yeah. I’d take my girlfriend, yeah. Can I take the cat?

I think that’s four things.

No, no, no. I’ll take the cat, the gun and the novocaine. Yeah. And a phone. Can I have a phone to call her and tell her how it’s going?

I don’t know if you’re going to have cell phone service. Ok. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at a cocktail party like this? Besides talking to me.

There’s a list, before I was famous.

What’s that?

There’s a list. Before I was famous. But now I’m a good boy. Well, it doesn’t matter really what I do because by the time it gets to the press, it’s embarrassing anyways.

I’m actually working on a serious story about atheism, and I follow you on Twitter, and half of your tweets are about God, or, no God.

Sure. Well, actually half of them are probably about science. But people assume that science is an atheist propaganda. ‘We invented carbon dating just to undermine the Bible!’

I would love to talk to you for the piece.

Okay. Sure.

You’d be willing to chat for my story?

Yeah, sure. We’ve got to go, though. [Ricky looks through his phone for his contact information.] Cheers, mate. Have you got anything you can use?

Probably not.