PODCAST: Ricky Gervais secretly plots revenge on Steve Carell at the Emmys
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When Ricky Gervais wasn't present at last year's Emmys to accept his upset victory for best comedy actor ("Extras"), Steve Carell leapt to the stage and claimed the statuette on behalf of the man who trailblazed his role on the original "The Office." Gervais produced, wrote and starred in the British version from 2001 to 2004 before Carell debuted a Yankee rendition in 2005, which won best comedy series at the Emmys.
Next, if Carell wins best comedy actor for the U.S. version of "The Office" on Sept. 21, "I'm going to beat him to the stage just to even things up," Ricky Gervais says. "I'm going to wrestle him to the ground and get his Emmy before he can."
Gervais may also have his own Emmy to claim that night too, as a nominee for best actor in a TV film for "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale." Most award prognosticators pooh-pooh his chance to win because he competes against four past Oscar nominees and/or winners: Ralph Fiennes ("Bernard and Doris"), Paul Giamatti ("John Adams"), Kevin Spacey ("Recount") and Tom Wilkinson ("Recount").
But it's foolish to write off Gervais at Hollywood awards where this devilish British pixie is a proven giant slayer.
Ricky Gervais has pulled off some of the biggest upsets in modern kudos history. Nobody, not even Gervais, foresaw his Emmy victory last year over Carell, Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") and Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men").
He wasn't present because "I was playing to 5,000 people at Royal Albert Hall" in London, he tells us, but he did attend the Golden Globes in 2004, when he pulled off two jawdroppers.
That's where the British version of "The Office," which aired in the States via BBC America, won best comedy series over "Arrested Development," "Monk," "Sex and the City" and "Will & Grace." A few minutes later, Gervais won best actor over Matt LeBlanc ("Friends"), Bernie Mac ("The Bernie Mac Show"), Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace") and Tony Shalhoub ("Monk").
"That was crazy!" he recalls. "We went over there, this little show on BBC America, up against all of the big boys. The people from BBC America were saying, 'If you win, you should say this,' and I wasn't even listening. I said, 'I'm not going to win.' And when I got up there I forgot who to thank.
"When they said my name, I thought, 'That's ridiculous. How strange. We won a Golden Globe.' Then it came up for best actor, and in my head I thought, 'I bet I've won this one as well.' I went from definitely, definitely not going to win, no point, but when I won one, I thought I probably won two. That's how winning can change you.
"It was a surreal night. I'd done this little show that suddenly took off, and I'm walking past Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, and it was just ridiculous."
Now, as he faces off against four Oscar-caliber rivals, he says, "I don't think I can compete with those big guys. I'd hate to start thinking that people expect me to be bawdy about it. Just being invited is nice enough for me. It's an excuse to put on a suit. It's something I have to do once a year — put on some grown-up clothes."
However, if he wins this time, will he have an acceptance speech ready?
At first, he replies, "No,"adding with great comic huffiness, "You know what an acclaimed writer I am. I can't write on spec and hope to be heard. If Ricky Gervais wants to write a speech, that should be heard, so if I write a speech, I'm going to say whether I won or lost."
So I tell him that's fine. If he writes the acceptance speech and loses, we'll let him give it here at TheEnvelope.com.
Ricky really sparks to that idea: "I'll tell ya what. I'll write one and, if I lose, I'll do it as a podcast with you!"