Ricky Gervais goes toe to toe with Elmo

So what happens when a friendly little red monster sits down with a top British comedian for an interview? Mayhem, of course.

gervais_elmoOuttakes from Ricky Gervais’ visit to “Sesame Street,” an appearance to be aired during the show’s 40th anniversary this fall, have been floating around recently on the Web. It’s potent stuff, and probably works well as an antidote to, say, lingering rage about AIG, or worries about the invasive drug war, or the grim economic headlines, or personal pain from the recession, or etc.

A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of spending a day watching Gervais work and interviewing him at length for a magazine profile. He was thoughtful and engaging, and at turns quite zany. But really I had no idea.

“Elmo is so glad Mr. Ricky Gervais is here,” the little guy chirps at the outset, and it’s quickly downhill from there. Soon Elmo admonishes a producer off camera. “Where did you lose this interview?” he demands. “Where? Where?”

“You call yourself professional,” Gervais retorts. “You can’t even control a muppet and a fat guy. Just calm down.”

Both are in top form — Elmo with his radiant third-person observations of self, Gervais with his ever tasteful subversiveness. Elmo points out that the dust-up “wasn’t Elmo’s fault,” and things ratchet back down a notch. But Gervais can’t let it rest. “Listen,” he says, “these are the no-go areas: Drugs. Child Abuse. The Holocaust. OK? Let’s stay off those three things.”

His riff about necrophilia probably won’t make final cut, either. Enjoy.

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