By Steve Outing
A colleague in Norway clued me in on Ricky Gervais’ podcast. Gervais, who played the bizarre boss in the British version of The Office, just completed a 12-part podcast show that became, apparently, the most-downloaded podcast ever. The show features a 3-way conversation between Gervais, “Office” co-writer and actor Stephen Merchant, and “unemployed radio producer” Karl Pilkington.
Considering that the show is nothing more than 3 guys talking, you wouldn’t expect much. But it’s really funny, thanks mostly to the presence of Pilkington, whose dry wit comes across in a “village idiot” sort of way — and Gervais and Merchant take great joy in making Karl look even more the fool than Karl does to himself. Somehow through all the abuse, Pilkington never gets cross.
So, after 12 free podcast episodes, the lads have decided to cash in. (Can’t blame them.) In episode No. 12, Gervais says it’s because the productions are costing them money and they need to make some — mostly to support Karl, who’s jobless. (Wink, wink.)
The next dozen episodes will cost, apparently, $1.95 each via Audible.com or Apple’s iTunes Store.
Hmmm. As much as I’ve enjoyed wasting 30-odd minutes a week listening to Gervais & Co., I’m not sure if I’ll pay. I have no problem paying for online entertainment — like $1.99 for an episode of Battlestar Gallactica or Lost — but the Gervais threesome doesn’t seem worth as much. Why don’t they just find a sponsor? Or charge a more rational fee like 50 cents? Methinks this is a mistake.