The last thing Ricky Gervais wants is to be “liked by everyone”.
The Derek and Night at the Museum star said that he loved the fact his comedy divided people, explaining, “For everyone who thinks my face brings joy, someone wants to punch the television, and I think that’s an important thing, that you should polarise people.”
Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb is out now in cinemas, featuring Gervais alongside Ben Stiller and the late Robin Williams.
His TV show Derek is also set to end this year with an hour-long Christmas special on Channel 4.
“If you’re doing anything mildly interesting or different, as many people should love you as hate you,” the writer, actor and comedian said. “For as many people who say, ‘I’ve got Ricky Gervais’s laugh as my ring tone,’ other people would want to smash the phone to pieces with a mallet and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You mustn’t want to be liked by everyone because if you are, one: you’ll fail, and two: you’ll be aiming so low, you’ll end up in the middle and anodyne.”
Gervais also paid tribute to his co-star Robin Williams, who died in August this year. “When you were with him he always said nice things about you. He was always trying to make everyone laugh – and I mean everyone, like the crew, people who came up to him, or a runner asking what he wanted for lunch. He was always trying to make people feel good. It was remarkable,” Gervais said.
“When you’ve been in the business as long as he has, I’d forgive him for being jaded. But he wasn’t. He was a lovely guy.”