Ricky Gervais: I love Twitter because it’s like waiting for a friend in the pub

"There are awful people on Twitter and there are idiots. But there are idiots on the high street and we have to go there," says the star, who has more than 6.5 million followers

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From his heartfelt defence of animal rights issues to joshing with his “twonks” to his tender posts in the guise of character Derek Noakes, Ricky Gervais is always good value on Twitter.

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But what does Ricky himself love about the social media site? He tells us he’s in it for the laughs, the company and for some more serious reasons too…

“I like it for many different reasons,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “I do it for a laugh for one thing. Sometimes I do it because I am bored. If I am in a taxi I say ‘I am on the way to the airport, I have got 20 minutes any questions’? It’s the equivalent of reading a beer mat twenty times when you are waiting for someone in a pub.

“With Twitter you are never alone. I like it. There are bad things on there and awful people on there and there are idiots. But there are idiots on the high street and we have to go there. I reckon I see two idiots a week and I have got 6 million people and you can ignore them. Block and they are gone.”

Gervais also admits that it is a useful “marketing tool”.

“Of course I want to tell six million people about a show or a DVD or get the story right, and say ‘no guys I didn’t say that’. It’s nice to own a piece of the media. It’s a nice experiment. You try stuff out. You put stuff there and you know from six million people will see it. It also helps with gags because it gets to the essence. If you can make something work to 140 characters you are deconstructing it to a point where you know it from all angles. Comedy is about language after all.

“It’s also fantastic for animal welfare things. I just did one for the illegal dog trade in Thailand and it got a million signatures. That’s the power of social media.”

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The last episode of Derek airs at 10pm on 22nd December on Channel 4