How do I introduce Karl Pilkington? How do I complete this (pointless) opening blurb on the man who Ricky once called ‘the funniest man alive in Britain today?’
|The legendary Karl Pilkington|
Well, I’ll start at the start, and try to keep it brief. For two-and-a-half years Karl was Ricky’s producer on his XFM radio show, which he presented alongside Stephen Merchant. Seeing something in Karl – the same something we have all come to know and love – Ricky began incorporating him into the show. His deadpan style coupled with a unique outlook on life with crackpot theories and bizarre observations on the world around him turned him into a superstar. Who else could come out with these gems?
Karl on the Bible: “If I was Noah, I would have gone: "Hang on a minute, I've just seen somethin' that looks a bit like this, let it drown", have a bit of a clear out, but he was messin' about savin' everythin'"
Karl on wildlife:“Why didn't evolution make a giraffe good at carpentry so it could build a ladder?”
Karl talking about identical twins: "You always get a little snidey one."
Karl's thoughts on The Elephant Man: “The Elephant Man would never have gotten up and gone, ‘Oh, God. Look at me hair today.’”
The list of Pilkington quotes goes on and on – Google it – it’ll keep you entertained for hours if you've got nothing better to do. In fact, that’s the main reason I've been delayed publishing this article.
Karl started as a producer, appeared on 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' presented the fantastic 'An Idiot Abroad' series, has written books, set up companies, performed voice over work and then came acting. After making a cameo appearance in the final episode of 'Extras,' Karl made his acting début in 'Cemetery Junction,' and even though it was a non-speaking role, Ricky did say “his is my favourite character in the whole movie of course. Are you fucking ready...?” Even though he was cross-eyed, sporting a dodgy moustache and bushy sideburns we were ready, but what we really wanted was Karl to have a major part in a Gervais creation.
|Karl in Cemetery Junction|
Along came Derek.
Looking at our ‘Favourite Derek Character’ poll on the right, Karl’s Dougie (at the time of writing) has 58% of your vote – and he’s not even an actor – he even says so himself! I've been inundated with Dougie fan art, 90% of the tweets I've received are about Karl, so to get an interview with the man who notoriously (in Ricky's words) ‘has a head like a fucking orange’ was an absolute honour.
I didn't want to annoy him with loads of difficult questions – he’s not even in the country, so I thought I’d start it simple.
KP: Not really. I've got the shits again whilst working in India on a programme called 'The Moaning of Life'.
TH: Wikipedia introduces you as an English television personality, social commentator, actor, author and former radio producer. How would you introduce yourself?
KP: I'd just say 'alright.'
TH: How did Ricky persuade you to appear in Derek?
KP: It was only supposed to be a small part and I had nowt else to do at the time. The catering is also good.
TH: What is the main different between Karl and Dougie?
KP: Not much. My hair would look like that if I grew it and those glasses I wore I will actually be needing after buggering up my eyes after wearing them. They had proper strong lenses in them cos Ricky wanted them to make my eyes look odd.
|Karl as Dougie - the show's most popular character|
TH: Would you ever grow your hair like Dougie for Comic Relief, if it meant saving poverty-stricken kids in Africa?
KP: I don't even think they'd expect me to do that for them.
TH: There has only been positive praise for your acting abilities, and of Dougie, the character you’ve shaped. Do you feel proud of your latest achievement?
KP: Yeh it's alright. Tried me best. That's all you can do innit.
TH: With so much positive praise, would you take on another acting role?
KP: No. Done it once. Got away with it. That's it now. It's easier to have a go at something again when you failed at it as you've got nowt to lose.
TH: How easy is it to fix a toaster?
KP: If it’s the plug, easy. If it’s the heating elements.Tricky. It's the mess it makes that winds me up. Crumbs everywhere. It's like toast crumbs breed in toasters. You empty your toaster upside down and you'll be amazed at the amount of crumage.
TH: Since you’ve filmed Derek, has Ricky given you back the famous pottery frog?
KP: Yeh. It's back in the garden. Funny how it was treated like a star for a few weeks and now it's back in the garden with snow on it. It's a reminder of how this sort of work isn't there forever. It'll be on Big Brother next year.
TH: What do you think of Facebook and Twitter?
KP: I think it’s all bollocks. I find it odd how people don't understand why I don't wanna be on it. It's one of the first questions I'm asked normally so you've done well to leave it this late. I don't like cauliflower either but no one seems to have a problem with that.
TH: Can you tell us one thing about Karl Pilkington that we don’t already know?
KP: I don't like these modern small sinks that seem to be trendy.
|On the right - a small sink|
TH: What are you working on at the minute? What can we hope to see you in next?
KP: I'm doing this 'Moaning of Life' programme and writing a book about it.
TH: What’s annoying you at the minute? Besides these questions.
KP: A mosquito.
|It's not a wasp annoying him today|
For Karl to take the time to answer my questions while having the shits in India is more than I could have hoped for. I wanted to reel off question after question after question, but I wasn't going to piss off the man who has become my hero.
It was an absolute pleasure - cheers Karl!
And special thanks to Ricky Gervais and Charlie Hanson.
© M. A. Sibson