An Open Letter to Ricky Gervais

Dear Ricky,

I am writing to you as a concerned fan. No, I'm not concerned about your career, if that's what you're wondering. Your two series The Office and Extras are both proudly displayed on my DVD shelf. I'm totally buying your children's book, Flanimals, for every kid I know this Christmas. I wish I'd gotten tickets for your live show at Madison Square Garden in July. The American version of The Office is retaining the integrity of your legacy. And I can't wait to see Ghost Town this weekend. Everything you do just seems to get funnier and funnier. Things are going well for you, my friend.

What concerns me is that I don't think you're taking life seriously enough.

I still don't understand how you were able to find humor in the most boring settings and the most obnoxious characters on The Office. I happen to work in an office. I sit in a gray cubicle all day, staring at a computer screen and burning my eyes. I don't find anything funny about it. Yet, I watch people doing the exact same mundane tasks on The Office, and I find it hilarious.

I also happen to have met a fair amount of jerks in my life. These jerks have been sexists and racists. They are often oblivious to the effects of their offensive behavior, or worse, they find themselves funny. I can't stand these morons. I never laugh at their brutish, painfully unfunny jokes. But I laugh at your Office character David Brent when he acts in the exact same way. I even kind of want him to succeed. Clearly, you don't take his bad behavior seriously enough.

Then, on Extras, you make me laugh at poor Andy Millman, an overweight, middle-aged loser who fancies himself to be an actor. Millman's life should be every person's worst nightmare. He hangs around movie sets all day long, hoping to one day score a single line of dialogue, and always finds a way to screw things up and embarrass himself and/or his best friend in front of major celebrities. This show shouldn't be a sitcom. It should be a cautionary tale.

And now, in your new movie Ghost Town, you want us to laugh at the most serious subject of all: death. Your antisocial character, Dr. Bertram Pincus, finds himself annoyed by a relentless gang of ghosts asking him for favors. And the advance buzz from the Toronto Film Festival is that it's hilarious. Only you, Ricky, could make death hilarious.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm no longer concerned for you, Ricky. I'm grateful that your wicked, twisted mind has found the humor in life's most seemingly humorless situations, and found a way to share it with the rest of us. I can't wait to see what you can make funny next. (Here's a suggestion: the economic recession is ripe for humor, right?)