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God and Vikings: Ricky Gervais hits Stockholm

God and Vikings: Ricky Gervais hits Stockholm

Published: 17 Dec 2012 14:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Dec 2012 14:49 GMT+01:00

After British comedian Ricky Gervais performed in Stockholm on Sunday night, The Local’s Oliver Gee reflects on why a liberal Swedish crowd took such delight in the mostly dark humour.

I'll admit, the lead-up to the Ricky Gervais show in Stockholm was somewhat marred by reports I'd heard from previous shows in Oslo and Gothenburg claiming the performance was all old material.

In fact, Gervais himself admitted it while discussing the three-date Scandinavian tour with UK TV host Graham Norton.

“It’s my greatest hits...some people call it money for old rope,” he said, as the audience laughed.

But would we laugh too?

Stockholm’s Globe Arena was almost at full capacity on Sunday night with fans eager to find out, and it only took a few moments to realize the answer was a resounding yes.

Gervais entered the stage to thunderous applause.

“I love Stockholm, it’s fantastic” Gervais told the crowd, describing a weekend of sightseeing in the Swedish capital.

“But if anything, I’ve learned the sheer beauty of thermal underwear.”

The actor and comedian then took Swedish Vikings by the horns and didn’t let go.

In fact, Vikings and their "raping hats" were a theme for the night, with Gervais pondering just why Swedes (well, at least their ancestors) were so keen on rape during their extensive travels.

His mock scene between a less-than-impressed Viking wife and her sea-bound rape-hungry husband was a particularly memorable moment.

“Are you going to be raping? No? Then you can leave your raping helmet behind.”

But besides the Vikings, and one jab at the sexual undertones of a word like Volvo, Gervais kept mainly to the best bits from his Animals, Politics, Fame, and Science tours.

He discussed AIDS, cancer, the Holocaust, child molestation and homosexual animals - all in a day's work for The Office star - and the crowd lapped it up.

“This is what I love about Sweden, you’re so liberal. I couldn’t get away with these jokes in other places around the world,” he beamed.

Another central theme for the night was religion, with the outspoken atheist questioning the idea of God and faith. He even dissected a children’s book on Noah’s Ark to the point of convincing the audience that the story was ridiculous and that God and Noah were most likely gay.

For an encore, Gervais took to the stage in a blue and yellow Viking helmet with flowing blonde plaits for one last look at the Vikings and a few final thoughts, before leaving the Stockholm stage for what I certainly hope won’t be the last time.

And while some were unimpressed with a show that was mostly available on DVD ten years ago - the Expressen newspaper's reviewer Anders Nunstedt gave the show just three out of five stars - the recycling of some jokes didn't bother me at all.

A Bob Dylan concert wouldn’t be complete without Like a Rolling Stone, just as Ricky Gervais’s first show in Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without the top ten "You know, you don't always have to have anal sex" HIV flyer, for example.

He tweaked most of the jokes from the DVDs too, so while a lot of the routines were familiar, it never felt scripted.

And anyway, if you’re going to hear a joke twice, who better to hear it from than a man who many consider to be the king of comedy?

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:49 December 17, 2012 by Greysuede
Very tasteless, worthless and boring clown that don't deserve a krona.
17:04 December 17, 2012 by Flutterbye
Sorry, I find this man about as funny as a dead slug.
19:58 December 17, 2012 by johan rebel
How many jokes did this full-time professional atheist crack about Muhammed, the Koran, rapists on camels and deranged goat shepherds?

Lemme guess . . . zero?
20:00 December 17, 2012 by sruk
..IQ test on the door?..anybody below 70 should get they money back..to avoid disappointment...as above..
23:33 December 17, 2012 by Hell low Kitty
That's what I do not understand at British comedians,making jokes about the Holocaust and Hitler.

But when it comes to the atrocities committed by the British,...silence !.

I've never heard jokes about Churchill and the Bengali Holocaust for example.

http://mwcnews.net/focus/editorial/458-churchills-crimes-a-chilcot-inquiry-on-iraq-war.html
00:03 December 18, 2012 by Hisingen
The only one who thinks Gervais is funny is - - - Gervais.
01:06 December 18, 2012 by Coalbanks
An aquired tast... like Marmite.
10:30 December 18, 2012 by eppie
@johan rebel

So you like to pick on the ones who are already down?

Why didn't you ask for jokes about children living in the Sahel?

I think you are a bit of a bully aren't you?

Good humor makes fun of the ones in charge, and the ones in power.

Making jokes about people with lower social and economic status is too simple and just wrong.
15:42 December 21, 2012 by GraceBee
Two questions.

1) Is Johan Rebel a real person or a Swedish Democrat?

2) Why does he think this is the Daily Mail website?

Answers on a postage stamp - the size of Jphan's brain - please.
19:50 December 22, 2012 by True & Evil
Boring & stupid.

There is no God; otherwise I would be born in Transylvania. Dracula is God! Oh, my Master!!!!!!!!!!!
22:20 December 22, 2012 by Seamus Sean
The man just isn`t funny, I believe David Brent isn´t too far removed from Ricky himself!
05:40 December 25, 2012 by Hede
I like his old work , Extras and The Office was ok not my type . An Idiot Abroad was lovely but it was all Karl . then Golden Globs he did all the jokes he came away with it some loved it a lot hated it then after that he tho he was IT . mocking religion like it was made up yesterday and somehow he is gone change the world by offending ppl .
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