Ricky Gervais on guilt: “I never want to feel guilty again”

12 March 2019, 07:00 | Updated: 12 March 2019, 07:01

The star of After Life has been telling Gordon Smart an hilarious tale from his childhood.

Ricky Gervais has been telling Radio X that he was once made to feel guilty as a child - and it shaped his view of life.

Discussing the value of kindness and being kind throughout your life, the star of the new Netflix show After Life recalled a tale from his childhood that saw him “never want to feel guilty again”.

Speaking to Gordon Smart, the actor and comedian elaborated: “I remember from an early age feeling guilty. I was about twelve or thirteen and I was into chemistry. My brother-in-law dropped off some of his records, because they were moving house.

Ricky Gervais attends a screening of Netflix&squot;s "After Life" at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday, March 7, 2019, in New York
Ricky Gervais attends a screening of Netflix's "After Life" at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday, March 7, 2019, in New York. Picture: Charles Sykes/AP/Press Association Images

“They were in the spare bedroom and my mate came round. He said ‘Oh I love Elvis!’ I went, ‘I’ll swap some records for your chemistry stuff’. So I gave him about four Elvis records. I thought [my brother-in-law] would never know.”

Young Ricky them found himself lying awake at night, feeling guilty about offloading some of his relative’s precious vinyl. Finally, the guilt got the better of him.

“I knocked on my mum’s door and said, ‘I gave away some of Graham’s records’! She said, ‘Okay if you're good, I won't tell him’.

“I thought: I never want that feeling again. I never want to feel guilt again.

“Then when I was about eighteen, I found out that he’d left them for me. There were my records! And my mother used it as an opportunity. Unbelievable. I’d been good for no reason!”

Gervais was discussing his new Netflix show, After Life which sees the comedian play a widower called Tony, who tries to get his own back on the world by insulting it. The show is something of a cautionary tale about how people should treat other people and how important it is to be kind.

“I did a scene in Derek where he had to put down a dog and the vet says: ‘He didn't have a day's pain in his life’. That's amazing.

“We can't do that with people, but we can give it to a dog so that it has 15 years or whatever of no pain. You can cope with that.

“What you can't cope with is: ‘Was I nice enough?’ And that's what you go through with grandparents and parents. And the answer is probably not.

“You know you shouldn't beat yourself up but you do. That's why you should always be as kind as you can be because then you won’t feel guilty.

Latest On Radio X

Arctic Monkeys performing at Alexandra Palace in London in 2007

Where was 505 in the Arctic Monkeys song?

Adele shares Instagram post on her 33rd Birthday

"Thirty Free": Adele celebrates 33rd birthday with rare Instagram post

Mystery drummers

Can you name these rocking drummers?

Parklife Festival crows in 2018

Parklife 2021 will be back to "normal" with no masks or social distancing, vows co-founder

Nick Kamen, Levi's launderette advert model and Madonna protege, dies at 59

Haim press shot

Haim announce rescheduled UK tour dates for 2021