Ricky Gervais Q&A: ‘Derek: The Final Chapter’

"Humor exists to get us through life," Ricky Gervais says in our webcam chat as we discuss his new Emmy contender, "Derek," the TV movie that marks the end of his Netflix series. "That's the only reason it's there. So I defiantly take on taboo subjects. I want the audience to go to places they haven't been before. I take them by the hand through a scary forest and they come out the other side."

Curiously, that's what his sweet-natured character does in "Derek" – he holds the hands of senior citizens who live in a British nursing home as they face fears of looming death. Last year Gervais snagged an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Actor and now he's favored by Gold Derby's racetrack odds to be nommed for Best Actor in a Movie/Limited Series. "Derek" has even stronger odds to earn a bid for Best TV Movie (13 to 2) and no wonder. Both of his past TV shows – "The Office" and "Extras" – were nominated in that category when telefilm specials concluded the TV series.

Gervais confesses that he's surprised by his Emmy success because "my stuff is always an acquired taste. It's quite fringe. It's always quite odd and challenging." However, his work has resulted in 21 nominations and two wins: Best Comedy Actor ("Extras," 2007) and Best Comedy Series ("The Office," 2006).

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UPLOADED Jun 15, 2015 1:40 pm