Brit Wits: Coogan vs. Gervais

A Somewhat Arbitrary Comedic Showdown

By Arthur Smith

Saxondale just came out on DVD, which pleases me and has me thinking about its creator and star, Steve Coogan, and his countryman Ricky Gervais—two of the most exquisitely funny writers/performers to arise in the past couple of decades. Gervais is the better known, as he has graced the world with his genius series The Office, which stands as perhaps the most perfectly sustained comedy series in TV history (Fawlty Towers is also a contender) and has, of course, inspired the excellent American version. Coogan is less familiar to US audiences, but his signature creation, Alan Partridge, an obnoxious, blinkered, grotesquely middlebrow failed chat show host, is easily the equal of Gervais's painfully deluded David Brent. Coogan and Gervais have both gone on to other series and film careers, thank goodness, and have built bodies of work that make for some interesting comparisons.

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Brit Wits: Coogan vs. Gervais Continues...


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Photo credits: Steve Coogan: Focus Features; Ricky Gervais: Ray Burmiston